'Plant Based' written in scrabble letters.

Starting a vegan challenge – Vegebruary!

I’ve been eating meat for 38 years. This year, however, for one month, I’m going to change everything. To clarify, I’m not going to eat a single mouthful of animal-related food products for all of February. I’m starting a vegan challenge!

This will be a challenge for me because I was raised by what you would consider to be ‘carnivores’ and from an early age, meat has always been a staple in my diet. A meal without meat was like going for a jog without a bra on. You just wouldn’t do it!

Vegebruary? Why not Veganuary?

Vegebruary. I’m making it a thing.

Without getting into the fine politics of it, I’m doing this for multiple reasons which include my personal health as well as ethical reasons. Now, I know that it has become fashionable to do ‘Veganuary’ (going vegan for the month of January) but if I’m completely honest, I wasn’t ready to commit yet.

Firstly, December is known as the month of gluttony. This meant that on January 1st, I wasn’t mentally ready to go from eating anything and everything in sight to suddenly having massive restrictions on what I could ingest. Secondly, I needed a buffer month (thanks, January!) in order to prepare. This meant that I needed to do some heavy research on what I needed to get ready for a successful vegan challenge.

As it turns out, I’m actually also benefiting slightly from doing Vegebruary because February only has 29 days this year. That’s two days less than January. Hurrah!

New food discoveries

To my surprise, there is a whole unexplored world of vegan foods I had never eaten, let alone heard of! For instance, who ever heard of nutritional yeast or seitan? (No, not Satan.) With a name like that, it’s no wonder I was immediately intrigued!

I also learned lots of vegan tricks such as using jackfruit as a meat alternative. It seems I’ve been too busy smothering various kinds of meat in mayonnaise to know there were so many vegan options out there.

Bright yellow jackfruit wedges as meat alternative for starting a vegan challenge
For those who are wondering what jackfruit even is!
Image by tichanett from Pixabay

Challenging myself for the right reasons

I plan to post weekly updates on my vegan challenge, including the successes and the failures – should there be any! As a result, I hope to possibly inspire someone else to challenge themselves.

Whatever the reason for starting a vegan challenge, or any challenge for that matter, make sure that the reasons you are doing it for are for YOURSELF. Don’t challenge yourself just to impress others. Don’t do something just because you think others expect it from you. Don’t do something simply because you feel pressured to. Do it because you want to do it for yourself!

Going vegan for a month will undoubtedly shake up my lifestyle. It will give me the chance to see how it makes me feel not having any meat or dairy products in my body. I have heard many positive stories about people having more energy, better skin, better digestion, weight loss – the list goes on – but I am aware that being vegan does come with some big sacrifices.

However, I am also aware that there are two sides to every story, so the only way to find out what effects going vegan will have on me and my body is to try it for myself.

Vegan challenge accepted!

So here’s to the challenge ahead and to the fact that it might not be as hard as I first imagined because, as it turns out, there is such a thing as vegan mayonnaise!

Bring on Vegebruary!!

Plate with steak, shrimp, cheesy chips, broccoli, corn on the cob with a side of creamy gravy as my last meal before starting a vegan challenge
My last non-vegan meal on January 31st. Can you tell I tried to cram in every non-vegan food group there is?!

Love, Martina

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