Veganuary – how's it ve-going?

Are you doing Veganuary?

I decided I was going to eat less meat. I’m not going to go full-on Veganuary – but I’m going to eat less meat, and less red meat in particular. And it fits perfectly with my overall plan to eat healthily but cheaply. Good for my health, good for my bank balance, and good for my planet. What’s not to love. I’m going to have at least one meat-free main meal a week.

One of my step-daughters was vegan for a while. We supported her choice, but it did seem awfully difficult, and I worried about the long-term consequences of a diet so low in some pretty basic nutritional elements – protein and calcium are the obvious ones. And I was always petrified that I would give her something un-vegan by accident. I mean, who knew pesto wasn’t vegan-friendly?

I’m not convinced that any diet that misses out entire food groups (unless it’s for medical reasons) is a good idea – us humans are omnivores, we’re designed to eat and drink a wide variety of foods: veg, fruit, meat, fish, fat, sugar, dairy, starches, pulses, Haribo.

The other problem I have with the vegan and even the vegetarian diet is the amount of ‘pretend’ food involved – there’s a whole industry devoted to making vegan cheese, vegetarian sausages, meat-free mince and so on. I see these as processed foods just as much as turkey twizzlers – they’ve been processed beyond recognition.

If a pork sausage contains pork, and a beef sausage contains beef, what exactly does a vegetarian sausage contain??

But I agree that here in the West we eat too much meat. Let’s be honest, we eat too much of everything. My plan is to eat less meat. First off, I’ll be having at least one meat-free meal a week.

This is my plan –

  • Friday – pizza (half an Aldi pizza, with salad – and the other half gets frozen for next week). And this might be a meat-free meal depending on the pizza I buy!! Aldi seem to have stopped doing their Cajun Chicken, so I’m opting for Spinach and Ricotta at the moment.
  • Saturday – meat-free. I made veggie lasagne last week, and it was dee-lish-ous. I’d planned to eat half and freeze half, and ended up scoffing the lot.
  • Sunday – roast chicken – a proper family meal (even though I’m on my own. I don’t care!!)
  • Monday – cold chicken. A pasta dish, or a curry, or something of that sort.
  • Tuesday – chunky chicken soup. A great big bowl of it, with lentils and spices and veggies and homemade croutons – very filling. Soul food.
  • Wednesday – red meat. Usually mince, or maybe a pork chop, or a stew. If it’s mince I’ll make a bolognaise, or a chilli, or savoury mince.
  • Thursday – fish. I lack imagination when it comes to fish. I’m never too sure how to cook it, so I either buy breaded haddock and put it in the oven, or I buy salmon fillets and microwave them. Must try harder.

And that brings us back to Friday again.

Good luck to everyone out there doing Veganuary – would love to hear how it’s going and if you’ll be sticking to the vegan lifestyle in the long-term.

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Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Joan Mudd says:

    I agree re meat free sausages/mince etc that looks and tastes like meat. What’s the point? I note that a well known brand of vegan sausage contains wheat, which is gluten which some of us can’t tolerate. It’s just all too tricky.

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    1. It really does get complicated!! If something is ‘free from’ everything, what does it actually contain?? If you don’t eat meat, why would you need to have something that looks like a sausage!

      Like

  2. anglosvizzera says:

    Hear, hear! I totally agree with your views on veganism – how can a diet that relies on having to take at least one supplement, B12, for example, be what we’re ‘designed’ for? I know someone who has been a ‘careful’ vegan for a number of years and is now pregnant – her initial blood tests showed she was severely anaemic and she had to have interventions such as B12 injections and iron infusions! I wonder whether she would’ve found out about her anaemia if she hadn’t become pregnant? Women of childbearing age lose a lot of micronutrients each month and the deficiencies can take a while to build up, as you point out. So while a man may seem to be doing ok (thriving?) a woman can be a nutritional time-bomb.

    And the protein thing, there are plenty of vegans who will argue that plant protein is perfectly fine, but then again, plenty of nutritionists and doctors who have done research and say that you need to eat vastly more plant protein to get the optimum amount compared with animal protein – plus, as we age, our ability to convert plant protein appears to diminish.

    So, like you, we eat less red meat, and meat in general (who knew how many different squashes there are out there?) and only buy organic, grass-fed meat from reputable local farms. We also avoid anything ‘processed’ so that tends to rule out any kind of make-believe meat substitute.

    Apart from gluten problems, that Joan Mudd has pointed out, many people have issues with legumes and grains other than wheat – they can be inflammatory and contribute to not only gut issues but arthritis etc. And eating foods that constantly raise blood sugar (ie carbohydrates) can lead to type 2 diabetes in the end. The vegans I know seem to be constantly hungry, so they ‘graze’ a lot – whereas I believe, from what I’ve read, that we are meant to have periods of fasting as back in the early days of man we didn’t know where are next meal was coming from and had to eat something that would satiate us for enough time to last till food arrived once more – so ideally fat and good-quality protein.

    Anyway, we all have our own opinions and we should live and let live, but there are so many vegan zealots out there that I hardly ever comment any more on social media!!

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    1. Personally, I think sensible quantities of good wholesome food is the way to go. And I’m happy that you feel able to post on here!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sheenpeen says:

    I love that Haribo is a food group! I eat less meat than I did but don’t plan on going veggie any time soon, I enjoy meat and would miss bacon too much.

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    1. Mmm, bacon butties…

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  4. * I meant to write ‘It really does get complicated’. xx

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