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Veganuary – where do you go now?

Veganuary has come to an end, and whether you tried, failed, or couldn’t give less of a dairy product, now is the time to consider what happens next. Does your life now revolve around endless tofu-based stir-fry? Do you refuse to take up your cutlery unless there’s a hearty portion of dead animal on your plate? Or do you opt for somewhere in between?

“Going vegan is hard when you don’t know what you’re doing”

I made Veganuary work.

I made Veganuary work for a grand total of five days, twelve hours, and thirty-seven minutes. It was at that point that I ripped open a packet of supermarket-brand ricotta and spinach ravioli (a personal favourite of mine). This ravioli wasn’t very good. It was the kind where if you got distracted and allowed it to boil for seconds more than recommended then it would begin to disintegrate before making it onto your plate.

As I searched desperately through my serving for just one ravioli (…raviole…raviolus?) that had maintained structural integrity, I began to wonder if I could have done any better, and why exactly I hadn’t.

At the end of the day, going from hearty meat-eater to fully-fledged vegan is just hard. It’s especially hard if (like me) you don’t know what you’re doing. But that does not mean that I’m doing nothing though.

Last year a report published in The Lancet came to the overriding conclusion that the entire human population needs to address its eating habits. Through bringing together nineteen Commissioners and eighteen co-authors from across the globe, the report examined everything from water consumption to greenhouse gases, and from land usage to human health. The report concluded that a huge problem for both planet and people was the unsustainable consumption of meat and dairy. Addressing this would mean avoiding as many as eleven million deaths each year, and could ensure that the Paris Agreement actually meets its targets.

You can find a summary of the report’s findings here - https://eatforum.org/eat-lancet-commission/eat-lancet-commission-summary-report/

Whatever your attitude was towards Veganuary, perhaps you feel like me – it is time for a change. You don’t have to go whole hog (apologies to the vegans), but perhaps try making small changes to your diet.

I plan to start with the following steps:

1.Researching what I eat now: where my food comes from (both meat and vegetable) and the impact on both planet and conscience

2.Researching what I could be eating. I’m looking online and in recipe books for a few vegan, or vegetarian dishes to fit into my week – any tips greatly appreciated

3.Shopping at that local market that I always ignored

4.Opting for organic, or free-range wherever possible. I’m not ready to commit to no meat, but I hope this is a step in the right direction

5.Trying not to fall into the trap of palm and coconut alternatives since these can be damaging to the planet as well

6.Avoiding throwing out perfectly good food – a lot of questionable stews in my house just now

7.Adding one vegan meal a week. It may not sound like much, but it’s a start, and imagine if everyone did…

Hazel Bannerman

Hazel is a History undergraduate who delights in fine dining on a budget, she also enjoys classic comfort cuisines.

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