Many of us set resolutions in January and one that has grown over the past couple of years is the number of people signing up to Veganuary.
This year record numbers have registered up to turn vegan for the month. As the demand for plant based products grows it has become increasingly easy to find great options. Later in the month at Rejuvenated we are even launching a plant based amino acid collagen booster, Skin Perfecting Complex.
We asked our resident food, health journalist and recipe developer, Samantha Hadadi, to share her vegan story to get better insight on how to make a vegan diet work for you. Here’s what she said:
Becoming a vegan
Early last year, I decided to make the leap and finally become vegan.
It wasn’t a decision I made overnight, although it still managed to raise some eyebrows among family and friends! I had been experimenting with cutting out meat, dairy and eggs for a while, and I suddenly realised that I was ready for the change.
Being vegan, you always get strange looks, or asked endless questions (“But how will you get your protein?” being the most common one!) But, for me, it was an easy decision to make, and my body has never felt healthier.
I’ve always cared about animal welfare and loved animals (to my meat-loving parents’ dismay, I first decided this when I was younger and switched to being vegetarian – to say they were horrified is an understatement!). And, like most people, I’d seen those horrifying images of cows and chickens cooped up in tiny pens, showing the cruel reality of large parts of the meat industry. Yet, ashamedly, I was able to forget about these images, was able to push them to the back of my mind, when it came to ordering a cheeseburger.
However, the older I grew, the more I started questioning what it was I was eating, and where it came from. In fact, it was when I was researching an article into the chicken and egg industry that I first woke up to the idea of being vegan – the thought of sexing (google it!) and the realities of chicken farming horrified me, and I decided to educate myself more.
For me, though, the real catalyst in becoming vegan was reading the book How Not to Die by Dr Michael Greger. Here, I started to learn why meat and dairy could actually be bad for our health – how many diseases have been linked with consumption of meat and animal fats. Before then, I’d always assumed (like many others) that some meat was good for me. I also read, fascinated, about how good various plants are for our health – eating a huge variety of foods (which is also good for our tums and gut health, FYI!) is something which I have done better than ever before since becoming vegan.
Realising that eating meat may not actually be doing me any favours really made me stop and think. I look after myself, I eat healthily, I exercise. Why would I be undoing this by eating foods which weren’t necessarily good for me?
Of course, it didn’t go smoothly when I first went plant-based! I tried, I really did, but my body struggled initially. I also looked and felt like a Zombie – not the best thing when I have three small children! So, I decided to rethink it and slowly dip my toes into the water. Eventually, I starting with cutting back on meat, before becoming a vegetarian and then a vegan – and, hurrah, this worked!
It still raised more than a few eyebrows among my family, and there were a few eye rolls thrown in for good measure, too! In fact, when I sat down to my Christmas dinner, there were a few questions asked.
Thankfully, though, for most of us, going vegan is no longer a big deal. In fact, thanks to Veganuary and the endless array of plant-based options in supermarkets (hello Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen!), it has never been easier to figure out how to make a vegan diet work. I also have a huge array of staple foods which I love, and which help me to thrive – Rejuvenated’s Protein Smoothies (made with pea protein) and the anti-inflammatory, vegan-friendly Omega-3 Aliol capsules are products I consume every day, along with nuts, lentils, beans, rainbows of fruit and veg, whole grains and tofu, tempeh and seitan when the feeling takes me.
If you are looking to go vegan, then go for it – my skin has never felt softer or looked clearer, and I have far more energy, too! Veganuary is a fantastic way to give it a go, or you could simply try shaking it up with a few Meat-Free Mondays instead.
Discover more of Samantha’s mouth-watering recipes on our recipes page.