For me the first of February brought eggs, white chocolate and Nutella – all the things I’d been craving through Veganuary. Now that it’s over I wanted to reflect on what I’ve learned over the past month. And I decided to do it in Q & A format, because why the hell not interview yourself…
Was it difficult?
Absolutely not, and hell yes! Cooking for myself at home was dead easy. Being a vegetarian already it didn’t make that big of a difference – I already usually choose coconut or soy milk over dairy so the only thing I properly had to cut out was eggs. Eating out was a lot harder, and frustrating because I couldn’t have my usual favourites, but it wasn’t impossible. Places that I’d recommend in Cardiff include Wagamamas, Wahaca and Cosy Club. It also helped me discover the delights of Riverside Market‘s vegan stalls including Mr Nice Pie, Naturally Kind Food and (my favourite) The Parsnipship.
Did you ever cheat?
Once, sort of accidentally, to my knowledge. It was at the airport and I’d asked for no mayonnaise on my burger but the kitchen hadn’t got the message. I ate it anyway because I was starving and if I didn’t eat then I’d have had to wait another three hours…
Did you feel like you were lacking energy?
Yes, but that was nothing to do with the veganism! January was absolutely mental in work, so it was actually a pretty good test of my energy levels. I felt tired but I think that would have been the case anyway – my meals definitely kept me fuelled.
Did you lose weight?
Yes, I lost three pounds as well as a centimetre off my waist and hips and two off my thighs. It’s not a lot, but I’m happy with that – I think it proves that following a vegan diet doesn’t make you deficient in anything, and I wouldn’t want my baby muscles to waste away! It helped me get back to my pre-Christmas weight, though, which is great. I think this is mainly down to the fact that vegan snacking is difficult – most cake and biscuits are off the menu. I did give the dark chocolate a good go though (Hotel Chocolat’s Gianduja Bombe‘s are the one) and my lovely colleagues made sure I was supplied with ‘accidentally vegan’ Oreos.
Has it changed the way you’ll eat?
I’ve decided not to stay vegan, because I think these days it is possible to get dairy and eggs from suppliers that you trust. As a bonus, buying direct is often cheaper too. Nantgwared Farm, another Riverside Market gem, does six large eggs for £1.50 whereas you’d normally pay around £2 in the supermarket – and you’re buying from the farmer that looks after the chickens so you know that they really are free range.
However, it will make me a lot more careful about processed products with egg or dairy in them. Most brands of eggs or milk are now labelled as organic or free range (if they qualify) but where the egg/dairy is just an ingredient the producer can be sneakier about it and can get away with a lower quality. So that’s something I’ll avoid in the future.
Have you bored the pants off everyone you know in the past month?
No doubt about it. Massive apologies to everyone I know, especially anyone who’s been out for food with me in January, and huge thanks to Cookie for enduring it with me!