What I thought of Veganuary

What I thought of Veganuary

Veganuary: a chance to properly detox your body, or a vegan recruitment drive taking advantage of our desire for ‘new year, new me’? Well, to be honest, it’s probably a bit of both, but as I’d been considering a vegan lifestyle for a while now I thought I’d give it a go.

Here are my thoughts of going vegan for a month, as well as the challenges I found and benefits I felt.

Let’s start with a bit of background. I’ve spoken briefly before about my struggle with as yet undiagnosed digestive issues. For a long time I’ve suffered from stomach cramps, bloating, pain and general unwellness without knowing exactly what’s wrong with me. I’ve tried pretty much every diet combo imaginable: gluten free, vegetarian, low fat, low carb… the list goes on! So going vegan for a while didn’t seem too much of a challenge.

Blogger Twenty-Something City wearing Shein avocado pyjamas for Veganuary
Avo-cardio pyjamas: Shein

Going vegan is so cheap
A common misconception of vegan food is that it’s expensive. While you can go mad on fancy supplements and ‘health foods’ (matcha powder and acai concentrate, I’m looking at you) but, funny old thing, these foods aren’t essential for a vegan diet. As veganism is so trendy right now lots of brands are trying to jump on the bandwagon, but look past the clever marketing. Smartprice unsweetened soya milk and own-brand pulses were my go to. I spent about £20 a week for all my food on a vegan diet, and ya girl likes to eat.

 

Protein is everywhere
In the past I’ve found myself obsessing over my protein intake, and that was my main fear about going vegan. But after doing lots of research I’ve realised I don’t need to eat over a hundred grams of protein a day (even when weightlifting) and that there’s more to a balanced diet than hitting macro goals. Vegan foods such as wholewheat pasta contain a generous serve of protein, and even the seemingly small amount in veggies like broccoli all adds up. I found it easy to get protein into breakfast in the form of porridge or beans on toast, and at dinner by making a lentil curry or thai tofu noodles, but lunch wasn’t as straightforward.

 

Lunch is tricky
Of all the meals in the day, I found lunch the hardest. I need meals that travel well, ideally can be eaten cold, and will fill me up until dinner. Previously I’d make something like a seasoned chicken breast with homemade potato salad. But falafel just isn’t as filling (and I LOVE falafel). I have however expanded my soup repertoire, which has helped up my daily veggie count. Any convenient vegan lunch options feel free to send my way!

 

Blogger Twenty-Something City wearing Shein avocado pyjamas for Veganuary

 

Fresh fruit and veggies = good tummy vibes
Who would have thought that eating healthily is actually good for you? Seriously though, I really felt the good vibes eating vegan food. I think it’s because this kind of diet makes it hard to overindulge as vegetables and pulses are naturally filling and low fat. More significantly, however, is I noticed that when I didn’t stick to a vegan diet I really felt aware of it. Sometimes you don’t know how good you can feel until you try it!

 

Eating out still isn’t straightforward
Restaurants are making huge strides in their vegan offerings, but there’s still a way to go. I think that’s the main reason I’m not ready to go fully vegan. If I’m going out for a meal I want to enjoy it, not put up with a bland pasta option. Thankfully, a lot of my favourite cuisines – Thai, Indian, Lebanese – lend really well to a plant-based diet, but if I have to go to a restaurant someone else has chosen I won’t let myself go hungry for the sake of being vegan.

 

Slow and steady wins the race
When I went vegetarian aged 12, I did it gradually over the course of a year or so. For me, this is the best way to introduce a change of diet. I don’t like being told I ‘can’t’ have something, but I find by reducing my intake I stop craving foods. Making positive associations with fresh, wholefoods is much more valuable than demonising animal products.

What are your thoughts on veganism? Have you found any dietary changes have helped your body?

I was gifted the pyjamas in this post. However, all views are my own.

14 Comments

  1. February 2, 2018 / 10:41 am

    I found this post so interesting! You are so brave for doing Veganuary, I don’t think it is something that I could ever do.

    It’s really interesting hearing about the pros and cons to it and these PJ’s are adooooorable! 🙂 x

    • twentysomethinglifeandstyle
      February 4, 2018 / 5:42 pm

      Thank you Christina! I’m glad you enjoyed 🙂 x

  2. February 2, 2018 / 10:59 am

    I applaud people who go vegan or even veggie but whilst making a conscious effort to eat less meat and meat products I do still love it and would miss it.

    • twentysomethinglifeandstyle
      February 4, 2018 / 5:43 pm

      I totally understand that not everyone isn’t in a place to go vegan, and I’m really against people who try to pressure others into it! But eating less meat definitely made me feel better and I’d 100% recommend it 🙂

  3. February 2, 2018 / 12:40 pm

    Please please please be careful of soy products! Soy is high in phytoestrogens (female plant hormones) and unfortunately, the body sees phytoestrogens as normal human estrogen which can lead to hormonal imbalances, etc etc. Please be careful when consuming any soy xx

    • February 2, 2018 / 12:43 pm

      (p.s. please feel free to delete this comment, as I don’t want it detracting from your content!)

    • twentysomethinglifeandstyle
      February 4, 2018 / 5:44 pm

      Yes I’ve seen this argument, and I’m not sure what to think really! I’ve read some articles that say the extra estrogen is beneficial. It’s something I’m definitely aware of and do think about xx

      • February 4, 2018 / 6:26 pm

        Good good, I know you’re an intelligent woman who does her research, but I thought I’d comment just in case. Sorry 🙁 xx

        • twentysomethinglifeandstyle
          February 5, 2018 / 1:17 pm

          no worries at all, thanks for having my back! xx

  4. February 2, 2018 / 8:25 pm

    Congrats on managing the month! I have digestive issues also and have tried but failed to keep up a plant based diet in the past to help combat it. I don’t know if you’re continuing to be vegan now the month is over but if you are Dough in Northern Quarter do great vegan pizzas and dairy-free ice cream!

    Bec | https://space-cowgirl.com

    • twentysomethinglifeandstyle
      February 4, 2018 / 5:45 pm

      Thanks for reading! Wow, vegan pizza and ice ream sounds ideal – thanks for the recommendation 🙂 x

  5. imogenroseblogs
    February 3, 2018 / 2:19 pm

    Amazing post Alice! For lunch I usually do a jacket pot with ‘chickpea tuna’ which is mashed up chickpease, vegan mayo, spring onions, tumeric and paprika. Or a sweet potato salad, toaties with hummus and salad in. Pitta and hummus (I’m now gluten free due to endo this month so no more pittas for me wahhhh). Fruit salad and a pasta dish that can be made cold. Making your own banana bread is quite easy and can be good if you’re on the go!

    Also, there’s a lot of misleading info on soy products. You would have to consume an AWFUL lot for it to actually affect your hormone levels. Like an obscene amount. It contains isoflavones that may mimic the activity of the hormone estrogen in your body. That being said, some people are allergic to soy as you probably know. A lot of people seem to think soy is very bad for you, whilst they still consume dairy which contains hormones (that baffles my head lol).

    Glad you shared this post! It was very interesting 🙂 xx

    Blog: imogenrose.co.uk / Bloglovin: http://bit.ly/2GLltaG

    • twentysomethinglifeandstyle
      February 4, 2018 / 5:47 pm

      Thanks for the tips, Imogen! I’ve really enjoyed Veganuary and I’m keen to keep it up as much as I can, though I’m going slowly and not putting too much pressure on myself. I love the idea of chickpea tuna on a potato! xx

  6. February 15, 2018 / 7:33 pm

    Well done for trying it! Id love to go vegan but 1) I have digestion issues also, so now need to eat a specific diet and 2) I actually dont like that much veg… Im more of a fruit person. Also, mention gastroparesis to your docter. Thats what I have (I done a post explaining it a little here>> http://bit.ly/2DVKNJN) You may not have it, but best to rule it out! Symptoms include, pain while eating & severe bloating. As well as other stuff!

    Hayley xx
    http://www.5ftlife.co.uk

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