Veganuary 2016
Comments 13

Veganuary 2016, My Final Thoughts

Vegan Fajitas Recipe

Does “my final thoughts” sound a bit “this is a suicide note” to you? I wasn’t so sure about it, but I wanted it to sound important enough for you to click on it. How am I doing here, validate my choices please. To clarify: this is not a suicide note.

Shall we just jump straight in to the first of the three areas we gots to talk about?

The general attitude towards vegans

This was one of the most irritating things about the whole process for me. It feels like people are so, so angry with vegans just for the way they’ve chosen to eat. I know that this goes both ways, and we’re gonna touch on that in my next point, but I really want to address this first because I think it’s important and doesn’t really get discussed very often.

If I’m eating something that’s vegan, people seem to be very interested in trying to ‘catch me out’ with how healthy (or rather unhealthy) it might be. Calling out artificial ingredients or telling me that the production of quinoa is somehow worse for the planet than the entire red meat industry.

1) You did not have a problem with me last month when I was eating an entire packet of Doritos after drinking a preposterous amount of vodka the night before, and I can tell you right now that both of those things did way more damage to my body than the unpronounceable ingredient in this packet of generic vegan snacks. So why do you feel the need to hold my health in question today?

2) Please do not presume that the word vegan means anything other than ‘does not eat animal products’. Why do so many people think it means ‘aspiring to be a knock off version of Deliciously Ella’? If I were to eat potato waffles and ketchup exclusively for the rest of my life, I would die a vegan. A very happy vegan.

3) Obviously, any form of plant based eating is better for the planet than the ridiculously high levels of meat consumption that we’re currently seeing. It’s basic maths. If you’re gonna dredge up some dodgy study and try and tell me otherwise, I’m just not going to take you seriously, because you’re ridiculous.

It’s a strange, deep seated fury that people have, and I genuinely can’t see where it comes from besides self doubt. Why go on the offensive about other people’s deal so hard if you’re completely comfortable with your own choices? Lose the attitude and let me eat my avocados in peace.

Ruam Mit Shub Pang Tord (Thai Tempura)Vegan thai takeaway – post here

Ways in which vegans need to chill the f**k out if they want people to get on board

As you can see, I’m pissed off with omnivores who have weird repressive anger at people who eat kale for fun. But I’m equally pissed off with you too, aggressive vegans of this world. You take the average human who could potentially be swayed towards a gentle trajectory heading for a more vegetable-oriented diet, you call them a murderer and hurl abuse accompanied by pictures of piglets at them, and you make them not want to ever do what it is that you want them to do. You make them want to do the complete opposite.

Another unhelpful thing I see a lot of is vegans saying that movements like Meat Free Monday are a bad thing because they “don’t go far enough”. If the whole world stopped eating meat on Mondays, meat production would be reduced so dramatically. And discouraging people from starting small is. so. stupid.

The way I see it, “vegan activism” is never actually helpful to the cause. I firmly believe that the role of the vegan activist should be to inspire, to educate, to guide. Not to bully, intimidate or belittle. You’ll get much further with someone by giving them some hot tips on building the perfect sexy grain bowl than you will by making them feel like they’re evil because they like a fry up. Stop it, guys.

Vegan Fajitas RecipeVegan fajitas – recipe here

How my eating habits will change

You know, I really can’t say yet. I predict a bit of a blowout in February. I may well order some fried chicken, I’ll probably revisit cheese in a big and passionate way, and I’m very likely to put a fried egg on top of a lot of my meals.

Or will I? I don’t know. Do I want to eat a chicken? Or has Veganuary legit awakened some actual hardcore dedicated vegetarianism in me? I think I’m going to play it by ear. All I know is that after going totally vegan for a month, I find I’m even less comfortable with the inconvenient truths of the animal products most of us consume on a daily basis. I’ve survived 30 days without all that stuff, and without wanting to sound like one of those annoying vegans I was bashing above, is it cool for me to eat loads of cheese just cause “I couldn’t go without it” even though I know it’s come from a mistreated animal? I think that train of thought is going to continue and grow and evolve in a much bigger way past January 31st.

I’m not the only one who’s coming out the other side of this challenge with a new perspective. Both Jack Monroe  and Ioan Marc Jones have vowed to continue the plant based diet for the foreseeable future – both of their articles explaining why are very interesting, I’d read them if you’ve got a second.

One solid guarantee that I’ll be implementing: three vegan days a week. Three at least. 

What do you think?

I’ve had so much fun this month, Veganuary has been a fantastic project for me. I’ve learned so much, I feel genuinely inspired, and I feel healthier too. I lost all my Christmas weight (there was 6lbs of it, I put on 6lbs Christmas Eve-Boxing Day, are you impressed?). But I want to hear how it was for you! Have you enjoyed reading my vegan updates and recipes and finds? Do you want to see more? Let me know, your feedback is legit helpful and super important to me.

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  1. I can’t agree more with your first two points, people get so angry at vegans for the way they eat and demand justifications and explanations about eating vegan, but often not in a pleasant way. I’ve seen a lot of vegan activist stuff too, which although I think is important to share with people, it shouldn’t be thrown in their face without any warning. I’m going to continue a more plant-based diet too, it’s difficult at times and takes thought and effort, but I think it’s a good thing to do, for my health, the welfare of animals and preservation of the planet.

    • I think with planning, forethought and the ability to make sexy sexy food, plant based gets easier as you go along. But I can get very antsy if I put restrictions on myself for too long, so I want to do more testing of the waters before I take a full on “I’m not allowed to eat this, this and this” attitude!

  2. Well done on your month, it’s been fun reading about your foodie adventures for the last few weeks. I think you captured the vegan aggression issue from all sides really well here- I find that whenever veganism comes up in conversation, people can get very antsy-both vegans and the non who seem to view it as attention-seeking and/or ridiculously inconvenient for everyone else, which is just rubbish. Seems to me that veganism is about kindness and consideration, so less of the anger would be more appropriate.

  3. This is a great well balanced round up post. I’ve been watching everyone’s progress during Veganuary on Twitter, I’ve been really impressed by everyone’s dedication and have no idea how anyone could think that it was a bad thing more people taken an interest in the Vegan lifestyle (even just temporarily). I couldn’t imagine doing it myself due to my meat loving fiance but it has made me successfully convince him to do meat free Mondays (!!!), so you’re completely right that every little helps! Look forward to seeing more of your vegan and non-vegan updates in 2016.

  4. rebecca drew says

    Cate, I’ve found your Veganuary posts brilliant. I have Vegan friends and it’s given me lots more confidence to cook for them and to start incorporating Vegan meals into my routine. I don’t want to go permanently Vegan but I love your suggestion of Vegan Mondays and working towards three days a week. I did a Vegan cream tea yesterday. The pavlova (from chickpea brine) was a disaster and the scones didn’t rise, although they tasted okay, [more practice obviously needed!] but everyone had a nice time and even the non-Vegan’s preferred the coconut milk yoghurt to the whipped cream!
    Thanks and I look forward to reading more.

    • Thank you so much Rebecca what a lovely comment, makes me so happy to hear my suggestions are approachable!! (I’ve been far too scared to attempt anything involving chickpea liquid..)

  5. I loved reading about your veganism and seeing all the recipes you’ve produced! I think a world where everyone eats slightly more meat would be highly beneficial, both for the planet and for us as individuals. Veggies are delicious and people don’t tend to explore enough of them. However, I couldn’t go as far as giving it all up for good, I think being conscious about the meat and animal products you’re buying/consuming is a step above just buying what’s available easiest/cheapest. Alice xx

  6. Cate, this post is amazing! I read it nodding my head throughout! Although I didn’t do Veganuary I’ve done a vegan month in the past (I’m an egg and cheese eating vegetarian). I definitely eat less dairy since doing it and I can’t even face drinking milk on its own now- or even in tea and coffee! I think any step towards eating less animal products is a good thing, I believe it’s about striking a balance that you feel comfortable, healthy and happy with. And potato waffles, can I have beans with them? Oh hell yeah!

  7. Really well articulated, Cate, and a fair critique of both ‘sides’ as it were. It’s good to hear how people have found the veganuary challenge, especially someone as interested in food as you. How would you feel about writing a piece for me for the Vegan Lifestyle Association blog at the end of Feb to see where your thinking is at? I got involved with the VLA because it’s a ‘pathway’ organisation and, while we completely believe in a plant-based diet and world where no animal is exploited, we fully get that it’s a path and people are at different stages, or not even on the path at all, and that education is all about fairness and providing good models, not beating people around the head with messages. So whatever the outcome of your Feb, would love to hear what happens next for you. Will tweet you too so you have my contacts.

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