Along with the other 250,000 people across the world, my daughter and I pledged to give Veganuary a go this January. We had such great intentions in December and had even planned out most of our meals for the month ahead. However, when reality hit on New Year’s Day, I realised that maybe we had been a little bit naïve in thinking we could manage it full time– or at least I definitely had!
As some of you may know, my almost nine-year-old is a die-hard vegetarian and was the main driving force behind our Veganuary pledge. She has wanted to try veganism for a while now and although I fully support her beliefs, my major concern has always been whether I will be able to give her a good enough diet to ensure she is getting all her nutrients.
Before you shoot me down, YES, I totally understand that it is possible to achieve this, and I don’t question the science that tells us how many benefits there are to plant-based eating. However, the issue is whether I can give this to her – ME. And the answer is, at this moment in time, unfortunately No. I appreciate that some of you will think that it’s a lame excuse, that I should make more effort to achieve this and fully understand that it’s probably not as hard as we think it is to go plant-based. I accept all of those, I truly do.
But, for me right now, my priority is making sure she has a healthy diet. I know hand on heart, I cannot fully commit to this and I cannot let her health suffer as a result of my lack of organisation, preparation and culinary skills.
I still desperately wanted to support her beliefs and her desire to try veganism and so we have come up with a compromise. We are going to become 5:2 Vegans!
The 5:2 diet is well known globally and in its traditional format consists of eating ‘normally’ for 5 days and then significantly restricting calories on the other 2 days of the week. Those of you who follow us on social media, will know that I am not a fan of any kind of diet or restriction of food for weight loss in any form and so can be assured our 5:2 approach is in no way related to calories.
We will be simply applying the format to our diet in relation to veganism; 5 days of the week we will eat normally (which will still be vegetarian for my daughter) and 2 days of the week we will eat vegan.
Admittedly, from a completely selfish perspective, this approach means that the pressure is off for me to be able to plan and maintain a varied, vegan diet for every single meal for a WHOLE MONTH! I can manage two days per week and it gives us the opportunity to try out new dishes and build up a collection of our favourite recipes. Who knows, after a few months we might decide to take the leap and go fully vegan.
Currently it seems like there is such a polarised way of thinking when it comes to what we eat, and we want to give everyone’s diet a label. In reality, and for me, that just doesn’t work, hence why we are doing our own take on “Veganuary”.
I understand that some people will take umbrage to doing veganism anything less than 100% and that is ok. Their view is either you eat animal products, or you don’t, there is no in-between.
However, for me and my 9-year-old daughter, I believe that we are still doing our bit in terms of the environment and animals. According to the vegan calculator, if we keep the 5:2 approach up for a year we will have saved approximately 30 animals, 84 sqm of forest and 270Kg CO2. Surely, that’s better than nothing?
You can follow our journey over on Instagram and Twitter and we would love to hear from you with any tips or recipes!