Vegan cake at the Fox Cafe in Nottingham...

Vegans are the marmite of 2019 – you either love them or you hate them. When the controversy of the Greggs sausage roll crumbled into the news cycle, it was clear how many people disliked the diet.

But clearly being vegan is appetising to a lot of people, with over 250,000 people across the world signing up to take part in Veganuary.

I’ve been a vegetarian since I was seven, so when I came to Veganuary last year I just chopped out all the dairy and kept my diet relatively the same. This unfortunately led to me become extremely tired because I wasn’t getting the right nutrients. One reduced macaroni and cheese later, and I cracked.

This year was easy right from the get-go. A sponsored post (thanks creepy Facebook) directed me to sign up to daily Veganuary emails. The local Aldi had three whole shelves stacked with tofu, jackfruit, and other ingredients for success. Even walking down the high street of Nottingham, loads of restaurants had signage for Veganuary menus. Nowhere was taunting me with the temptation of cheese.

The official Veganuary emails really helped with lots of helpful hints and tips about shopping and cooking vegan foods. Even beyond the allocated shelf, there were lots of things in the supermarket that matched the Veganuary shopping list. Besides the hipster quinoa, the list directed towards nut butters and vegetables like mushrooms and sweet potatoes to get proteins and vitamins without having to think too much. Shops like Asda and Holland and Barrett also stock vegan cheese. Obviously it’s not as good as the real thing, but for what it is it does the job.

Fancy a tart?

Accounts on social media such as Accidentally Vegan were also handy. The revelation that jam tarts, hobnobs and Oreos are all vegan was a moment of celebration for my naughty treat-deprived stomach. My sweet tooth is ridiculous, and my flat homemade vegan brownies just weren’t cutting the mustard. Going on a late-night snack shop became even more fun, rejoicing if a pack of biccies wasn’t labelled as containing milk or eggs.

Nottingham is quite a forward-thinking city, so it was pleasing to see this year that chains and independents alike were providing vegan options. For a slap-up breakfast, The Avenues Cafe in Sneinton does a great plate for just £4.50 including tea or coffee. If you want a main meal, Wagamamas has an extensive menu of noodles and katsu curries, which is excellent if you’re eating out or having a Deliveroo kind of night.

The amount of vegan recipes online has also increased. This encouraged me to cook more than usual, and allowed me to be creative with my cooking as well. BBQ jackfruit burgers, vegan mac and cheese, and even a full Sunday roast were all on the menu. My wallet and my tastebuds were both grateful for this.

Being a vegan is definitely easier than ever before. Veganuary was a pleasure rather than a torture to do this year, thanks to tons of resources online and offline. I feel much better for doing it, as I have more energy somehow and feel less bloated after eating. I will do my very best to keep vegan food in my diet, but I’m not ready to become a full-time vegan. You can take the cheese out of a girl, but you can’t take the cheese off a girl.

  • Over 79,000 omnivores took part in Veganuary last year
  • Out of all the participants, 84% were female
  • 43% of participants joined in for animal welfare reasons, while 39% joined in for health reasons
  • 25-34 year olds were the largest age group to participate