I Went Vegan For 1 Week And This Is What I Learned

(Thai Red Chickpea Curry)
(Vegetable Moroccan Tagine with Giant Cous Cous)
(Sweetcorn Fritters with Sweet Potatoe Fries and Hummus)

(Avocado Red Onion Breakfast Quesadilla with Hummus) 
(Perkier Breakfast Bar with Hummus and Vege Dippers)
(Red Pepper Pasta With Olives and Vegan Cheese)
(Vegan Brownie Mix)
I Went Vegan For 1 Week And This Is What I Learned

Okay I know what some of you are thinking, ‘oh here goes another one jumping on the band wagon’ because honestly I used to think the same. 

I’ll be the first person to hold my hands up and admit I used to think that Veganism has simply become a term to describe health trend and in some ways I still think it has but I’d never overshadow those that have their reasons and opinions for doing so.

Many people want to go vegan for the health benefits of consuming more plant based foods and that’s okay but there’s also more reasons for going vegan than just believing the slaughter and farming of produce from animals is inhumane and cruel. 

Now, I’ve always eaten meat and dairy but I’m particular about where it has come from. It has to be free range and it has to of had a long enough life (I won’t eat a young animal) but something recently completed changed my opinion on an economic activity that’s essentially bullshitting us… the meat and dairy industry. 

Last weekend I watched a presentation on YouTube from the Humane Educator of The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, James Wildman. The video is titled ‘101 Reasons to Go Vegan’. I watched it just out of interest and was completely surprised by my reaction and feelings at the end of the 1 hour 11 minute video.

I won’t push for you to just watch it but just give it a chance because you’ll completely rethink your own opinions and realise how gullible you’ve been. I personally thought I’d need to see the extreme slaughter or mistreatment of animals to rethink eating meat or dairy but in that whole 71 minute video there’s only a 3 minute insight into the animal industry and there’s no blood in sight. Just facts. Facts that make you question how we look at animals we consume to those we keep as pets, why we’re farming them, what it’s doing to our health and how the meat and dairy industry is painting a picture to make us feel like we need it.

But aside from it completely opening my eyes to a fabricated trade, it’s also changed a lot more than that…

What I learned from going vegan for 1 week… 

I fell in love with cooking again
Taking meat and dairy out of my diet meant that I become more experimental in the kitchen. My previous diet was the usual commercial influenced plate of protein (meat), vegetables and carbohydrates which lead me to eat the same combination of foods and meal times had gotten incredibly boring.

I ate more
Because my consumption was mainly vegetables, lentils, legumes, grains and seeds I was able to eat high quantities of these or spread them out and snack more throughout the day without any worry.

I didn’t need condiments
My fridge was previously stocked with every condiment under the sun and I’d always have more than one with my meals. But James Wildman’s point has stuck with me; “I’d got to McDonalds and get a slab of meat, that meat would have herbs and spices…then it came with a bun, lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, mustard and onions and a pickle. We put those on the meat to make it taste better, what would meat be without plants? It would just be a dead animal”…

I stopped counting calories
I never counted calories by writing them down but I know the average calories in certain foods and therefor know how much I should eat. When I dropped meat and dairy and started cooking more with vegetables I never gave calories a second thought.

I felt lighter 
Meat is a heavy form of protein. You can consume a steak and instantly feel twice as heavy. By cutting that out and getting my protein from greens, quinoa, lentils, beans, nut butters, soy milk (which contains the same amount of protein as milk without the cholesterol) and bananas, you instantly feel lighter.   

I had a clear conscious 
I love animals and the way in which James Wildman describes and questions the way we look at a pig compared to the way we look at a dog made me completely rethink my view.

My food shop was cheaper 
I was surprised that my food shop came in 1/3 cheaper than normal with 1/4 more meals and food purchased. Some vegan foods like vegan cheese, vegan mayo  aren’t as cheap as the animal based alternatives however if you’re no longer picking up that £4 pack of chicken then than £3 jar of vegan mayo is still cheaper…

My meals became more varied 
I try to eat as healthy and possible but that usually means that I get stuck in the same old boring circle of salad, fruit, chicken and vegetables. By taking meat and dairy out of my diet I’ve become more creative with food and my meals have become incredible varied.

I never felt restricted 
I previously thought the vegan lifestyle was too fussy. “What do they even eat?!” I used to ask myself. I’m such an idiot. There are so many alternatives to your usual meat based meals that throughout the 7 days I’ve actually felt like my mind has been opened to more foods than it was when I ate meat and diary… weird right?

I had more energy 
I noticed that even though I’m still mentally tired when I get up in the morning I had more physical energy throughout the day. I also noticed that my usual afternoon brain slump happened later on in the day.

My meals where tastier 
I started to use more ingredients in my meals, put together different varieties of food that brought out the flavour and made my meals tastier. In the whole 7 days I’ve never once wanted to eat meat or missed eating anything dairy. I’ve had milk alternatives in my tea (soy, almond and oats milk) and actually preferred the oats milk in particular to cows milk.

After watching that YouTube video there’s no way I can go back to tucking into a beef burger or gulping down a large cow’s milk latte but on the other hand I won’t box myself off under a dietary term. By not consuming large portions of meat and dairy I feel healthier, I enjoy my food more but I’m also not fuelling a cruel industry and therefor feel as though I have a clear conscious. 

I may tuck into a bag of crisps (that contains milk), nibble on some milk chocolate or have a cheese pizza, but by being aware of what I’m consuming, knowing what’s happened to produce it, and considerably reducing consumption on the whole, I’m being less of a contributor and feel better about it.

Beki Xo