Greetings! Welcome to the fourth and final installment of my vegan for one month challenge; (Sidenote: how is it February already???)

This last week was fairly dull to be quite honest. I didn’t make any new dishes, and just stuck to other meals I have made during the month. I suppose you can’t cook something new every day, and part of adjusting to a new eating lifestyle is finding dishes that work for you. This week, with work, etc. I just needed quick, easy and yummy: Pasta with avocado sauce, baked potato with beans, tofu stir fry, and crackers and hummus were my go to foods to whip up quickly. The only new thing I tried this week was alpro soya chocolate milk (remember my sweet tooth!), and it was delicious. The perfect little after dinner treat. Other than that, I was fairly boring, and just enjoyed my last week of the challenge that no longer felt like a challenge.

So, how do I rate the aul vegan lifestyle? I know you’re all hanging on the edge of your seats with excitement!

The Pros: I feel healthier. Again, I am no nutritionist nor scientist, but I’ve read enough articles about the damaging effects of consuming animal proteins to second guess them. It felt good not putting anything that came from another living body into my own living body. It feels good for the animals. I am an animal lover, and it felt good knowing that I could survive happily without any need to use animals for my benefit. I learned more about cooking than I ever would have sticking to dairy. Using new and different ingredients made me try new recipes, and spend more time cooking than I usually would, and I feel that my culinary skills have vastly improved. I was more aware of my nutrients, because I knew I was cutting out an “important” food group, I was careful about making sure I was getting all my protein, calcium, etc. more so than I used to be when I did eat dairy. I didn’t feel deprived. There are so many non-dairy alternatives around nowadays that I found replacements for most dairy staples no hassle. No curdled milk. Almond milk takes ages to go off, so it’s highly unlikely it will ever curdle on you. This won’t seem that important unless you’ve watched lumpy milk drop into your tea. If you have, then you’ll know. *shudders*

The Cons: The expense, Although nothing that I bought was majorly expensive, the extra euro on almond milk and vio life cheese adds up, especially when you are buying everything yourself. If you lived with other vegans this would obviously be less of an issue as you could share the cost, but I was not that lucky, and bought most of my own food for the month. And even if you have a lovely mother who picks up bits for you here and there, you feel bad for putting the extra expense on her then. It’s time consuming. Although I did enjoy learning loads of new recipes, they did take time to make. This can be frustrating when you’re hungry and in a rush. The way to combat this obviously is to batch make and freeze meals, but you still have to set aside time to make the batches. Eating out, especially when you’re the only vegan in your group would be a challenge. Luckily I avoided it for the most part this month, but I can imagine going to a restaurant with a group, and having only one or two options on the menu would not feel great.

All in all, I enjoyed the challenge for the month, and I’m happy I did it. My final thoughts are that the vegan lifestyle is very manageable once you have the money and time to commit, and one I will pursue when I am in my own house, in control of my own shopping, etc. I won’t label myself a strict vegan, but on an everyday basis I will stick to my non-dairy alternatives and vegan meals. I want to continue learning more about cooking, and trying new recipes. But if there’s a day when I fancy an ice cream, I’ll have it. If I’m in a restaurant and I fancy pizza, I’ll have it. For now, I’m going to be a 90% vegan, leaving myself a little wiggle room, with the end aim of being a full time vegan. Thank you for everyone who followed my weekly ramblings, and I hope they were of some sort of interest to you