vegan, veganuary

My journey as a dietitian through Veganuary

Firstly, I would like to say that I didn’t know that Veganuary was a thing. I got told by a family member on New Years Eve and I said YES!

Mistake number one: Not being prepared, equipped, educated and ready to start something drastic in your life. One thing about this lifestyle choice is that it needs thorough preparation! Some wake up, decide to be vegan and have no issues for the rest of their journey, however a lot of people do not find it so easy. I was one of them. From someone who probably ate about 40% plant based this was quite an adjustment.

Here’s why:

Meal prepping: For a lifestyle change meal prepping is rather important just to know how to eat and what to buy otherwise you will be caught hungry with very limited options for you to choose from when you are hungry. No one wants to eat a salad or carrots when they’re ravaged with hunger. This happened to me a couple of times where I was caught off guard, super hungry and almost gave in because it was the easiest option. My tips for the future is 100% meal prep so you know exactly what you’re eating, when you’re eating and lastly to form habits around those food choices.

Meal prepping your mind: Not only are you adjusting your eating but a mental shift needs to happen, I often found myself forgetting that certain products at home like biscuits and scones aren’t vegan, or for example I’d see a piece of biltong lying on the kitchen counter and my natural habit was to snack on it (which I did) but half way through remembering that, oooh yes! Veganuary! This can be quite a long-term adjustment especially when you live with people who aren’t on this journey with you.

Grocery shopping: Please don’t be like me walking into a shop thinking that recipes will naturally come to you because they WON’T. Your ingredient list needs to be planned out because most likely you’ll be making some adjustments to your usual shopping list like adding more fruits, veg and legumes! Not too much that if you don’t plan your recipes and ingredients, you’ll find yourself making more unnecessary visits to the shop like me, or you’ll find yourself with a very expensive grocery shopping list, like me again.

 

vegetables, avocado, vegan

Variation: There once was a time where, I thought wow, I can definitely do this and then there came a time where I absolutely for the life of me didn’t want to see a single legume in my life again! Honestly, I wanted to cry just thinking about having beans one more time. This is where creativity and researching your meals comes in handy, finding different ways to cook the same thing but making it taste delicious and different. My key helpers here were YouTube and I downloaded the Deliciously Ella app which was a major help in my journey. The app provides plant-based recipes from breakfast, lunch, snacks, supper you name it. Not only does it provide food content but has workout routines, podcasts to listen to or reading material if you prefer to read.

Eating Out: What is sad is realizing what little options restaurants offer to Vegans. I went out with my partner to a restaurant (I ate beforehand because I had my doubts) and when we got there, I couldn’t have a single thing on their menu except for beverages. Even the chips were cheesy chips, (granted the restaurant is called Cowfish, so my standards were quite low) My favorite place whether doing Veganuary or not is Lexi’s Eatery as they base most of their meals on plants with a few exceptions. So do your research before going out and if you are going to a restaurant that isn’t vegan friendly do make sure to eat something nutritious before getting there and only having the option of eating chips.

In a very small nutshell I would say these were my major struggles during the month of January, not to mention the added stress of worrying if I was getting enough of my essential vitamins and minerals which is 100 percent a task for you and your Dietitian to sit and guide you through.

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