Veganuary- from Pescatarian to Vegan

Happy 2019! 

My, how quickly a year passes… and Veganuary is in full swing! 

I know we are near the end of the month, but I’m sharing my experiences so far and also might have some tips and recipe ideas for you for the remaining days!

This time last year I was in the process of cutting meat completely out of my diet.

It took me until February to decide… Yes this is definitely what I want to do. After a Valentines dinner that totally overloaded my system, I began to realise my body just didn’t feel good after a meat dish. And apart from the occasional fish based meal, from then on I have avoided meat products, I’ve experimented with many meat alternatives and have loved it! Part of my job is providing delicious, healthy meals that will help enable your body to detoxify to its best ability.. 

‘Detox’ is not a constructive word to me.. I find it rather misleading! There is no magical recipe, no superfood that will detox and cleanse your body. Foods cannot actually ‘detox’ the body, unfortunately, only your liver and kidneys can do that…

Food helps us, helps lay the ground work, so that the body detoxes itself more efficiently! I have a post coming up about this because I could spend way too much time talking about it here, so… stay tuned! 

Anyway… Veganuary! We are over halfway through and I have found the transition surprisingly easy. Going plant based for this month, was a New Years resolution- a well needed New Years resolution. I felt so sluggish after the Christmas period, mince pies featured way too much and I found myself desperate for the New Year to come just so I could really get into the spirit of Veganuary, for personal and health reasons. 

Since starting 22 days ago I… 

  1. Have NOT craved any cheese, dairy or fish products at all! 
  2. Lost 6 pounds of my mince pie insulation 
  3. Feel more confident and in control of my body
  4. More motivation for my health and activity
  5. Experienced ZERO break outs, my skin is much clearer. I tended to get redness but it has totally cleared up. 
  6. And the last convincing factor? My grocery bills are down! 

This isn’t bad for just a month of cutting dairy and eggs out of my diet (as I already stopped eating meat…)  

I have found changing my diet the most easy part- surprisingly, people’s responses have been the most difficult in a way to handle. I have met with friends, new acquaintances and when I have said that I won’t have a snack off the menu because I’m doing Veganuary, it has raised a few eyebrows. Even just mentions of not eating meat, gets a response “oh… you’re not one of those are you?” Accompanied with a confused look with only a slight dash of disgust..  

With all the messages of self-acceptance and the acceptance of others, then why am I sometimes feeling uncomfortable because I’ve made to decision to not eat meat, dairy, or eggs?

Home cooking 

However, there is always a second side to the story…

We love socialising and entertaining! Having friends over for drinks, dinner and a catch up, and this has not stopped since our Veganuary venture. We’ve had a few guests and we have hosted lunches and dinners. What has been lovely and surprising is the response we have had to our vegan meals. 

Our friends couldn’t even tell the Chilli Con Carne was vegan! I’ve been so much more experimental with food. Recipe post coming!

Made my first lentil falafel, just blend them up with a little lemon juice and tahini, then add flour to thicken so they can roll in balls and bake them! It was so tasty and filling, I added in a little chilli to give it a kick and it was so good in a brown pita with grated carrot, spinach and homemade hummus! 

The homemade chickpea hummus- can also use red kidney beans instead of chickpeas!

So easy to make, whack in the blender- cooked chickpeas, crushed garlic, corriander, cumin, tahini, salt and pepper with a splash of olive oil or water!

We had some gluten free puff pastry that was in desperate need to be used- so we decided to make little Veggie tartlets! These little bites are topped with tomato puree, vegan pesto, garlic, vegan parmesan, cherry tomatoes, broccoli and spinach. And they are delicious! 

Roasted buddha bowl. 

This is one of my favourite dishes! Consisting of roasted sweet potato chunks (seasoned with curry powder and garam masala), quinoa, kale and mixed seeds, avocado and homemade hummus… so filling and tasty!

Vegan Mac and cheese, an all time favourite and this one has added garlic spinach… 

The cheese sauce is difficult to replicate… I’m not going to lie. For this one, I boiled potatoes and carrots blended it up with lemon and seasoning. Added to the mac and the garlic spinach and topped with a vegan cheddar! 

Pasta dishes are my go to when I’m in a rush or there’s left over veggies that need to be eaten up. 

This tomato, pesto pasta with broccoli, red pepper and vegan cheese is so simple to make! I always go for gluten free pasta as you can’t tell the difference between them anymore and I feel so much healthier when I’ve cut back on the gluten!

And the new favourite and only featuring desert… CHEESECAKE!

Me and a friend made this together and he gave me the recipe which I just adore! It is so sweet and best of all… it counts as one of your five a day (one slice, not the whole cake… just to clarify) so what’s not to love? Recipe on this treat is coming in a few days!

 

To add to all the homemade cooking, I have found some amazing vegan products that taste just like the real thing cheddar and parmesan style cheese, single cream, butters, cream cheese, barista style milks, ice creams (trending alternative dairy products). But I have also rediscovered my love for marmite… got to love it!

Eating out

Has been a wonderful eye-opener! Living in rural Devon I was apprehensive about the options available to a vegan.. and to be honest rural Mid- Devon has been limited. But travel down to Exeter prepare to be pleasantly surprised. Many chain restaurants now have vegan menu’s.. especially during Veganuary! Don’t be afraid to ask for one if you can’t see one. Also I have found the service to be extremely welcoming, non-judgmental and I have actually been taken pretty seriously! 

 

I have been eating better, more tasty food! In most cases, they are the same meals that I used to have, just with a twist, and most times you can’t even tell the difference. 

And that’s my theory, if we can cut back and use more alternative products, it will make a massive difference. A difference that will not only improve the planet on which we live and need to survive, but it can reduce worldwide cruelty, and best of all it will make you healthier, leaner, and more energetic. 

Because I mean why not, if you can’t taste the difference then swap it out! 

With all the love, 

J x

 

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