Are you doing Veganuary this year? Me too. This is the third time I’ve opted to give up all animal products for the month of January and it’s getting easier every time.
For the rest of the year I’m vegetarian anyway but since my first Veganuary in 2016 I’ve found myself naturally eating less dairy and eggs and enjoying vegan food more.
So feeding myself during Veganuary isn’t too tricky now. If you’re still looking for recipe ideas check out these 31 vegan recipes to inspire you.
One thing that doesn’t get easier are the questions though. As a long-term veggie I am used to the odd inane question and sometimes suspicion as if choosing not to eat animals marks me out as someone with a hidden motive.
Doing Veganuary is no different. Despite veganism becoming much more common – and dare I say mainsteam – over the last few years many people are utterly baffled by the decision. If you’ve just turned vegan or you’re doing Veganuary for the first time I guarantee you’ll be at the receiving end of some of these questions this month.
Here are 15 things everyone doing Veganuary will hear this month – and my responses:
1. But what do you eat?
Food. Like everyone else.
2. Surely you can’t be getting enough protein?
Actually there’s heaps of protein in nuts, pulses, quinoa, seeds, tofu and soy. Eat a balanced diet and you’ll get enough.
3. Are you anaemic yet?
Vegans do need to take care to get enough iron in their diets as non-animal iron is harder for the body to absorb. But it’s not impossible.
4. Isn’t it really boring?
Actually no. There are so many vegan chefs, restaurants, supper clubs and bloggers out there that you could eat something different and delicious for every single meal this month. There are also plenty of vegan ready meals and subscription boxes out there to help you along.
5. How can you live without bacon?
Quite easily – I’m still standing here aren’t I?
6. Do you mind if I eat pepperoni/cheese/a steak in front of you?
Not particularly no – you make your own decisions, I’ll make mine.
7. How can you stand eating salad all the time?
We don’t. There’s heaps of other foods out there that are vegan too. And they’re not all healthy – think dark chocolate, chips, Oreos and crisps for starters.
8. I heard that plants can feel pain too you know.
Well ok, I’ll just go ahead and starve then shall I? And actually this very much hasn’t been proven.
9. I have no idea what I’m going to feed you.
Instead of being all passive aggressive on me why don’t you just ask for some suggestions?
10. Why would you do that?
Well, maybe just to see if I could. Or to feel healthier for a month. Or perhaps to be kinder to animals and the environment for a while. Either way my life, my choice.
11. Aren’t you hungry all the time?
Nope. When I get hungry I eat – see question 4.
12. I was vegan once but it made me ill so I stopped
Well that’s a great story. Thank you.
13. I bet you’re deficient in loads of vitamins
I’m eating so much more fruit and veg that I think I’m actually getting more vitamins and nutrients from my diet this month.
14. Vegan food is weird
Not true. Lots of things that are now mainstream food like stir fries, curries and even avocado on toast can easily be made vegan.
15. Vegan food is bad for the environment
It is true that intensive farming of certain crops can be bad for the environment. However, much of this is actually destined for animal feed. The impact of farming crops for human consumption is much less significant than that of livestock farming.
Mandy Mazliah is a vegetarian mum of three whose kids don’t eat vegetables. Read about her efforts to get them to eat their five a day at www.sneakyveg.com.