How did I find Veganuary 2019?
Hello everybody and welcome back to Bright Minds blogs! Today I decided to write about a personal challenge I set up for myself in 2019! At the end of 2018 , my decision was to give Veganuary a try and see the results after a few weeks. Throughout last month, after many challenges I can now proudly say that my relationship with food has changed, my view on environment has changed and most importantly something within myself has changed.
Firstly, we will start with an explain of what Veganuary is and how I got involved into doing it. Veganuary is a "charity inspiring people to try vegan for January and throughout the rest of the year" and this year they had an amazing number of 250 000 signs up. Veganuary can be found on their website, on Instagram, Facebook and it is easy to sign up for it.
When signing up, you get asked about what kind of support you need and when would you like to start it so you could receive emails to help the transition. Emails would contain different information about food substitutes, recipes, documentaries to watch, nutrition and much more. Furthermore, you can join in a Facebook group where everyone is trying the same thing and is a lovely supportive community.
Now, as any change that we propose on ourselves, I was faced with different challenges throughout the month and had a few slips, However, after each mistake I learned something new (wine is not always vegan) and how to deal with it. Here is my story of how I found Veganuary2019.
My background is coming from Serbia and our cuisine involves eating a lot of meat, dairy and eggs. My breakfast used to be a pasty with meat and yogurt on the side, for lunch sandwich with ham and lastly dinner would be a piece of meat and some vegetables. Now I know you will tell me straight away that my diet used to be really unhealthy and I agree with you. But for me, eating meat was the main protein and I believed that I was getting all nutrients from that. I was closed minded without realizing it.
However, last year, whilst scrolling through my Instagram I found many accounts talking about veganism and watching documentaries such as Cowspiracy, What the Health and Earthlings. After watching Cowspiracy, my first reaction was to reduce my intake of animal products (food, clothes, make-up) and learn more about veganism. Over time I became a pescatarian, then a vegetarian and then in January started Veganuary. Here are the changes I noticed over the last month happen within my lifestyle.
I signed up for Veganuary back in December and put that filled in my first day as 1st of January 2019. Little preparation went into it and therefore there were no seeds, spices, B12 supplements, meat replacements in my house before the transformation. So 1st of January was a bit of a mess, with my meals being created from various plant based food that was found in the house. Since then some of my time is spent on preparing my meals , thinking ahead of new food can be tried and how to mix different flavors.
Firs change that was noticeable was that my eating habits moved from having pre-made meals to loving to cook and make my own feast (it really is a feast now days). Before my main priority was how caloric is the meal but now I focus on how fresh it is, what nutrients does it include, how long can it be used it for. My habits involve enjoying to make food from scratch and playing with different flavors rather than just eating the food.
Furthermore , I think about how colourful are my meals and how many portions of fruits or/and vegetables are incorporated in my day. My focus is on what goes into my body and therefore my energy levels have increased, my tiredness has started disappearing, my body has started to feel like it needs more movement. Before January, often my body would feel bloated, my skin would have breakouts and my energy levels were on a low.
Throughout January, I stared feeling more bloated but kept reading about the reasons behind it and to continue with eating a plant based diet. After a few weeks, bloating stopped and more surprisingly I lost weight. My waist got smaller and my weight lowered down without any "dieting".
Thirdly, since watching different documentaries and learning about the environment I became more eco-friendly. My new purchases included a water bottle, a reusable coffee cup and different types of bags instead of using plastic bags. Now I know there is more I should but this is the start. Before Veganuary , I would rarely think about the impact we have as individuals on the environment.
Lastly, I saved money in January without trying! I know that many people will say that going vegan can be expensive but it depends on what you buy. Firstly my shopping cart would be full of buying many meat and dairy replacements which were mostly the same price of what I used to pay whilst eating meat and dairy. However, the more I read about the food my conclusion was eating meat and dairy replacements won’t be the healthiest option. That lead to me making food with vegetables and fruit that are in season and different legumes which are all cheaper options than processed food.
Overall, this was my experience of Veganuary over the last month and my verdict is that I would have regret not signing up. Last month, my knowledge about nutrition, whole foods, environment and animal cruelty had expanded which pushed me more to complete the full month.
Please do consult with your GP if you are thinking of making any changes in your diet and remember that just because it worked this way for me it might not be the same for you.