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January is long gone, and my Veganuary is completed too. But is it really over? Am I going to simply get back to my pre-Veganuary habits, food, and soon forget about the last four weeks? The answer is NO. While for now, I will for sure not remain a 100% vegan (I will explain later why), I will keep some of the changes I introduced to my diet and life hopefully… for life! Because the truth is that I am delighted I took part in Veganuary. And there are quite a few great reasons why to be vegan.
(In this article I have concentrated on my impressions of the dietary aspects of veganism. That is why this list is subjective and doesn’t include details of some obvious reasons why to be vegan like, e.g. animal and environment protection that is also very important to me.)
Become Creative with Your Cooking
Veganuary allowed me to experience by myself how it is to be on a plant-based diet for an extended period. And I must say, firstly – it is feasible; secondly – it is not dull at all. Not once during the month, I felt strong enough urge to have a break from being vegan (although – unintentionally – a few times I was vegetarian rather than vegan).
There are just so many beautiful, incredibly tasty dishes made entirely from plant-based ingredients that you can’t get bored. It is only a question of searching the internet for such recipes and testing them. And then possibly being creative yourself. As once you see how you can transform these ingredients into something delicious and often unexpected, you want to experiment yourself. (Yes, there will be more vegan recipes on my blog!).
Cook and Eat Healthier
I aim to eat healthily every day. However, I feel that during the four weeks, I ate even healthier than usual, mainly because of the number of vegetables and pulses I consumed every day. My better eating also resulted from the fact that I was more careful while buying products. I had to read labels carefully to check there were no non-vegan ingredients included. At the same time, I made sure as well there were no bad ingredients in them. Needless to say, I will continue to do it in the future.
Quite a long time ago I cut down on sweets (e.g. I have chocolate only once per week; I usually don’t eat shop-bought biscuits). But let’s face it: I am not a saint, and I do sometimes grab candy or so. But when I was vegan, I couldn’t do it easily. So often, my only option was to make something sweet myself. And then obviously, I had full control over the used ingredients. Therefore the treats were much healthier than usual.
Share the Knowledge with Other People
My participation in Veganuary and veganism itself was always a discussion point during social occasions. When we had people over, I often offered them vegan dishes and they were surprised how delicious and inventive they were. However, they – just like me a few years ago – frequently referred to the necessity of eating meat.
I always took this chance then to explain that a properly balanced plant-based diet is not only healthy but even HEALTHIER than the one including meat. And although I don’t expect anyone from the people to become vegans any time soon, I know I acquainted them with the idea of eating fewer animal-based products.
Reasons Why To Be Vegan Might Sometimes be Challenging
I enjoyed being vegan. However, I did face some challenges during those four weeks. They mainly happened when I was someone’s guest. Then I had a choice to either refuse to eat non-vegan food and possibly create an awkward situation or eat it and don’t stick to Veganuary principles. I usually chose the latter as I didn’t want to make a big deal if there was no vegan food around.
Going to restaurants sometimes was also a bit of a challenge. One day we tried to have lunch in a vegan restaurant. The first one was fully booked, the same situation in the second one. The one we ended up going to appeared on a list of vegan restaurants but offered only three plant-based dishes on the menu. And I had a feeling they were more vegetarian than vegan… As far as I know, the limited choices on menus in restaurants is something vegans often face.
Although I did not long for meat at all, I missed fish and seafood a bit. But what I missed the most were eggs. I must say that from the beginning of the third week of my Veganuary, I obsessively fancied an egg mayo sandwich. Plus also I really had to control myself not to have a bit of the beautiful, creamy and buttery mashed potatoes I made one day…
Will I Continue to be Vegan?
These are the reasons why to be vegan and why… I am not ready yet to be on an entirely vegan diet. But what I am planning for now is to be approx. 70-80% on a plant-based diet. However, this may change shortly. I have recently started an excellent course on advantages of plant-based diets offered by “Health Classes”*. So, who knows maybe soon I will be ready to be at least 90% vegan? 😉
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