Image may contain: Woman, Girl, Food, Face, Female, Human, Person

Going vegan wasn’t actually as bad as you might think

Linda McCartney, what a G

After many months of battling with the ethical and environmental issues surrounding diets heavy in meat and dairy, I decided to sign up for Veganuary. It felt like the perfect way to try out a vegan diet for a month and then decide from there whether I wanted to stick to it.

I was already a vegetarian meaning I only had dairy and eggs to give up, but it doesn't take long to realise that these are in A LOT of food.

What is it?

If you haven’t heard of Veganuary, it's a campaign that challenges people to pledge to go vegan for one month. There's no pressure to stay vegan, but it's pretty common for people to stick to the lifestyle change after they realise how easy it is to go vegan nowadays.

The difficulties

Admittedly, I wasn’t perfect. I did forget to check ingredients sometimes, and ate one veggie meal that was going to be thrown away otherwise. Letting lasagne get thrown out seemed pretty criminal in my eyes.

But I don't think that makes me a failure. Changing to a vegan diet isn't going to be perfect straight away, but whatever changes I made were better than doing nothing and giving up completely.

What can you actually eat?

There's always somebody out there that pictures vegans eating nothing but leaves and grass, but trust me, they could not be any more wrong. I tried not to eat processed meat replacements everyday, but they do come in handy when you're short for time or just not in the mood to cook.

There wasn't a single food I didn't eat during January because of going vegan. Granted, some weren't exactly the same as the original, but I was never left feeling unsatisfied after a meal.

Image may contain: Portrait, Photography, Photo, Girl, Food, Eating, Female, Dating, Face, Human, Person

I was also surprised at how many products you’d think are vegan aren’t, and vice-versa. Who knew that Belvita Chocolate Soft Bakes are milk and egg free? And I can guarantee they will fulfil all your Nutella cravings.

Sometimes, I’d buy something like pitta breads and assume they were vegan without checking (rookie error). Thank goodness for hungry housemates.

Image may contain: Menu, Human, Person, Paper, Text

Stocking up on those chopped tomatoes

Vegan for life?

Mostly, yes, but I'm not going to commit to being vegan 100%. I'll eat vegan whenever possible, but if someone offers me free food, I'll probably accept (especially if it's pizza).

There are a couple of non-vegan foods that I haven't found a tasty alternative yet for (someone please find me a vegan cheese that is not vile, thank you), but I'll keep experimenting with swaps.

Image may contain: Girl, People, Furniture, Face, Female, Dish, Eating, Meal, Lunch, Food, Person, Human

Free Mcds? How can we say no?

What I actually think

Regardless of what I end up choosing to eat, I will definitely be pledging to Veganuary next year. It's such a great opportunity to experiment with new foods and recipes, and help reduce environmental emissions and animal suffering as well. It was also a great way to get talking to people about why reducing our meat and dairy intake is important for so many reasons.

I would absolutely recommend trying out Veganuary regardless of what you eat at the moment. Even if you don’t stick to a completely vegan diet at the end of January, you’ve still made an incredible commitment that has helped massively.

Don’t worry if you make mistakes, because after all, being vegan for 90% of the month is still so much better than not doing it at all.

Know something? Send tips to [email protected]

Want to break stories like this? Join the team, no experience required. DM us via @thetabcardiff on Instagram or The Tab Cardiff on Facebook.

Recommended stories by this writer:

These are the best vegan Instagrams that you NEED to be following

Veganuary: Your guide to vegan beauty on a student budget

Here are the best places to eat and dine out as a vegan in Cardiff