Veganuary Top Tips from a Non-Vegan
Like many others this year, I decided to give Veganuary a go. I thought it would be an interesting challenge, considering I am not even a vegetarian - never mind a vegan! There are many reasons for choosing to go vegan, vegetarian, or even for simply reducing your meat intake. I have consciously been reducing my meat intake for a few months for health, environmental, and animal cruelty reasons.
A small disclaimer before I really get into things; I am not a perfect person - I have a slight chocolate addiction. So, being completely honest, I went completely vegetarian for the month of January and used dairy alternatives...except for chocolate. Look, lockdown 3 has been tough on all of us. I decided I did not need to punish myself by giving up chocolate in the middle of a pandemic. But that’s okay! Some vegetarians occasionally eat meat, like at Christmas and some vegans might stick to their diet only 99% of the time. Life is not black or white so it’s important to have some balance. So with that said, here are my top Veganuary/reducing meat intake tips!
Firstly, I really find meat alternatives help me. They are certainly not for everyone but as someone who grew up with every meal having ‘meat, carbs, veg’, it helps me feel like I am eating a regular home meal. Some of the best things I have found are: Any Linda McCartney freezer food, Denny’s meat-free sausages, The Toofoo Co. smoked tofu & Quorn pieces. A simple 5-minute meal that anyone can make is a Tofu stirfry. Simply fry your tofu with your veg of choice and serve with rice or noodles! For the sauce and seasoning, I like to add paprika, garlic powder (lots!), honey, soya sauce, and ginger.
If meat alternatives are not your thing, or if you are looking for a cheap meal with lots of protein then try this Chickpea curry! Simply add garlic and curry powder to a frying pan. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes, bring to the boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. Then add a tin of chickpeas - lentils which are full of protein and popular with vegetarians. I also added a handful of spinach for some iron and texture! Mix together and let simmer for another 10 minutes. You can serve with greek yoghurt (dairy-free if you wish) to garnish.
Reducing your meat and dairy intake does not have to mean compromising on taste or spending more! In Lidl, you can buy a vegan pizza for only 1.79. Or for those with a sweet tooth, you can buy Henry Hippo jellies (vegan dupes of Percy Pigs) for only 1.23. If you’re a coffee-lover, next time order your latte with oat milk - I promise you will be pleasantly surprised. I hope some of these tips help you guys and enjoy! :)