A photo showing a selection of vegetables, including broccoli, carrots and tomatoes

What Veganuary taught me

Firstly, I’m not vegan, nor vegetarian. But I really enjoyed venturing into a new diet, even if it was just for January!

Here’s a few things that this month has introduced me to:

Veganuary isn’t necessarily what I first thought it was, while it’s a movement created to reduce animal product consumption by going vegan for a month. The overall aim is not to convert everyone to veganism but to encourage you to reconsider your eating habits. Flexitarianism is definitely an option, meaning you don’t necessarily have to ban meat from your diet completely – the odd dish is okay, but what’s important is that you’re reducing the amount of meat you consume.

Where can I buy vegan food?

I found a few places around campus and in town that participated in Veganuary by serving a few new plant-based dishes. If you’re looking for a light snack or a quick lunch, perhaps the most obvious place is the salad bar in the Minerva canteen. Here you can find fresh pasta, veggies and a really nice mixed bean salad. I found it to be really filling, great value for money, and the nutritious food really helped to fuel my mind into doing some productive work.

If you’re thinking about going to a restaurant and struggling to find somewhere to go with a good selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes, you could go to the chain restaurant Wagamamas, which is absolutely smashing the game at meat-free dishes. I went there the other night with my flatmates, and even though I ended up getting a meat dish, the vegan selection was amazing. My friend got the wok-fried greens to start with and she could not stop talking about how good they were. For mains, they had the standard vegan versions of popular meals, such as the Vegatsu, but what really caught our eyes was the yasai nikko curry, which looked amazing! Check out this great review of that dish:

Finally, I didn’t venture too much into the dessert side of things this month, but in the past, I’ve had some great vegan-friendly dessert in and around town (Mailbox do a great Salted Caramel and Chocolate Torte). If you’re craving something else though, my flatmate finds the dairy-free Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream to be delicious. Trust me, if she has us out at late at night trying to locate another tub when she’s in the midst of an essay-induced all-nighter, it must be good! (We can usually find it in the Tesco!)

So all in all, Veganuary taught me a lot

It showed me that meat isn’t the centre of every dish and in fact, it sometimes makes a dish feel lighter and better for a clean, fresh mind when studying. Veganuary has certainly opened my eyes to all the amazing options vegans have in Lincoln, and how tasty most of the food is, despite the stigma that may surround vegan-friendly food. Lots of franchises have also jumped on the bandwagon, with Pizza Hut doing the ‘Pepperphoni’ pizza, and Frankie and Bennies doing the ‘Calzone Vegano’. So if you feel like giving it a try, there’s certainly a platform for you to do so. And if you don’t necessarily feel like going out to eat, there are plenty of vegan and vegetarian recipes for you on BBC Good Food which look amazing.

After doing Veganuary, I intend to continue to reduce my meat consumption because it made me feel healthier. I felt less bloated after meals, I found myself feeling more awake and alert during the day, and my diet changed for the better, even if only for a month. It really has opened my eyes to different food-types and the positivities a meat-free diet can bring. You could also say it’s a win-win when you’re eating something tasty and it’s better for the environment. I hope you’re all having a great New Year, and that you give Veganuary a go for yourselves!