A vegan is for life, not just for (after) Christmas

As Veganuary ends for another year, we review how it’s been for our two January vegan volunteers, Gemma and Huntley.  If you’ve been following their blogs, you’ll have seen their progress through a month without eating animal products. If you haven’t, you can find them here:
Huntley (below): and his blog: http://huntleyhedworth.blogspot.co.uk
Gemma (below): and her (new) blog: http://quietheart.co.uk/2017/02/08/january-wellness-experience/.

Record year for Veganuary

This year, a record 50,000 people signed up for Veganuary.  Their motivations ranged from concern about the cruelty of animal food production, to wanting to do something positive in the fight against climate change, to wanting the health benefits a vegan diet can bring such as weight loss, better sleep, lower blood pressure and lower incidence of type II diabetes.

Going vegan does, to start with, take a bit of thought and preparation – it’s just as easy to eat badly as a vegan as it is as an omnivore and you need to ensure your diet is balanced.  We’ve been helping Huntley and Gemma make the transition by supplying them with Miller Green dishes throughout the month.

So how did they get on?

We’re delighted to hear that Gemma is a convert and is going to stick with a vegan diet from now on.  Huntley reports feeling better as a result of the diet – and being told that he looks well – and is planning to cut down on dairy from now on.

To round off the month we asked them both 7 questions about how it been for them.  Here’s what they say – in their own words:

Huntley

Huntley
Huntley

So how was it for you?  Easy or difficult?
Quite difficult, but often easy especially as lots of the food was fantastic

How did friends/family react?
With slight bemusement

Did you cheat at all?
Never!! Well, a little bit ESPECIALLY when staying away with friends, it was too much to ask them to cater vegan food for me.  I did take some of my own which they liked

What was the best thing about being vegan?

Thai Massaman and cashew nut milk on muesli, fab !!

What was the most difficult thing about being vegan?

Breakfast !!! No butter and milk .. my routine is toast and butter with tea with milk in it.

Do you feel any different as a result of the diet?
Fewer muscle aches and people keep telling me I look well

Do you think you are going to change your diet as a result?  If so, how?
Less dairy for sure .. cashew milk and I must try oat milk

 

Gemma

Gemma David
Gemma David

 So how was it for you?  Easy or difficult?

Veganuary has been relatively easy, Sue, because your fantastic food has not once left me hungry or feeling deficient in any way.  I’ve not craved meat at all (other than one time when I cooked bacon for my daughter) and when I’ve thought about cheese I’ve re-framed it to having a craving for salt and cream…which I can get from marmite and vegan butter.

If I was tempted at all my mind simply went back to the disgraceful way we treat animals in the meat and dairy industry. I’ve watched footage and documentaries about the way we slaughter animals and fish and abuse animals for milk and cheese. My stomach has turned and I’ve been moved to tears.  How can I support such barbaric treatment of these beautiful creatures when there is absolutely no need for us to eat these products?  And how can I support these industries which by their own methods are contributing to the destruction of our planet.

I’m a Chinese Medicine practitioner, which is a culture and medicine system that strongly believes in the power of bone broths and the energetics of meat; but ingesting meat or dairy that has derived from animals that are treated so badly seems wildly hypocritical to me.  I now feel more strongly than ever that as humans, we have no right to kill or abuse any other living thing.

How did friends/family react?

Overall with support and love.  I’ve had lots of questions about my vitamin and mineral intake however! I have had some challenging questions too, but with support from yourself and the Veganuary website I’ve felt confident enough to talk about my choice with gentle conviction.

Did you cheat at all?

Not once and I’m so proud of that.  But, I’ve been thinking about eggs a lot recently; I even googled the farm that is on a packet of eggs in the fridge to see if I could justify poaching a couple.  I thought ‘well, if they’re free range organic that can’t be too bad’…but as they’re not roaming around in the woods, I didn’t.

What was the best thing about being vegan?

My conscience.  Definitely.  And yes, I have lost some weight but I don’t have scales at home so can only use my clothes for guidance.

What was the most difficult thing about being vegan?

Eating out – still.  This includes going for coffee and for meals.  It’s been great to see the many restaurants and supermarkets supporting Veganuary though.  In addition, trying to find the best way to explain to my daughter why I was eating differently was challenging.

Do you feel any different as a result of the diet?

I have been plagued by a cold during most of January so that’s a difficult element to measure, BUT I definitely feel mentally more clear and focused, and lighter in spirit, which is great.  As well as eating vegan, I’ve been meditating and practising yoga daily so I’m finishing the month on a real high.

Interestingly I’ve naturally lost the desire to drink alcohol (usually I’m partial to a daily G&T) but his month, I’ve hardly had any and have been running too, so I’m feeling full of clarity and positivity.  This has been hugely beneficial as I started another job (teaching) and also a training course to become a mindfulness teacher this month.  I’ve needed the extra energy!

Do you think you are going to change your diet as a result?  If so, how?

Yes.  I am going to remain a vegan except for times when I am invited to family and friends where I will accept their food with love and grace.

 

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