Are you taking part in the phenomenon this year? Veganuary is a pledge taken by people worldwide to commit to a vegan lifestyle for one month. I did my first one in 2014 and it was a big turning point in becoming more and more plant-based in my life. I still wouldn’t describe myself as 100% vegan, as I have the odd slip, but I love the idea of concentrating my mind on it for a month and helping myself to realign.
What makes Veganuary special is that there are loads of resources to help make the transition, such as the super helpful ‘Vegan Starter Kit‘, and there are hundreds of thousands of people all taking part at the same time, so you have a ready-made community for support – just search the hashtag #veganuary for even more resources and information.
Just a side note that I’d like to talk about – I haven’t had as much time as I used to to work on the blog recently and I wanted to let you know why. Until a few months ago, I worked as a consultant 4 days a week and worked Fridays on the blog – I would get up at my usual weekday time, get dressed and sit at my desk working for 8 hours. I was really quite strict about it and would get loads done. Then, an opportunity came up for me to work for a company whose values *totally* aligned with my own, with a fantastic job (I can’t talk about them due to their social media policy, but they are veggie/vegan and an excellent, growing company to be a part of). But… it’s 5 days a week working. The opportunity has been too good to not be a part of, but it does mean Mum has to pick up a little more of the slack for the blog, which I really appreciate.
I’m also doing a post-grad certificate in Executive Coaching, which takes up a lot of my evenings, but once that is finished at the end of this month, I will have more time to keep up with things. I love connecting with people through the blog community so I definitely won’t be losing that any time soon – I just need to get smarter with my work time and training. I know that loads of you hold down full time jobs, blogging and add on marathon training etc on top, so any tips are very much appreciated!
So, I am going to take advantage of this lovely Bank Holiday to write a post for Veganuary of some of my favourite veggie and vegan books, and to have a bit of a Q&A below. We often get emails and tweets asking about how to eat more plant based food, and it’s a pity that only one person ever gets the answer, so we’d love to open it up. We’re not doctors (well, mum is a doctor, but her PhD won’t be much medical help) or nutritionists, but we have a whole heap of veggie experience that we’d love to help out with if possible. Also, feel free to answer each others’ questions below if you’ve got some experience too!
There are TONS of vegan and veggie books out there – these are just the ones that I turn to religiously. I have a whole bookshelf full of cookbooks in my dining room, and a tiny shelf in the kitchen – these are The Chosen Ones that live 100% of the time in the kitchen, as I can’t be without them…
What’s great about it: Rather than being your traditional cookbooks with ‘starters’, ‘mains’ and ‘desserts’, this book is sorted into chapters by vegetable type. Since I stopped working away consulting, my husband and I have started getting an organic fruit and veg box delivered by Riverford. This book is a total lifesaver when you get something all muddy and knobbly and think “Is this a celeriac? and if it IS a celeriac, what the hell do I do with it?” I’d highly recommend both the boxes and the book.
My favourite recipe: Celeriac smash (now that I know what a celeriac looks like)
What’s great about it: One of the most intimidating things about switching to a plant-based diet is the idea that you’ll never be able to socialise properly again. This book lets you know that you can now party even harder, and with tastier food. Full of gorgeous recipes that you can take to a party and have nobody even know they’re vegan, and it even has some bonus cocktail recipes that I can honestly say are A+.
My favourite recipe: Rosemary Caramel Corn
What’s great about it: Charlotte and Bailey live and breathe this lifestyle – they run the very successful street food van ‘Wholefood Heaven’, which makes the most delicious, fortifying buddha bowls. I saw them at Wilderness festival one year and had a total fangirl moment of “I’m obsessed with your book”, while they tried to hurry me along because I had about 50 starving festival-goers waiting behind me in line for food. The book is as it says on the tin – full of fresh, light vegan recipes that prove plant based is anything but boring.
My favourite recipe: Tortilla Soup
The Book: The World of the Happy Pear
What’s great about it: What’s not to love about the Happy Pear lads? They truly have a mission to change the world with fresh veg, one person at a time. Their greengrocer/cafe in Greystones, near Dublin has become legendary in Ireland and the word is gradually spreading elsewhere, through their exposure on Jamie’s Food Tube and their great social media presence. My dad and his partner Sarah live in Dublin and so were early onto the Happy Pear train, buying me their first book a couple of years ago. I’ve absolutely adored that one, and read it cover to cover, and was so pleased to receive this second one this Christmas. Their recipes are unfussy, but fortifying and have a lot of world influences, as the chefs in the cafe are from all over the world. I’d love to visit the cafe next time I go see my Dad, but I doubt we’d be able to get a table!
My favourite recipe: Anto’s Beast Bowl
What’s great about it: Like the Happy Pear, Prashad is another local legend. Based in West Yorkshire, the team at Prashad have been quietly building up a huge following at their delicious, veggie Gujarati restaurant. They attracted the interest of Gordon Ramsey, and came lead runner-up as Best Restaurant a few years ago. This book has encouraged me to buy ingredients I would never have tried before (asafoetida and okra, anyone?) and have really upped my curry game in the kitchen.
My favourite recipe: Pea and Cauliflower Curry
Are you taking part in Veganuary? Or are you just trying to eat less meat? Do you have any questions for us? From stocking your pantry, where to eat out, how to eat to marathon train, what foods to bring to dinner parties – we’re your women! Drop us a note below and we’ll try our best to answer.