Hi everyone! So we are now into January and this January it’s Veganuary. What on earth is Veganuary? I hear you ask. Veganuary is a campaign, encouraging people to try a vegan diet for the month of January. If you are trying out Veganuary let me know how you are finding it I would love to hear.
Since going Vegan people are naturally interested in what I’m eating, how I’m finding the change, and most importantly how the hell I’m living without cheese. So I thought I would put together a blog post of FAQ’s. I hope you guys find it interesting and helpful.
How did you make the transition to a plant based diet?
I had been vegetarian on and off for about a year before going vegan, so you could say the change was gradual because I had reduced my meat intake first. However when I made the decision to stop eating all animal products it happened instantly, after reading information and watching documentaries on Netflix like Cowspiracy, I knew it was the right choice for me. So overnight I cut out everything animal based, meat, fish, dairy etc. When I made this choice the very first thing I did was I wrote a list of all the foods I ate and enjoyed, breakfast cereals, lunches, snacks, dinners and I researched every vegan friendly alternative there was. I found this really helped, it didn’t seem as daunting of a change because I was eating the foods that was familiar to me and foods that I enjoyed. I actually think the first search I did was “Vegan friendly biscuits” and was delighted when chocolate chip Hob Nobs popped up! I also followed vegan food blogs, youtubers and instagrammers and found this also really helped me understand everything and a great way to get recipe ideas. The thing with eating a vegan diet is it’s not just eating leaves, or having to spend a fortune on food. There are so many vegan friendly alternatives that are easily available at every supermarket to enjoy. I have included accidentally vegan foods in part 2 of this blog post for you to check out.
What about protein?
This is one of the most asked questions when going vegetarian or vegan and it’s a question that I asked myself too. Meat is commonly associated with being the main source of protein but vegetarians and vegans can get their daily allowance of protein easily through plant based foods. When I’m thinking about a meal I naturally think protein first and build around it. So for example if I’m making porridge in the morning I mix in a dollop of peanut butter and sprinkle flaxseeds on top, both are protein rich foods. Likewise if I’m making a veggie chilli, I pack it full of baked beans, kidney beans and sweet corn more plant based foods that are protein rich.
You can also get protein from lentils, chickpeas and meat replacements such as Quorn (just check the labels for the vegan friendly items) tofu etc. Just like any diet it’s important to have a variety of foods to ensure you are getting the nutrients your body needs not just protein. Calcium, Iron, Vitamin B12 are all important nutrients for the body to function and you are able to get all these nutrients from eating a plant based diet it just takes a little bit of research to find out about the different plant based sources. Before going vegan I had no idea just how many foods are protein rich without needing to eat meat or that broccoli is a great source of calcium. It’s reassuring to know I’m not depriving my body of any nutrients.
What about cheese?
When I have told people that I am vegan they look at me and gasp followed by “How can you live without cheese?!”
A day after going vegan I tried vegan cheese in a sandwich which for me was a mistake because I instantly compared it to cheddar cheese that I had been eating the past 27 years of my life- which it was never going to taste like, so I cut out the vegan cheese thing totally and used other condiments for flavour. In sandwiches I use hummus and sauces for flavour. I started sprinkling nutritional yeast that I would of sprinkled cheese on such as beans, spag bol etc. I can’t live without it, it’s delicious, it has a nutty cheese flavour and a great source of b12.
After a week or so I found I wasn’t missing cheese but I wanted to give vegan cheese another go. So I thought a flavoured spreadable cheese was the way forward. I tried Sainsbury’s free from garlic and herb and it’s truly delicious. I have it on bagels, crackers, sandwiches. Daniel couldn’t believe it was vegan! Tesco also do a free from spicy cheese which is great for tacos and chilli dishes. I now enjoy vegan cheese melted on pizza and I don’t even taste any difference. I’m still on my vegan cheese journey but for me what worked for sure was giving it time to let my taste buds “forget” dairy cheese and having an open mind when trying vegan cheese favours.
The great thing is there are lots of vegan cheese options to try, you can find them in the free from section in supermarkets and just experiment, try new flavours and you’ll find the right one that tickles your taste buds.
I’m going to attempt to make my own cheese sauce for a vegan lasagne using cashews and nutritional yeast whizzed up so I’ll let you know how that goes!
I hope you have enjoyed this blog post so far and that you have found it helpful. I hope I haven’t rambled on too much. I’ll chat about more FAQ’s in part 2 of this blog post which will be up in a few days time.
I’ve been sitting in Starbucks writing this enjoying some time alone, but I’ve to go back to the boys and start the bedtime/ bath routine.