We caught up with our head of PR, Anton Nebbe to find out how Veganuary went and if it was a one-off experiment or long-term goal.
Being a long-time vegetarian, I thought Veganuary would be easy – all I’d need to do is cut out a bit of dairy and make a few other adjustments. My expectations were high – I was hoping (OK, I was 100% sure…) to lose weight and not to watch what I was eating.
I also fully expected to go vegan permanently once February hit – according to a recent report 72% of participants have the same intention.
In addition, the supermarkets had never before so fully-embraced Veganuary – the truth is, it’s easier to be vegan now than ever before, with – literally – thousands of new plant-based products having been launched ahead of 1 January.
I figured it would just be a case of a few simple adjustments, but, in truth, I found it a lot more difficult than I anticipated. At times, it was nothing less than a chore.
Many, many everyday vegetarian products contain dairy, from crisps to pastries. The weekly shop took a lot longer – and during a pandemic this was far from ideal. I was getting in people’s way, spending too long trying to figure out if the cheese puffs were vegan (they’re not – but bacon Hula Hoops are. Who knew?).
Moving to a plant-based diet took some getting used to – my coffee tasted very different, for example. I had to experiment with oat, soya and almond milk – I opted for soya. The supermarket plant-based meals also tended to leave you with a really bitter aftertaste. The cheese is also, how do I put this politely, very ‘bouncy’ and has the consistency of a squash ball. And its smell wasn’t for me.
First-world problems, some might – understandably - say…
My overwhelming memory is of being permanently hungry. I exercise at least six days of the week and getting the right amount and volume of food into my system proved to be a struggle. Not that I shed any weight or became lean – I expect that would come in time. Maybe I’m just fundamentally greedy – I love to graze.
Despite this, going vegan was a really positive experience, with new experiences opened up and enjoyed. As time passes, I’ll probably paint a far rosier picture of events and fully expect at some point to go vegan full-time – just not yet.