20 pledges for 2020: One month into my new vegan diet, I’m feeling positive about what lies ahead – The Independent

Its 9am on New Years Day. Im lying in bed feeling refreshed after opting not to enjoy the festivities too much on the most overrated evening of the year, when suddenly it hits me: Im vegan now.

The realisation struck as soon as the 10-second countdown to midnightfinished:from this moment on there will be no more dairy or meat in my life.

Rewind 24 hours and I was, for lack of a better word, shoving anything meat-related down my throat. My mum made me her incredible lamb curry for lunch (I had two servings obviously) and dinner was KFC. Not the talked about and quite frankly disappointing new vegan range, but fully fried chicken goodness. I wanted to savour the last moments.

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Luckily, I had prepared. The intimidating feeling of cooking a type of food youve never made before wasnt there. For breakfast? Beans on toast with vegan cheese from Violife. Nice and easy.

For lunch was Oumphsmeatless kebabs with sweet potato fries and vegetables. You can taste the difference but thats not a bad thing. Theyre packed full of flavour.

My big concern, silly enough, was what would I snack on throughout the day? Fruit is good but I want chocolate, I want savoury, I want sweet. Galaxy do a really nice range of vegan chocolates, which still tastereally nice. You couldnt tell the difference.

Veganuary becomes bigger every year, but it needn't be just for Janaury as these cookbooks make it easy and accessible. Words by Stacey Smith

iStock/The Independent

Since launching her vegan YouTube channel in 2017, Rachel has gained a heap of hungry followers who lap up her simple, delicious recipes (and the dance moves that go along with them). Dishes are often one-pot, can be prepped ahead, and most include a song recommendation so you can dance along as you cook. Within these pages, youll find plenty of meals inspired by Amas Caribbean and West African roots from crispy jerk barbecue tacos or ackee saltfish with dumplings to peanut stew. Although this is really a celebration of all cultures and with vegan takes on everything from Thai green curry to creamy cashew and vegetable no-pasta lasagne, were pretty confident youll find your favourite comfort dish has been given a plant-based makeover. With most ingredients easy to obtain and meals quick to put together, this is modern cooking, for the meat-shunning millennial.

Working with a registered dietician to ensure recipes follow trusted NHS guidelines, the BOSH! boys (aka, Henry and Ian) have bought us their healthiest cookbook to date. Recognising that just because a plate of food is vegan, that doesnt necessarily mean its healthy (vegan junk food certainly exists!), this is a collection of 80 new recipes showcasing their flavoursome vegan food with a healthier focus. Along with advice on sleep, movement and relaxing, theres guidance on ensuring you get all the nutrients you need. And although the boys insist this isnt a diet book, youll find recipes to help you reduce fat, build muscle and generally be a bit healthier. So whether youre looking to up your protein intake (try the ultimate veg tacos), reduce your sugar intake with a summer-berry granola bowl or keep your calorie intake to under 500 per portion with puttanesca potato stew, you should be left feeling suitably inspired to kick start the new year.

Despite Fearne Cotton not being a fully-fledged vegan herself (or perhaps because), this book got rave reviews from our panel, with both flexitarians, meat-eaters and vegans alike. Recipes are approachable, inexpensive and perfect for the whole family, so we can see ourselves working through them all in time. The broccoli katsu curry was a particular favourite and surprisingly easy to make and for tea time well be trying our hand at her date and almond cake with caramel sauce which uses white miso paste and coconut cream to great effect.

If ever theres a time we feel the pinch, its January, with the festivities of Christmas long behind us but the credit card still to pay. Thankfully eating a plant-based diet could be the answer and in this book, youll find over 85 recipes all coming in at a frankly unbelievable 1 a portion. Our concerns that wed be living off of beans on toast were quickly alleviated as we tucked into black bean meatballs and sticky aubergine bao. Full-flavoured, quick and easy, we couldnt really ask for more.

Calling all sweet-tooths! This collection of recipes from Australian blogger Anthea Cheng is celebratory food for the keen baker. You certainly couldnt call dried rainbow pear slices convenient, quick or easy to make, however the impact they have when used to decorate her chai cake is truly show-stopping. If that all sounds a little intimidating, we found the Snack Time chapter much more manageable, with the likes of bliss balls, chocolate cups and cookies vying for attention, as well as Instagrammable breakfast bowls, beautifully presented with nut butters, granola and oats.

After 10 years of hard partying finally caught up with him, Matt decided to switch from the crazy pranks of MTVs Dirty Sanchez to fitness and is now a completely vegan endurance athlete. Believing a natural diet is key, Matts second cookbook is brimming with recipes full of veggies and largely focuses on un-processed ingredients (keeping the vegan cheese or meat-substitutes to a minimum). Some of Pritchards favourites include roasting tin laksa, sticky tofu bao buns and rhubarb and custard doughnuts. If youre yet to convince your pal's that veganism is the way forward, we reckon the Dinner with Mates chapter will convert a few of them, with all the recipes you need to create a Mexican feast, a perfect picnic, a banging BBQ or a cracking Christmas spread. All in all we found recipes really varied, with us ear-marking nearly all of them to try at once.

Lets face it, at the end of a long day the last thing any of us want to be doing whether were following a plant-based diet or not is trying to track down long lists of hard to find ingredients. This is the fourth book from the award-winning cook, writer and cookery tutor Katy Beskow and follows a similar simplified format, with each recipe requiring just five ingredients. Chapters include soups, lunches suppers, sweets and basics, with recipes beautifully laid out and gorgeous photography accompanying each one. Far from being basic, we were amazed to see we could create a beautiful Mediterranean briam (a layered courgette, potato and red onion bake from Greece) which was as delicious hot with crusty bread as it was cold for lunch the next day.

Growing up in a small town in West Bengal, India, very few people, including Romy Gills own family, ate meat regularly. Its this home-cooked vegan food of her childhood that the chef and food writer wanted to share with us through her debut cookbook Zaika meaning taste, or flavour. Theres an entire section dedicated to bread, including gram flour turmeric pancakes which are perfect with chutneys, a variety of rotis and parathas and light naan bread with nigella seeds. The Light & Breezy chapter is all about showcasing the freshest ingredients think watermelon and mint salad; while the Warming the Heart chapter is where youll find hearty comfort food such as spicy red lentil dahl. The section we most fell for though was Labours of Love for when youve got time to really get lost in the kitchen rich, creamy and so warming, we recommend the Baingan masala with baby aubergines, dill and coconut.

The debut book from award-winning blogger and food consultant Nikki Webster shares the same ethos as her blog Rebel Recipes that healthy food neednt be boring or lacking in flavour. Taking inspiration from around the globe, you could never accuse these recipes of being dull. If only we could start every day with creamy spiced coconut porridge and sticky sesame banana! Instead of relying on stale vegan ingredients and recipes this is new-school vegan cuisine for those seeking full flavours. Although despite this, recipes were easy to follow and largely uncomplicated with lots of spicy curries, pulses, flatbreads, salads, dips and pickles making an appearance. With mouth-watering photography throughout, the Cant Believe Its Vegan Desserts chapter is a particular highlight, with the likes of chocolate ganache tart, easy espresso martini pots and lemon curd and thyme tart.

While this title isnt 100 per cent vegan, half of the book is made up of plant-based recipes so we felt it was still well worth including. Acknowledging that most of us have more time to experiment in the kitchen at the weekend yet need dinner on the table pronto mid-week, Elly Pears book separates dishes accordingly. Were very keen to incorporate more Sunday night batch-cooking into our weekly routine, in order to eat better later in the week and with tray bakes, one-pot wonders and freeze-able options, this will keep us suitably inspired.

Dont be fooled by the title, every one of the 100 recipes within this book is completely vegan. The ish comes from Jack Monroes belief that if we were all to incorporate a few more plant-based meals into our diet each week, wed be better off both environmentally and financially. So you neednt be a full-time vegan to appreciate the practical, inexpensive solutions within this book. Although perhaps not the sexiest food chapter to ever be written the whole section on sandwiches was inherently helpful for midweek meal inspiration (especially when you consider the standard fillings of cheese, ham, tuna, etc obviously arent vegan). In true Jack Monroe style, we loved the no-nonsense, easy to follow recipes and believe well turn to this cookbook on a regular basis.

If youre tempted to give this vegan thing a whirl but you really dont know where to start, the 7 Day Vegan Challenge is here to help. There are three menu plans to choose from complete with shopping lists: The Easy Peasy Way (quick meals for those that dont mind repeating some dishes), For the Planners (which requires a Sunday night batch-cooking session) and Fast & Fresh (quick and simple recipes). So a typical weekday might look like, banoffee oats for breakfast, a convincing vegan take on the classic BLT sandwich for lunch and creamy satay noodles with salt and pepper fried tofu for tea.There is also a helpful Q&A intro, which aims to answer the most commonly asked questions for those just starting out including pros, cons, where you get protein from, is vegan food expensive and whether it's healthy. Many meals are freezable or can last three days or longer in the fridge, so whether you give it a go for seven days or longer is up to you.

Veganuary becomes bigger every year, but it needn't be just for Janaury as these cookbooks make it easy and accessible. Words by Stacey Smith

iStock/The Independent

Since launching her vegan YouTube channel in 2017, Rachel has gained a heap of hungry followers who lap up her simple, delicious recipes (and the dance moves that go along with them). Dishes are often one-pot, can be prepped ahead, and most include a song recommendation so you can dance along as you cook. Within these pages, youll find plenty of meals inspired by Amas Caribbean and West African roots from crispy jerk barbecue tacos or ackee saltfish with dumplings to peanut stew. Although this is really a celebration of all cultures and with vegan takes on everything from Thai green curry to creamy cashew and vegetable no-pasta lasagne, were pretty confident youll find your favourite comfort dish has been given a plant-based makeover. With most ingredients easy to obtain and meals quick to put together, this is modern cooking, for the meat-shunning millennial.

Working with a registered dietician to ensure recipes follow trusted NHS guidelines, the BOSH! boys (aka, Henry and Ian) have bought us their healthiest cookbook to date. Recognising that just because a plate of food is vegan, that doesnt necessarily mean its healthy (vegan junk food certainly exists!), this is a collection of 80 new recipes showcasing their flavoursome vegan food with a healthier focus. Along with advice on sleep, movement and relaxing, theres guidance on ensuring you get all the nutrients you need. And although the boys insist this isnt a diet book, youll find recipes to help you reduce fat, build muscle and generally be a bit healthier. So whether youre looking to up your protein intake (try the ultimate veg tacos), reduce your sugar intake with a summer-berry granola bowl or keep your calorie intake to under 500 per portion with puttanesca potato stew, you should be left feeling suitably inspired to kick start the new year.

Despite Fearne Cotton not being a fully-fledged vegan herself (or perhaps because), this book got rave reviews from our panel, with both flexitarians, meat-eaters and vegans alike. Recipes are approachable, inexpensive and perfect for the whole family, so we can see ourselves working through them all in time. The broccoli katsu curry was a particular favourite and surprisingly easy to make and for tea time well be trying our hand at her date and almond cake with caramel sauce which uses white miso paste and coconut cream to great effect.

If ever theres a time we feel the pinch, its January, with the festivities of Christmas long behind us but the credit card still to pay. Thankfully eating a plant-based diet could be the answer and in this book, youll find over 85 recipes all coming in at a frankly unbelievable 1 a portion. Our concerns that wed be living off of beans on toast were quickly alleviated as we tucked into black bean meatballs and sticky aubergine bao. Full-flavoured, quick and easy, we couldnt really ask for more.

Calling all sweet-tooths! This collection of recipes from Australian blogger Anthea Cheng is celebratory food for the keen baker. You certainly couldnt call dried rainbow pear slices convenient, quick or easy to make, however the impact they have when used to decorate her chai cake is truly show-stopping. If that all sounds a little intimidating, we found the Snack Time chapter much more manageable, with the likes of bliss balls, chocolate cups and cookies vying for attention, as well as Instagrammable breakfast bowls, beautifully presented with nut butters, granola and oats.

After 10 years of hard partying finally caught up with him, Matt decided to switch from the crazy pranks of MTVs Dirty Sanchez to fitness and is now a completely vegan endurance athlete. Believing a natural diet is key, Matts second cookbook is brimming with recipes full of veggies and largely focuses on un-processed ingredients (keeping the vegan cheese or meat-substitutes to a minimum). Some of Pritchards favourites include roasting tin laksa, sticky tofu bao buns and rhubarb and custard doughnuts. If youre yet to convince your pal's that veganism is the way forward, we reckon the Dinner with Mates chapter will convert a few of them, with all the recipes you need to create a Mexican feast, a perfect picnic, a banging BBQ or a cracking Christmas spread. All in all we found recipes really varied, with us ear-marking nearly all of them to try at once.

Lets face it, at the end of a long day the last thing any of us want to be doing whether were following a plant-based diet or not is trying to track down long lists of hard to find ingredients. This is the fourth book from the award-winning cook, writer and cookery tutor Katy Beskow and follows a similar simplified format, with each recipe requiring just five ingredients. Chapters include soups, lunches suppers, sweets and basics, with recipes beautifully laid out and gorgeous photography accompanying each one. Far from being basic, we were amazed to see we could create a beautiful Mediterranean briam (a layered courgette, potato and red onion bake from Greece) which was as delicious hot with crusty bread as it was cold for lunch the next day.

Growing up in a small town in West Bengal, India, very few people, including Romy Gills own family, ate meat regularly. Its this home-cooked vegan food of her childhood that the chef and food writer wanted to share with us through her debut cookbook Zaika meaning taste, or flavour. Theres an entire section dedicated to bread, including gram flour turmeric pancakes which are perfect with chutneys, a variety of rotis and parathas and light naan bread with nigella seeds. The Light & Breezy chapter is all about showcasing the freshest ingredients think watermelon and mint salad; while the Warming the Heart chapter is where youll find hearty comfort food such as spicy red lentil dahl. The section we most fell for though was Labours of Love for when youve got time to really get lost in the kitchen rich, creamy and so warming, we recommend the Baingan masala with baby aubergines, dill and coconut.

The debut book from award-winning blogger and food consultant Nikki Webster shares the same ethos as her blog Rebel Recipes that healthy food neednt be boring or lacking in flavour. Taking inspiration from around the globe, you could never accuse these recipes of being dull. If only we could start every day with creamy spiced coconut porridge and sticky sesame banana! Instead of relying on stale vegan ingredients and recipes this is new-school vegan cuisine for those seeking full flavours. Although despite this, recipes were easy to follow and largely uncomplicated with lots of spicy curries, pulses, flatbreads, salads, dips and pickles making an appearance. With mouth-watering photography throughout, the Cant Believe Its Vegan Desserts chapter is a particular highlight, with the likes of chocolate ganache tart, easy espresso martini pots and lemon curd and thyme tart.

While this title isnt 100 per cent vegan, half of the book is made up of plant-based recipes so we felt it was still well worth including. Acknowledging that most of us have more time to experiment in the kitchen at the weekend yet need dinner on the table pronto mid-week, Elly Pears book separates dishes accordingly. Were very keen to incorporate more Sunday night batch-cooking into our weekly routine, in order to eat better later in the week and with tray bakes, one-pot wonders and freeze-able options, this will keep us suitably inspired.

Dont be fooled by the title, every one of the 100 recipes within this book is completely vegan. The ish comes from Jack Monroes belief that if we were all to incorporate a few more plant-based meals into our diet each week, wed be better off both environmentally and financially. So you neednt be a full-time vegan to appreciate the practical, inexpensive solutions within this book. Although perhaps not the sexiest food chapter to ever be written the whole section on sandwiches was inherently helpful for midweek meal inspiration (especially when you consider the standard fillings of cheese, ham, tuna, etc obviously arent vegan). In true Jack Monroe style, we loved the no-nonsense, easy to follow recipes and believe well turn to this cookbook on a regular basis.

If youre tempted to give this vegan thing a whirl but you really dont know where to start, the 7 Day Vegan Challenge is here to help. There are three menu plans to choose from complete with shopping lists: The Easy Peasy Way (quick meals for those that dont mind repeating some dishes), For the Planners (which requires a Sunday night batch-cooking session) and Fast & Fresh (quick and simple recipes). So a typical weekday might look like, banoffee oats for breakfast, a convincing vegan take on the classic BLT sandwich for lunch and creamy satay noodles with salt and pepper fried tofu for tea.There is also a helpful Q&A intro, which aims to answer the most commonly asked questions for those just starting out including pros, cons, where you get protein from, is vegan food expensive and whether it's healthy. Many meals are freezable or can last three days or longer in the fridge, so whether you give it a go for seven days or longer is up to you.

Then it was on to dinner;I was looking forward to this. I had a range of ready-made food available to me from Allplants, a subscription service thatsends you ready-made meals with lots of vegan versions of popular cuisines.

Theres Mexican, Chinese, some classic British food and a whole host of options to take your pick from. Luckily too, theyreboth healthy and affordable boxes start from 4.99 and theres always a sale or deal on to get yourself a bargain. If they dont take your fancy then plenty of other places do similar subscription-style packages too, Abel & Cole and Greedy Lama are both recommended by us.

Its not just the food that Im looking to change, either. I want to incorporate other things into my daily life:cruelty-free beauty products included (I have a vigorous skincare routine)which my fellow pledger Jessica Jones is committing her 2020 to and even dishwasher and washing machine tablets. Im hoping to find some good ones over time so I can completely erase my use of the typical shelf items you see.

One month down the line, I feel good. Ive kept up my running every week, Im losing weight at a healthy rate and barone weekend when my housemates ordered a Dominos and I was sat there eating an aubergine tagine I havent missed any foods or come close to a slip-up. Yet.

Read more from the original source:
20 pledges for 2020: One month into my new vegan diet, I'm feeling positive about what lies ahead - The Independent

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