I’ve been vegetarian for over two years now, and there have been times when it’s been really, really hard. The waft of KFC from my fiancé’s greasy fingers has regularly brought me to my knees, pleading with my conscience to let me have “just one KFC! Just one!”
Thankfully, I’ve managed to withstand the temptation – and I say this because I would beat myself into a pulp if I did, over anything else.
That said, vegetarian and vegan ranges have only expanded these past two years and there are some amazing alternatives that make my diet a lot easier. If you’re taking part in Veganuary this year, take a look at these bad boys.
This entirely depends on what you’re looking for. In 2021, there are so many vegan products covering food, health, beauty and more. Luckily for you, I’ve split my favourites into their different categories (and according to their most frequently asked questions!)
Pre-vegetarianism, I was a ravenous animal for roast dinners. Every Sunday I looked forward to those hearty meals, and when I went veggie, nut roasts fell SERIOUSLY short of the mark. I couldn’t get on board, and I still won’t, so I gave them up for good.
Veggie roasts have always looked a bit terrifying to me, but I recently tried ASDA’s and it is bloody incredible. My amazing friend, Bett, actually got her boyfriend to go to ASDA and drop one off to us when it was removed from our Christmas food delivery. We couldn’t get to the shops due to being ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’, so they definitely saved our Tier 4 Christmas.
Vegan bacon freaked me out right from the start. It didn’t make sense to me – how can they possibly recreate this? I tried some at a local café (back in the olden times when we were allowed to go out and eat at places without fearing for our lives) and so when M&S introduced No Pork Streaky Bacon to their Plant Kitchen range, I gave it a go. It. Is. Unbelievable. So tasty, no weird texture or taste, it’s just great.
I can’t remember how long I’ve been drinking oat milk for, but it’s been years. There are so many I’ve tried, including Oatly, Alpro, and various supermarket brands, but in a post-pandemic world, I’ve settled with Minor Figures. Why? First, because they offer a reliable monthly subscription, but also because their milk works really well with hot drinks.
I can’t count the amount of times I’ve watched tea or coffee curdle before my eyes as I pour a milk alternative into it, but with Minor Figures, this has never been an issue. Yay!
My introduction to vegetarianism was via Quorn meat free pieces, but they can get pretty old pretty quickly. If you are looking for something a bit more exciting, Naked Glory’s Roast Tenderstrips are the way to go. They have a super meaty texture and remain my favourite meat alternative for using in meals like curry, pasta or stir fry.
For beginner vegans, I’d suggest trying something that’s an easy swap of what you’d normally have. A quick and easy meal that offers a direct substitute is the M&S Plant Kitchen No Chicken Kiev. I genuinely can’t tell the difference between this and an actual chicken kiev (that being said, I haven’t had chicken in over 2 years!) and it’s a simple thing you can whack in the oven.
When you’re going meat-free, it’s easy to forget most sweets actually aren’t vegetarian, let alone vegan. I’m a major sweet tooth, so I understand how catastrophic this may be. Top tip watch out for gelatine – it’s the sneaky ingredient made of meat leftovers that makes its way into sweets like Haribo. Sigh.
That said, there are plenty vegan sweets out there in 2021. My favourite brand has to be Candy Kittens, and you can order them online or find them in most big supermarkets. All their flavours are bangers, but Eton Mess (in my opinion) is probably the best.
It’s great to say that more and more brands are becoming cruelty-free and vegan. I only buy cruelty-free beauty products (but mistakes sometimes do crop up, frustratingly) and these are my favourite vegan ones:
Struggling to sleep, or having a bit of an anxious time? Spray a bit of this on your pillow for soothing sleep.
Living with the amount of illnesses I do, I need all the help I can get. I have intense muscle aches pretty much every day, and Epsom Salts really help me to soak and reset.
On the rare occasion I have the energy to dry my hair, Percy & Reed’s Wonder Balm is one of my favourite products to use before applying any heat.
This palette is one of my favourites, and a staple palette for anyone who likes a quick and easy makeup look.
Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products, and what you think about my favourites. In the meantime, make sure you take a look at my last two blogs, How I’ll Be Trying To Beat The January Blues and We Can Save Lives By Discussing Men’s Mental Health.