Eating on a plant-based diet: Our Veganuary experience
words by Eirini
January 31, 2020
One day of mid-November we were sitting together with Olga (our amazing Customer Success manager) having our lunch at the office, when we started discussing veganism (at the time we were both following a vegetarian lifestyle). Olga mentioned the Veganuary campaign, which I had never heard of before. Veganuary is when the first month of the year you eat on a plant-based diet, meaning no meat, no milk, no cheese, nothing that originates from animals.
Olga said that many people go vegan for January and then become vegan for life. We forgot about it until the end of December, when I bumped into an Instagram post of Veganuary, I sent it to Olga, and we took the pledge to start the vegan journey.
So, when the year changed, so did our diet. January would be month of new food recipes and experimentation. The first food I tried making was vegan lasagna, which was actually delicious. I had to add new elements in my diet, such as nutritional yeast, which is kind of a replacement to cheese and is rich in Vitamin B6 and B12. As well as, spirulina capsules, rich in protein and iron. I also increased my consumption of seeds, fruits and vegetables, and enjoyed finding, trying and sharing new recipes (thank you Olga for the vegan mac and cheese).
I always had a difficulty with “What should I cook today?”, so that wasn’t really any different. However, I found myself creating a Pinterest board with recipes and being bolder and more innovative with my food, which was refreshing.
In Olga’s experience, “Veganuary has been a month of cleanse that my body needed. Not only did I learn about the benefits of eating a plant-based diet first-hand, but I also fulfilled my New Year’s resolution; to eat less processed foods. When starting the vegan journey I was bombarded with messages around vitamin deficiencies attached to a plant-based diet. Truthfully, I never felt that my body was lacking any necessary nutrients to sustain my busy lifestyle. I made sure to supplement vitamin B12, and otherwise eat as many colours on my plate as possible!”
“Food shopping on a vegan diet was very easy. I found it a fascinating experience to always have to think about the ingredients list, which ultimately made me more aware of what is in the food I consume. Opting for raw fruits and vegetables and cooking meals from scratch has been life-changing. I found that developing good habits really doesn’t take a lot of time and now there is no going back, even if you find me eating a mozzarella pizza every now and then! I am grateful for Veganuary and for making me a much more mindful eater!”
At the end, we got through January as vegans. I would definitely recommend anyone to try it, even for just a week. To be honest, it was hard to be persistent at all times, and not give into all the temptations that were everywhere. Although, I admit I was jealous seeing Cretan honey dripping in my boyfriend’s tea and parmesan cheese melting on his spaghetti, but I was committed and stayed focused. I haven’t felt like this journey was extremely difficult or that I was really suffering from not eating certain foods.
On the other hand, you should know how many animals suffer.
This was in 2014, 6 years ago, since then the figures have been increasing. To me, that is unbearable, and that is why I have decided to continue eating vegan as much as I can, but maybe with small exceptions of eating a Cretan cheese, called mizithra, and honey produced from friends.
Please have a look at these remarkable documentaries (definitely not boring), which definitely have affected me, and can help you understand the problem and how animal agriculture impacts the climate crisis and your health.
- Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret – Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn (can be found on Netflix)
- The Game Changers (can be found on Netflix)
- Luxury: behind the mirror of high-end fashion – DW Documentary
Hopefully you will be inspired by our experience!
Veganuary in a summary:
- New ingredients: Nutritional yeast, Spirulina capsules, Vegan ice cream, Vegan cheese
- Missing the most: Cretan honey, Cheese, Eggs
- Animals harmed: 0