So - Veganuary is upon us, and it has a particularly special place in my heart.
This unbelievable organisation (along with a brilliant wife and a hometown that must be more vegan than anywhere else in the country) is responsible for me turning my back on animal products - which is the best decision I have made in 36 years.
The thing is, my words had been vegan for a long time. I didn’t like animal cruelty, in fact, I’m an animal lover + I had a sense of real impending doom around what we were doing to the the environment! So far so vegan, right? I don’t actually speak to too many people that don’t share those values tbh.
The problem was that I was eating a LOT of animal products, and it wasn’t just because I liked them, I’d used Atkins style dieting to lose 5 stone in my late 20’s so I also had a weird psychological attachment to it too.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, Hayley and I did Veganuary 2 years ago and have never looked back. It was only ever meant to be a challenge, but there was no way I could turn my back on it, once you start seeing animals instead of meat, there's no going back. Something just clicked, I felt healthy, energised, light (of body and mind) but most of all, I felt aligned. My actions were now mirroring my beliefs and until I made the switch I didn’t know what that felt like.
It’s never been easier to give It a try, and even if everyone taking part comes out of the other side with 5 new dishes in their repertoire and a couple of meat free days each week as a result - we’ll be in much better shape than we are today.
My number 1 piece of advice is to not over complicate things - people always say ‘but what do you eat’ and the answer is everything I used to eat apart from steak basically.
Anything you would have put chicken in (curry, stew etc) swap it for chickpeas and / or cauliflower, anything that would have been mince based (chilli, bolognese, shep pie etc) swap it for lentils...
When we are being good we try to cook from scratch as much as possible but there also isn’t any shame in taking a few shortcuts on the busy nights. Below are some of our favourite products available in the shops right now
We're lucky here in Brighton, vegan pizza has been a thing for a long time but in the last 6 months or so the supermarkets have brought them to everyone!Amazing pizzas now available at Tesco, Waitrose and M&S
Like a said, it's obviously preferable to be cooking this stuff ourselves but sometimes that just isn't realistic. In the early days we always had 1 or 2 of these in the fridge / freezer ready to go. All supermarkets now have a range and in the last six months or so the price has settled down to a more sensible £2.50 - £3.50
And if you're used to the very British 'meat and 2 veg' approach to cooking, you can even find plant based options that let you stick to that too! sausages, Kievs and even speak have all been put back on the menu in the last 6 months! what a time to be alive.
I love hearing about how Veganuary was the start of a journey for people so I hope this year creates thousands more of those stories.