If you’ve been living under a rock and you do not know what Veganuary is, let me explain. Veganuary is a campaign that takes the month of January as the time to “inspire and educate people to make a lifestyle change and then provide the support they need to be able to maintain it”, all this by adopting a vegan lifestyle. During this 2018 Veganuary, approximately 160,000 people committed to a vegan diet throughout the month of January, with the hope of all of us who are already vegans, that they continue with this lifestyle even after the end of the year. month of January. Since before February 1, 2018, I’ve seen some inspiring tweets like this:
Veganuary is changing lives and trends in the market. This 2018, we have seen an impressive increase in the range of vegan products offered by large chains. In the UK we can say that Tesco, Aldi, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Waitrose, etc. already have a high demand for their “Free from” lines.
All this speaks of the growth of Veganism in the UK but … how real is it? Speaking first hand, my husband is my best example of what veganism can achieve in an Omnivore who loves grilled meat.
Background: Male, 35 years old, with irritable bowel syndrome. Lover of steaks, cheese, a glass of milk in the morning (by itself or with cereal), a fan of twinkies and chocolate rolls. He does not conceive to eat without soda, juice or some sugary drink. At some point in his life he took so much milk that his studies revealed “calcium in his blood”.
But not everything is bad, he eats vegetables (if he has them on his plate), he accepts to try dishes that exist only in my head, he likes salads as garnish and olives can be the best snack for him.
In late November, maybe early December, my husband came to the kitchen and said: ‘I’m willing to try your vegan food all this month (it was not even Veganuary yet !!), but I ask you not to get too excited , because I do not think I can be a vegan, I like grilled meat a lot’. I, with just a little more than a year as a vegan, took this offer, since it was more than I ever thought to hear from him. And so we started.
Being honest, by that time, he had been drinking soy milk for at least 4 years, these years were only interrupted when we changed countries and we had to rediscover our new favorite products but in essence, that was his first step or first replacement. At some point, he told me sincerely that cheese is something he will never change because ‘he does not believe there is a good vegan product to replace it and he likes quesadillas a lot’.
But it was not until he gave me green light to go “full vegan” with food that I could show him, all the new things that were coming out into the market.
It was a month full of unbeatable dishes: Fajita quesadilla, enfrijoladas, quesadillas, vegan tuna, hummus, pasta with cheese and leeks, fried rice with tofu, frittatas, etc. and he loved everything !.
There were times when he “broke the diet”, especially when we went out to eat at restaurants and I understood that he was not committed to being vegan and therefore, that attitude was understandable but those binges had their downside.
Whenever he ate something with animal products, his body’s reaction was immediate: stomach swelling, gas, constipation, heaviness, sleepiness, fatigue, etc.
Although he did not feel that the food had changed much (we used to eat the same but he added some piece of meat for “his protein and flavor”) the reality was that it did. He admits that the taste of vegan food was better and the changes he saw in himself were undeniable.
What immediately comes to his head when he thinks about the changes he experienced is: his face is no longer greasy, his stomach is no longer distended, his gas problem no longer exists and he has stopped feeling bitterness. Among the benefits that most appeal to him are: he has more energy and the food is healthier. In addition, he no longer suffers from gastritis or colitis.
And while he enjoyed the benefits of vegan dishes, we came to discuss the reality of the industry: animal exploitation is not only in the piece of meat on your plate, it is also in the by-products. And for that, there is a lot to learn and that’s why it’s so important to know what to buy at the supermarket.
The amount of animal waste in food, cosmetics, cleaning products, clothes, etc. is innumerable and it’s a fact that my husband was surprised to know what part of the fish is used in the preparation of his “100% apple juice” and that for some reason, it is essential to put pork hair on a simple baguette, so ended by asking me “what am I killing if I eat / take this?”. This led him to let me change the vast majority of the products he eats or uses.
Also, he considers that part of the formula to enjoy veganism is: ‘do not miss what you ate and open your mind to new flavors and dishes. Do not look for replacements whose comparison disappoints you because it’s not the taste you remember. ‘
After trying vegan food for more than a month (not only during Veganuary), and although he still says he likes meat, he enjoys vegan tuna (made of chickpeas, cucumbers and peppers) very much and considers veganism to be a complete diet and under which a person can live healthily.
And it was not until January, returning to his work routine, that he “had” to return to his old habits but with one prerogative: the only animal that he will include in his diet will be the fish and he proclaimed himself “Pescatarian”. And although the fish also die cruelly, again, it is more than I ever thought to hear from him.
But his decision had a price. Again abdominal distension, gas, fatigue and more. He told me “but it was only one day !!” and I looked at him without answering because the answer on how to keep his health, he already has it.
The only thing I could offer was to buy a dish of the new range of products offered in almost any supermarket to avoid starvation and when he returned home, I would have an exquisite vegan meal for him. The idea was not badly received but poorly executed. Solution: The next day I went to Tesco to buy 2 options part of the new line “Wicked Kitchen” (Tesco’s ideal response to the demand for vegan food during this Veganuary.
Unfortunately the solution was temporary, since one day, the portion of the new meals seemed insufficient and on the way home, he bought a sandwich that looked healthy but contained too much mayonnaise, which irritated his stomach to the fullest.
And it was just this week, after having eaten an animal product for only one day, that he told me: “I have already my abdomen stretched, I think I can not stop being vegan” and although he did not say it with the conviction of doing it, he knows that behind his joke, there is a truth he can not deny.
My husband does not consider that he can ever be a vegan, but the improvements he has obtained from having tried for just one month are irrefutable.
At the moment, he declares himself “flexitarian” and if he ever manages to be a vegan or returns to drink milk, I still do not know. I’ll just wait for a happy ending.
The upside of this story is, having gone to his home office to take out the trash and find this …
And no, I did not buy it. It was his decision … and I do not know when he bought it. Definitely the best surprise that a vegan can have 🙂
And you? Did Veganuary stretched until February? What benefits did you see? I would love to hear your story 😃