Surprising Things I Discovered After Going Vegan for a Month

Every year since 2014, some people commit to Veganuary by adopting a vegan diet for a month – in January. I would have never considered it in the past but this year I was intrigued… We all have preconceived ideas about the unknown, so why not try and see if they’re actually valid? And if it’s the most effective way to save the planet, it’s probably worth keeping an open mind. But not at all costs! Food is one of the greatest pleasures in life, I want to keep enjoying it. Sticking to what you know is always easier… So let me tell you the main 3 things I learnt after trying it myself for a month:

1. It’s actually quite easy to eat vegan every day

If your main reason for going vegan is the environment and/or the animals, then it’s not difficult to stick to it. First of all, many popular foods are already vegan (potatoes, rice, pasta, fruits…). Treats and things that are not especially good for you (like biscuits, sweets, etc) are easy to fit in a vegan diet too, if you read the labels properly. Secondly, more and more companies diversify their range to offer vegan options. Meat alternatives are everywhere nowadays (especially in big cities like London) so it’s really not difficult to avoid animal products. They’re not always the healthiest as some of them are highly processed, but they are a great way to help you while you’re transitioning. You won’t have to eat fries everyday to have a clear conscience.

Basically, if your health is not the main reason, the switch will be relatively easy. It’s when you want to have a healthy and balanced diet (as you should) that things can get a bit more complicated… Especially if you’re a fussy eater like me. But even that turned out to be a lot easier that I anticipated.

2. A vegan diet is very varied and not boring at all

If you asked me several months ago what I thought about a vegan diet, I would have said I wasn’t interested in eating lettuce everyday. I didn’t understand how you could enjoy life with “boring” food. I thought it was a sacrifice not worth doing. It was made worse by the fact I’ve always disliked vegetables (especially the green ones…).

Now I wish I did it sooner

Take it from someone who had a lot of negative opinions about veganism not so long ago. Someone who would never willingly put vegetables on their plate… I realise how ignorant I was to have never tried most of the foods available! Don’t get me wrong, it seems daunting to remove from your diet all products derived from animals. Because they’re literally everywhere. But I can honestly tell you I eat a lot more varied now than I ever have in my entire life.

I’m always looking forward to my next meal

I now feel I have almost too much choice when I prepare the food plan for the week. Before it was a lot easier to plan our meals, it was always the same thing (roast chicken, beef burger or salmon, with either rice, fries or pasta). Now I feel like I should do a food plan for the entire month, just so I can fit in everything I fancy. And my cupboards have never been so full of varied things!

In fact, I added so many things in my diet by going vegan. Things I didn’t even know existed. Things I’m now willing to try because I realised I don’t even know what it tastes like. It also forces me to play more with spices and sauces, giving amazing flavours to every meal.

3. Eating cruelty-free makes food more enjoyable

I’m not sure if it’s the fact that no animals have been killed to feed me… But something makes the whole eating experience very rewarding. You know when you feel guilty after eating too much for example? It’s usually because you know it’s not good for your body to overeat. But I wonder if it could also be because most of the time food industries control what you eat, not you. By cooking with plants I don’t experience that guilt anymore. And eating used to make me feel a bit lethargic after each meal… Like I would need all of my body’s energy just to digest it. That feeling is gone too.

Eating vegan also makes cooking more enjoyable, because I don’t have to deal with what used to put me off before: blood from a steak, nerves from chicken, fat from bacon, etc. When I cook with raw ingredients only involving plants, the smell in the kitchen feels a lot more “natural”. I eat more for less calories and feel full for longer, without any sluggish feeling afterwards. It means I have more energy and feel “lighter” at the same time. It’s a win in all aspects!

Other things I discovered:

  • Because I eat a lot more fibre than I used to, my digestive system has improved a lot (my guts are happier)
  • I haven’t missed meat at all, not once…
  • Cooking with tofu is actually quite fun, it’s such a versatile ingredient and an excellent source of proteins
  • I would pick a plant-based burger over a beef burger without hesitation
  • Cauliflower can be an amazing snack
  • Cashews are used a lot in vegan meals to give a cheesy flavour
  • We can “learn” to appreciate healthy food and even thrive for it
  • I get to be more creative with my cooking skills and it makes me feel proud when my partner enjoys a home-cooked meal – I can’t wait to invite friends & family to try
  • There is so much more to vegan food than simply tofu, cauliflower and cashews… These are my personal favourites for now, but I still have so much more to experience and discover (a month is far from being enough!)

Going forward

I considered Veganuary like a test and I passed it. So I’ve decided, I’m not going back to my previous diet! Why would I even consider eating meat again with all the benefits I discovered from a plant-based diet? Long term, the only thing I may find hard to never eat again is salmon. It’s difficult because it’s an obvious source of omega-3 and also it tastes great (I especially love salmon sushi). It’s still an animal product though! And if we don’t do anything, our oceans will be empty in the next few decades. It’s as simple as that. Making the wrong choice would be a way to contribute to this huge killing machine that is destroying our planet.

Would you not consider changing your eating habits if it meant saving the planet, the animals and yourself at the same time?

Big Girl x

We Got Engaged in Bali, in a Pre-COVID World

How I Got Engaged

You may be wondering… “Ok, she’s decided to focus on her health and change her lifestyle for good. Any particular trigger?”. Of course, the fact that unhealthy people tend to be the most likely to die from the virus is one of the reasons. I love my life and I don’t want to take the risk to shorten it. Especially if I have the power to increase my chances to live longer. But there is something else… I’m a bride-to-be and I want to look my best for the wedding! Let’s go back to how it all happened for us.

Communication is key

I would like to think this article will not interest only girls but guys as well. There is so much pressure on men’s shoulders to make it right! Let me tell you something guys, you don’t have to do it all alone. After all, are we not evolving towards an era of equality between genders? When you’re in a serious relationship, you know it’s inevitable to talk about your future together. Do you want to get married? Do you want kids? It could compromise your entire relationship if you disagree on one of these questions. Nowadays, it seems like couples don’t invest so much on relationships and tend to call it off too easily. Are you scared of being hurt or missing out by committing too soon? You better be aligned on these two points before you invest too much time in it.

We made our own rules

Now that you know that you both want to get married, it’s a matter of when to pop the question. My boyfriend (now fiancé) and I knew we were at that stage of the relationship and discussed about when would be the right moment for him to propose. It’s a formality we didn’t want to skip (he even asked my dad’s permission beforehand) but we also wanted it to be at our image.

So we agreed on the following: he picked the moment and the location (but we decided it was going to happen at some point during our 6 months travel) and we picked together the ring I was going to wear for the rest of my life. The ring is a big investment so I don’t really think it should be left to one person only to decide. You know what, it’s actually a lot of fun to compare options and agree on what to buy together. Don’t forget this symbolic ring reflects your relationship, whether you go discreet, extravagant, unique or traditional etc.

Tip for those who are planning to propose abroad: Bring a fake temporary ring with you! It’s not worth the stress to bring THE ring with you and worry about losing it!

The element of surprise

I left him to decide the date, the location, the setting etc because it’s important to leave these decisions to the one who’s proposing: it kind of maintains an element of surprise when you’re making sure you’re at least aligned on the bigger picture. So here we are, he proposed in Bali! He booked a dinner experience with a rice terrace view at sunset, we had our own waiter at our disposal and a sophisticated set menu of 5 courses… You get it, we’re both foodies and we could enjoy our meal in all intimacy! The setting was amazing and they even made a heart with flowers on the floor.

Kupu Kupu Barong Bali

Happy memories

This place is called Kupu Kupu Barong, in Ubud. It takes me back to December 2019, just before the pandemic started to affect us all in the world. I can say these memories will stay in our heads forever. Are you also engaged? If yes, please do share your experience in the comments below!

Big Girl x