Going vegan and running on real food

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Tanya decided to embrace veganuary as her first challenge of the year. But how did she get on, and did it affect her training? Here is her blog.

Why Veganuary? 

Veganuary has been my first challenge of 2018. I have considered giving it a go for a while so this was the perfect opportunity to try it. My housemate was up for the challenge too, so we both committed to eating no animal products for the whole of January - so much easier when you have someone to help and support you along the way. 

I have been a pescatarian - no meat but you eat fish - for 14 years, and a vegetarian for seven months, so vegan was the next step to take.

People often ask why I don't eat meat. The consumption of meat is something I don’t actually disagree with in itself, but what I do disagree with is the way in which our meat and fish industries have become so large and focused on money that animal welfare has been forgotten… I feel a rant coming so I’ll stop there! There is also a lot of scientific evidence to suggest that limiting the amount of meat you eat is very beneficial for your overall health.

So, how did it go?

I thought I would really struggle with no eggs or cheese in my diet, I had already pretty much stopped having milk already so that wasn't so much of a problem. I did enjoy a pizza though, what could replace that?

The first two weeks weren’t too bad for cravings or feeling like there was nothing to eat. You just have to be very prepared and put a bit more thought into your shopping list. My stomach was a bit sore for the first two weeks which I think was my body getting rid of all the dairy in my system.

I started to feel good in the third week, certainly less bloated and my skin was clearer. I was surprised not to have missed dairy as much as I thought. Now milk tastes so strange and I have found a great alternative to eggs for breakfast.

People’s reactions have been really interesting. People said I was crazy, asking what I was going to eat, that I wouldn't have enough energy and where would I get my calcium and protein from?

Would I have enough protein for fuelling my running and doing my HIIT sessions? Yes! I have been training 5-6 times a week throughout January and I feel great - if anything I have more energy! Watch out! 

It was great to see so many shops and restaurants coming on board with Veganuary, I even got a vegan pizza at Pizza Hut with my niece - who would have thought! I can't imagine what it would have been like to have been vegan a few years ago when choices were much more limited, especially when it came to eating out. Now is a good time to go vegan!

What next?

I am going to carry on being vegan, and I can see it lasting for a few years yet. I’m happy to be vegan in both body and mind. It feels right to be aware of what I put in my body and what is right for the planet and the creatures on it.

I've found that vegan cheese is not great, avocado is a total godsend, I’ve eaten far too much falafel for one person and unsweetened soya milk is fabulous in tea – and as you'll know, tea is my favourite thing!

Advice and support

There's plenty of advice, support and recipe inspiration around if you want to try going vegan, including VeganuaryVegan Society and the Vegan Runners