Along with an estimated 300,000 people I’ve taken the decision to try veganism for the month of January. I’ve surprised myself; not because I’m an out and out omnivore but, well, because it just seems like a bit of bother!
So why? More and more of our Vacherin customers are turning to healthy diets, are demanding fantastic coffee, want their meals customised to their needs and ever-increasing numbers are making the switch to plant-based diets. I eat healthily (most of the time), am fanatical about coffee and like to choose my meals my way. But I’ve never gone meat-free for any length of time and my experience of vegan food is pretty limited. As a caterer, putting myself in our customers’ shoes – or sitting at their dining table - has huge advantages. I oversee sales and marketing at Vacherin so for me, this taste of veganism makes perfect sense.
There are other reasons too. The health benefits of veganism are widely reported: Healthline tells us that a vegan diet is richer in certain nutrients, it appears to lower blood sugar levels and improve kidney function, it may protect against certain cancers and it’s linked to a lower risk of heart disease. And I can’t deny that the prospect of increased energy and reversing the weighty effects of the Christmas revelling is a huge persuader for ditching meat and dairy.
I’m curious to see if it is indeed a hassle to shop, cook and eat out and I want to find out if vegans get a raw deal when it comes to plant-based substitutes.
With a house full of boys (I’m outnumbered 5-1) I wonder how they’ll take to a change of menu? I certainly don’t plan to cook separate meals for them and for me but I won’t enforce Veganuary on them either and will add animal products to some of their dishes. However, our flavours will be different by the very nature of what I’m about to embark on but that’s no bad thing. We love to cook and eat together but like many households, we sometimes get into a rut of cooking the same old tried and tested dishes so I’m looking forward to shaking things up a little with new flavours and ingredients.
And finally, the planet has played its part on me choosing to give Veganuary a go. Yeshna Mistry, who is all-things CSR at Vacherin offered us some stats of the carbon footprint of meat vs plants – the comparison is truly alarming. For example, beef produces up to 105kg of greenhouse gases per 100g of meat, while tofu produces less than 3.5kg.
Back to all those boys; they’re fourteen and under – what will their future look like if I don’t play my part in acting on the things within my control?
So I’ve signed up to www.veganuary.com and I’m in. I’ll be tweeting about my experience, the recipes I come across and hopefully how full of beans I’m feeling (literally!) And will I be giving Dry January a go? Not this time. As we say to our customers, it’s all about balance!
Watch this space.