01 Feb THE #31DAYS VEGAN CHALLENGE
The whole story and recipes will form one chapter in the 31days book, to be launched in January 2017
Ever since 2013, people from all over the world have been celebrating Veganuary (pronounced vee-gan-you-airy) which, like other global do-good movements (Movember and Earth Hour come to mind), aims to raise awareness to a cause or concept with a mass following, in the hope that a) the idea will spread; and b) that the small taster* will inspire the participants to practice the movement in everyday life (not just for the selected time period).
I didn’t know too much about veganism until recently. Sure, I’d heard of it, and because our one friend Dani (half of The Kitchen Thief) is a vegan, I was exposed to the ideas and recipes that were purely plant-based. I was diagnosed with a dairy allergy shortly before we left on our journey (which, given my obsession with sweet foods, I struggled to accept and sometimes ignored when we were given gelato in Italy and made waffles in Norway), but I guess in a small way I knew dairy products weren’t meant for me…and my body wasn’t scared to remind me.
Then one day, this video popped up in one of my feeds* (sorry I couldn’t find the original source), which shed some light on the farming industry and the impact it was having on the environment. In summary – animal agriculture (including any and all animal product farming) is the leading cause of the doom and gloom we fear and loath, namely global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution and animal species extinction. It’s impacting the environment more than all the global traffic, in all the major cities, combined. That’s a pretty scary thought, which got me thinking about my own consumption of meat and animal products (especially also after how I’ve been positively impacted by the wildlife we have spotted throughout our journey, particularly in Sweden, Norway and Australia).
Maybe eating a plant-based diet, in the bigger picture, makes sense?
And then the amazing guys from Werksemd and Eat in Common got in touch with us late last year (strangely very soon after watching the ‘reality-check video’, as I have now coined it,) and invited us to host one of the Veganuary events as part of a 31days challenge (and we know we love our community challenges) so naturally we said yes. The timing was truly uncanny though, that my curiosity about veganism was almost fed* with the 31days invitation. Weird.
So after a quick brainstorm (and the realization that we were still very much far from home), we decided to host a digital dinner party using Skype, inviting our friends at The Kitchen Thief to decide on the main course, and leaving the dessert up to us. Both parties (in South Africa and Austria) would cook both courses, and we’d enjoy them all together with a Skype call linking us, 8334km apart.
What followed next was a fabulous evening of vegan sweet potato curry, Chinese bread, and a rich chocolate tart with fruit compote (whose recipe I found on Oh She Glows). We wined and dined (and probably spoke a little too much about Snapchat) with the girls in Johannesburg, in what felt like a genuine dinner party.
Now, at the end of Veganuary, and at the end of my vegan experiment I am very happy to live without meat, without dairy, and if my cravings for popular cakes like Swiss Roll and Lemon Meringue and my all-time-favorite breakfast, French Toast, can be kept under control, without eggs. I can definitely see a change in my body – I feel tighter and somewhat slimmer, my digestion has improved ten-fold, my energy levels are consistently high, and I’m pretty sure my cholesterol has dropped. I feel less anxious, cleaner, lighter and somewhat proud that in my own little way, I’m trying to be the change I want to see in the world. It feels good.
Are you or have you ever thought about veganism and sticking to a plant-based diet? If yes, are there any books/blogs you’d recommend as a cool resource?
*Apologies for the underlying puns – I couldn’t help myself