Hands up if you are doing Veganuary? I am impressed with the number of people getting involved and either going completely vegan for at least a month or making substantial changes to their diet over the long term.
I don’t eat meat anyway but I have been trying to make regular and permanent changes by using vegan substitutes for dairy products and things like stock and I am barely noticing the difference.
Making the transition from eating meat and chicken to being vegetarian or vegan is so much easier these days because there are so many good quality products available.
Using meat substitutes often sparks a bit of debate but if you’re cooking for other people too, then you can make one meal without faffing about and no one misses out.
When I went vegetarian back in the 1990s there was precious little about apart from dried textured vegetable protein from the one health food shop in the town where I lived.
My motivation for going vegetarian was my opposition to intensive farming and the cruelty inflicted on animals.
Now we have a new and urgent driver in the climate crisis and that’s prompting many of us to take action. Moving to a more plant-based diet is more sustainable and one way you can help to save the planet.
I love cooking and my tomato and chickpea curry has gone down very well with my vegan friends for the past couple of years.
But I think they were getting a little bored of it – I assume that’s why they are turning up with their own packets of sandwiches anyway.
My partner came to the rescue, buying me a place on a vegan cookery course run by the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership’s Community Kitchen.
It was great fun because everyone cooked a different dish and then we all sat down together for a feast of pumpkin, apple and rosemary soup, roasted red peppers, Bangladeshi aubergine curry, cauliflower rice, pakoras and chocolate sponge. Now I have a whole new menu.
To everyone who completes Veganuary or makes a permanent change, well done! And to anyone who didn’t quite make it – don’t give up!
Councillor Nancy Platts is the Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.