I’ve combined a few of my January changes into one post, as they all kind of fit in together.
Take Dry January for instance. I’m not a huge drinker, so it’s not a ridiculously hard challenge (mostly I just miss not having a glass of wine with dinner at the weekend). I just drank more, and more often, over December than I usually do and saw Dry January as a chance to have a bit of a reset. My bestie is also doing it, as she’s being healthy to lose a bit of weight for her wedding in a few months, so we have each other for support (from afar, but there’s always Whatsapp.). I’m not going to lie, despite not being a huge drinker I can’t wait to have a glass of wine once January’s over! I’m seeing friends this weekend as well, so this Saturday evening will probably be a good test of my resolve.
As far as going veggie for January is concerned, this was a bit of a whim decision. I’ve been going off meat a bit and just not really fancying it (at least preferring vegetables), so going veggie for a short time was really just a way of forcing myself to think outside the box a bit and try some new recipes. If I hadn’t decided to do this, I probably would still have had meat just because it was easy, and I’d be able to continue cooking the same things I always do. By actually forcing myself to cook vegetarian food, I’m trying different meals and new combinations of foods, and finding things I really enjoy. At the end of January I’ll probably start eating meat again, but I doubt I’ll eat much of it. I think I’m most likely to eat vegetarian food 80-90% of the time, just because I prefer it.
I’m definitely not trying to say that going vegetarian is a ‘good idea’ or that everyone should try it. I don’t have a problem with meat (although I am trying to be conscious about animal welfare) and I definitely don’t think it’s unhealthy, as long as it’s proper meat, and not processed crap. For me, being vegetarian is all about finding meals that I enjoy.
What I would really recommend though is that everyone eats more vegetables! Please note that I’m not a nutritionist, but the science is firmly in favour of how good veggies are for you. They are full of vital vitamins, minerals and fibre, and they are delicious as well.
I can’t really remember ever being one of those kids that refuses to eat their vegetables, but I’ve certainly become a much bigger fan of them in the past few years. Partly I’ve focussed more on eating healthily, but I’ve also been much better at trying out new recipes and different veggies. I suppose there’s a much wider range of veg available now than when I was a child. Although I did finally find a vegetable I don’t like at all – fennel. I can’t stand the aniseed taste!
One way of getting more veg into your diet (and bear with me, because this is going to sound really weird) is eating them at breakfast. I started doing this at the beginning of 2016, and I can’t imagine not doing it now. It started after reading the I Quit Sugar For Life book, by Sarah Wilson. My ‘quitting’ sugar story is for another post, but one thing she recommended was eating veg at every meal, including breakfast.
Shortly after I’d read this, I was on a business trip in China, where breakfast is just another meal – you get noodles, soup, rice, and loads of other things we wouldn’t consider breakfast food in the UK – including vegetables. During the trip I got into the habit of eating veg at breakfast, and found I really enjoyed it. I’ve managed to keep it going most of the time. Obviously if I’m staying with family or friends I don’t insist of vegetables for breakfast, but I always try to eat some at home. I usually cook enough for a few days at once then eat them cold (I know, I’m super weird) or heat them up in the microwave. Usually lots of greens – broccoli, dwarf beans, kale – whatever I fancy.
I find that the veg in the morning really helps with my digestion. Once I’ve eaten my veg, I usually have a large bowlful of thick porridge (don’t worry, I don’t just exist on veg).
Whether you start eating veg for breakfast or not, I really, really recommend trying a few new recipes, with a few new ingredients – finding new meals you enjoy and look forward to is what brings a lot of pleasure to eating. And let’s face it, food is to be enjoyed.