Veganuary may be over but it is the start of a new chapter in my life. Being Vegetarian for the past 12 years and eating 80% vegan for the past 3-4 years I decided it was time to fully make the commitment. Vegan diets are becoming more and more popular than ever with many more options on the market making it convinient for everyone, supermarkets and takeaways are all jumping on the bandwagon this year more than ever with a growing number of options which will hopefully stick around past January. If you thought about taking on Veganuary it’s not too late to try this lifestyle and I’m here to walk you through my experiences this past month.
The first big shop
A £50 bonus voucher from work for christmas was the perfect start to veganuary. That way I could get a variety of food, try lots of new things and it was more of a taster month of what I’d enjoy going forward. I headed to tesco and after spending £10 on cat supplies I had the other £40 to play with, I tried to get a variety of foods and some accompaniments to give a bit of variety to my meals.
Staples – Frozen veg, chicken, mince and frozen berries. I chose a variety of own brands and the more expensive brands for the fake meats and have to say they all tasted great, sure you can tell brands like oumph! and Naked glory have a premium taste but own brands are definitely good enough for day to day meals.
New Trials – Variety of sauces to spice up meals, vegan pulled pork bao buns, halloumi and feta. I also got a block of tofu, I love tofu in premade meals or at restaurants but have never cooked it before.
Treats – Vegan pizza and wine, mint choc chip ice cream (£2 from wicked kitchen, much cheaper than other brands that add a premium to vegan icecream)
Day to Day swaps
I’ve despised milk for so long that it has not been an issue for me at all to swap that out! There’s so many different alternative milks now, Soya is a free replacement in most coffee shops, almond milk is my personal favourite but Costa Coffee’s new caramel oat latte+ is my daily fix now!
I don’t know why but i was shocked when I found vegan butter in my shop! I’ve had vegan margerine for years but butter is something new to me! It tastes really nice and seasoned.
Vegan cheeses taste a thousand times better than they used to when I first tried them 6 or 7 years ago! I got slices for burgers, Feta and Halloumi for salads and the vegan cheese alternatives delivered by dominos and pizza hut are so creamy and delicious!
Fancy Night In
With the current lockdown limiting us from going out for a nice dinner I decided I wanted a nice night in with a restaurant vibe. The one thing I knew I’d miss despite hating pasta generally was spinach and ricotta tortellini. I found Wicked kitchens Spinach and Wild garlic ravioli for £3 in Tesco and got that with a vegan garlic bread, vegan rose wine and Salted caramel Gü pots.
The ravioli was amazing, I was shocked at how soft it stayed as the usual tortellini I get goes cold 30 seconds after you plate it up and stiffens up pretty quickly. I didn’t use any sauce just a little bit of vegan butter and pepper and that was more than enough as the inside was so creamy! It really tasted as good as a restaurant and I was very impressed.
The salted caramel Gü pot was quite overwhelming at first, i didnt know what to make of it but halfway through i liked it, the biscuit base is noway near thick enough to counter the sweetness of the cream on top though which i think is why it was overwhelming.
Best Veganuary treats
- Dominos Chick-Ain’t pizza
- Starbucks Beyont meat breakfast burger – made with scrambled tofu, coconut cheese and delish own brand relish.
- Fruit pastilles – Since their inception they were always made with gelatine but their latest batch isn’t and is suitable for vegans! Beware though, it’s only the new sharebags labelled vegan that are, a lot of old packets especially the small single rolls arent although going forth they should be. I had my friend try both of these and he said there was no difference!
Entering Veganuary I knew this wouldn’t just be a month long commitment for me, but I’m surprised at how easy it was for me, on long 12 hour shifts the staple wicked kitchen stir fried tofu kept me going with some fruit as snacks. The options in supermarkets are ever growing and I can’t wait to see what they do next! I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything anymore as animal by-products are slowly being phased out of some products and there are great alternatives for the others. I’m proud of finally reaching this transition and frankly this month was a lot of exploring pre-made food, I’m actually excited to start learning how to cook my own foods.
So I asked all of you on my instagram @ohsoviki for your questions about my experience.
- I’ve wanted to transition from vegetarian to vegan but is it more expensive?
I can relate to this! It’s one of the reasons I haven’t done it sooner because it would have just been me eating a plate of vegetables – plain! For years Quorn had the smallest percentage of milk or egg in it and then when they bought out their vegan range it was double the price! Luckily now theres so much more variety, lots of own brands are vegan, Aldi has some absolute steals! They have vegan pizza for £1.50! There’s also lots of ‘accidentally vegan’ food choices, it takes some time but with the right research you’ll realise you have so many options fit for all budgets!
- What do you miss most?
Ooh thats tough because theres so many more options now! I’d say cheese but I didn’t *love* cheese before, theres lots of vegan cheese options now but you have to know how to cook it right, that’s probably what most vegans miss. As much as I don’t have a massive sweet tooth i’d say a good vegan cookie, there are so many out on the market now but none in any of my local stores as I live in a small village, they’re definitely out there though, co-op, tesco, aldi, marks and spencer, they all have their own vegan cookies now. I’ll just need to stock up when I get there!
- Is it healthier?
Day to day I’d say yes because I have to think more about what I’m eating and planning food for work I make sure i’m eating healthier but there are so many more junk food vegan takeawy options than there was even a year or two ago! I ate so much vegan pizza last month and other junk food just because I wanted to try vegan options whilst it was veganuary and shops had it in.
Did you take part in Veganuary?
What’s your favourite vegan treat?
Let me know in the comments below!