My Meat-Free Month

Happy Easter, everyone! Easter is a fantastic time filled with Spring flowers, chocolate, and an extra day off on Easter Monday, but for some of us, it's even sweeter because Easter marks the end of Lent! Many people, even those who don't practice religion such as myself, challenge themselves to give up a certain food or group of foods for Lent, the period from Pancake Day to Easter Sunday. This year, I decided that I would give up meat (so no chicken, beef, pork, lamb etc.), as well as trying to limit the amount of other animal-based products (such as dairy) that I consumed. How did I get on? Scroll down to find out!

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Now, Lent is technically 40 days long (more than a month but the alliterative blog post title was too good to pass up, I'm SORRY), and the thing that surprised me most about taking on this challenge was that over this time, I didn't really miss eating meat at all. I thought that it would be really hard to give up my beloved chicken, but this wasn't the case. I didn't crack and eat meat at any point, which really surprised my family! I've been feeling a lot healthier on a more vegetable-heavy diet and I've been delighted by the fact that I've had far fewer breakouts, even during the dreaded PMS part of the cycle. Cooking veggie meals has also pushed me to discover a whole host of meat alternatives, which I thought I'd share with you today.

I'm a biiiig fan of the humble veggie sausage. There are so many varieties on the market and I enjoyed mixing it up and trying everything that Tesco's frozen section had to offer! My firm favourites, which sadly I didn't have a box of when I took these photos, are the Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausages. These are really tasty and packed with soya protein. Tucking in to a couple in the morning for breakfast filled me up until lunch. The Cauldron Cumberland Veggie Sausages have a stronger flavour and taste great with pasta and tomato sauce! Tesco's own brand Hot-Dog Style Sausages also hit the spot and kept me feeling full.

Part of my Lent resolution was also to limit my consumption of other animal products, leading me to try out vegan cheese, butter, and creme fraiche! VioLife vegan cheese really surprised me - it smells like cheese, has the texture of cheese, and tastes like very mild cheddar. It doesn't melt in the same way as cheese (it's made from coconut!) but I found it the ideal alternative for sandwiches! Now I don't know about you, but hot buttered toast in the morning is one of my favourite things! And I actually preferred Tesco's own brand Coconut Spread to real butter! It melted perfectly on top of my toast without leaving it feeling greasy. Deeelicious! Oatly Creme Fraiche, made from oats as the name suggests, was indistinguishable from the real thing! My Mum and I used it to make a vegan cheesecake which was truly scrumptious!

Another Oatly product that I loved was their Organic Oat Drink. If I'm not enjoying my hot buttered toast in the morning, I opt for a bowl of porridge. The oat drink makes a far nicer porridge than traditional cow's milk, in my opinion, as you don't get that claggy milk aftertaste. Meridian's Smooth Peanut Butter is another winner with me. You need to give this a good ol' mix before you spread it on your toast, but it really is worth it. The consistency is a little different to normal peanut butter but it's just as tasty and it's healthier too! Meridian make a huuuuge range of different nut butters to tickle your fancy, I've tried the almond and the seed butter too, but the peanut was definitely my favourite.

Overall, I've thoroughly enjoyed my meat-free month and I will definitely continue to limit the number of animal-based products that I consume. With so many amazing alternatives out there (which I really wasn't expecting!), I hope that one day it won't be necessary for us to eat animal products at all! I am currently looking for a good dairy-free yoghurt brand as I can't stand soya yoghurts (the texture is just blergh!), so if you have any recommendations for me, please let me know in the comments!

Did you give anything up for Lent? Have you tried any of the products I've described above? Comment down below!

Until next time,

A x