I’m sorry, but is it just me and a symptom of my slightly grubby warped mind, that I can’t stop thinking of vajazzle when someone says Vejanuary? If you are not familiar with the term, it is a trend encouraging people to try a vegan diet for the month of January. Vejanuary should not be confused with Vajanuary which was a whole different trend (where women were encouraged to let their lady garden grow; in the same way men were encouraged to love and nurture their facial hair in “Movember”).
These trends have left me scarred, with a head full of slightly disturbing images firmly stuck, like a dysfunctional ‘earworm’, but in this case its an ‘imageworm’. It haunts me, and because of that this post will be the last time I use the word. This post is my therapy, a way to purge the thoughts and dismiss the term to the bin of useless and slightly irritating trends and phrases along with the aforementioned #Movember and #Vajanuary.
There’s nothing wrong with the meatless January idea in principle, except that it seems the minute you say to someone diet , dry month, vegan month, they automatically want to rebel (or is that just me?). I just think there’s something inherently wrong in going for extreme denial and setting ourselves up for failure. I see so many people posting on twitter about how they’ve already failed at #Vejanuary that it seems as though the failure is part of the story. Maybe that’s the whole point, to see how many days you can last and who caves in and has a burger first. I just don’t get it.
I remember embarking on a week-long ‘detox’ with my dad once, when I still lived with the parents. Three days weaning off all toxin filled stuff, three days of raw food, toxin free, clean eating, then two days of ‘re-orientation’. This was in the days before all the fancy ingredients on the market, so by day two of no caffeine I was feeling distinctly disoriented, both of us suffering from raging headaches. On the fifth day I came downstairs during the night to find my dad with his head in the fridge, stuffing his face with cheese.
I don’t hate the vegan / vegetarian concept either; I know our food is filled with lots of nastiness and that eating less meat is much better for our health, I know its hypocritical to say you love animals and then eat farmed meat where animal welfare standards are poor and I know that the meat trade is inextricably linked to global warming, but I just hate trends. And if it’s a trend, that is exactly what it is. Trends come and go. This is something that should be an incremental behaviour change, taken slowly and with some thought, so that it doesn’t come as a shock to the system, but as a gradual process of modification. Things don’t always have to be all or nothing.
So what’s my advice then? Here are a few tips to follow if you want to make changes to your diet that are sustainable and will not bring about immediate failure.
- Don’t have unrealistic expectations: If you are a devout meat-eater, going vegan for a month is unlikely to happen isn’t it? If your work takes you to umpteen dinners or parties, the chance of not having a drop of wine with dinner when you are embarking on a dry month is probably slim isn’t it?
- Plan: Any major change takes planning. If you are intent on going vegan, do a bit of research first. Do a good shop so you have enough snacks, fruit, veg etc to take to work with you. Lets face it, trying to do this on a whim is never going to end well.
- Give yourself the best start: Clear out the remnants of Christmas. Get rid of those ends of cheese lurking in the fridge and replace them with healthy snacks.
- Modify: If going vegan is a totally unrealistic goal, then set yourself something that is achievable. Try a vegetarian diet, its much easier, or go vegan half the week, or just cut down on the meat.
- It’s also going to be hard if you are the kind of person who dislikes planning ahead and is somewhat chaotic. Take it slowly so small changes become part of your routine and life style.
- If you are 100% determined to try the vegan diet be prepared to be inventive, to cook more creatively and try different things. This will not work if you are a meat and two veg kind of guy or girl and hate cooking. You can get help. There is even a website dedicated to the dreaded veganuary fad with loads of vegan recipes.
So there you have it. Now I’m off to eat my vegan roast dinner (without roast potatoes, my January thing is to lay off the carbs)…