Wow, a whole year has passed since Veganuary 2020. And now I am here to write about Veganuary 2021. And let me tell you, what a difference 12 months makes – especially when those 12 have been spent predominantly in isolation.
I started off last year’s post by explaining how bad at being vegetarian I once was. Thankfully, this is no longer the case- Veganuary 2020 was the perfect way to kick start last year, and I haven’t had a single piece of meat since Christmas 2019. Pretty chuffed with that! I spent most of the year cooking and learning new recipes, since I was lucky enough to be at home for the year whilst looking for a job. As a result, lockdown measures lasted so long that I got into the best shape of my life during the summer, eating all my beans and grains and roasted vegetables, and then get back out of shape again towards the tail end of the year (Christmas chocolate, anyone?).
But by the end of 2020 I had managed to procure my first full-time job, leave my family home, move away from almost everyone I know and most importantly learn how to make my own hummus. Having the time to spend on cooking and planning food vastly improved my diet as well as my appreciation for all things chickpea. Which is funny considering that last year I wrote “sandwiches in general are rubbish vegan when you don’t much like hummus” (Anna’s diary 12.01.20). Safe to say that girl has gone. She has been replaced by a girl who buys 4 tins of chickpeas every week to ensure she gets them into almost every meal.
2020 vegan Anna was eating beans, rice and lentil soup on repeat (as well as copious amounts of oreos – some things never change). 2021 vegan Anna owns cookbooks, an Instagram account for vegetarian and vegan food, and miso paste. I’m not sure what to do with the latter yet, but baby steps. I have cooked pearl barley, 3 bean chillies, multiple kinds of soup – all hail the slow cooker – multiple types of curry, vegan gyros (the best of them all), butternut squash pancakes, pesto, dosas, baked oatmeal, quesadillas, flapjacks, udon noodles… The variety of plant-based recipes out there means that if you enjoy cooking, you can conjure up some delicious stuff. Plus cutting out dairy has the greater benefits, for me at least, of more energy, less body fat, shinier hair (that’s a new one!) and zero bloating. Also, it’s cheaper overall than buying meat and fish. Win!
Some foods have unfortunately been lost to me since getting Covid last March (change in taste and smell after an illness is called parosmia, which was in the news this week) – I can no longer stand the smell or taste of bell peppers for example, and onion and garlic was also totally out of the question for many months. Add this to my extreme hatred for the cooked mushroom, and yes, I still hate aubergines, and you would think that would limit the veggie options for dinner. But I was very wrong – I’m fairly sure this month has seen me cook the most new recipes than the whole 21 and a half years before it.
Last year, I summarised Veganuary 2020 with:
“Overall I have really enjoyed veganism – more for the effects on my body than the food itself” – Anna’s diary (27th January 2020).
This year, I will say that I didn’t miss a single thing, and feel brighter, lighter and happier for leaving meat and dairy behind. Plus my lactose intolerant bod is v pleased with the abandonment of cheese 😊 I’m definitely planning on carrying on throughout the year, which shouldn’t be too hard considering I don’t go out or see anyone ever for them to moan at me for this choice – something which happened a lot more last year. But however you spent your January, I hope it was a good one, and the start of maybe perhaps a slightly improved year? Time will tell! I will report back in 12 months time!
Here’s an updated list of the tastiest vegan things (expanding on last year’s):
- Pearl barley – not even joking this is my new favourite meal
- Linda McCartney’s vegan ¼ pounders (treat yourself, you won’t regret it)
- Sweet potato in all its voluptuous forms
- Garam masala is the best spice paste in the world, put it on your roast veg everyone
- Udon noodles
- Homemade pesto
Also shout out to these books which have provided said delicious vegan foods:
Slow Cooker Vegeterian: Katy Holder
MOB Veggie: Ben Lebus
15 Minute Vegan on a Budget: Katy Beskow
The Green Roasting Tin: Rukmini Iyer
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