If you asked my friends to describe my food preferences I’m pretty sure that most of them would call me carnivorous. I’ve even eaten at the famous all you can eat meat buffet ‘Carnivore’ in Nairobi for goodness sake (after the game meat ban I hasten to add). But that’s not why I hate Veganuary.
Growing up I was a terribly fussy eater. Looking back on it now I realise why I was such a teenage bean pole and continue to wonder why my mother didn’t lose her sh*t with me more frequently. I hated vegetables with a passion and would retch at just the sight of a piece of cooked carrot. It’s a small miracle I wasn’t deficient in, well, everything. As I grew up and went to university I tried new foods on my own terms. Slowly but surely I began introducing a variety of foods into my diet. I’m still not keen on a lot of fruit but I’m pretty good with veggies, and I no longer fear being invited to dinner. It’s been years since I’ve considered myself a fussy eater, but I’m still very much carnivorous by nature. But that’s not why I hate Veganuary.
Imagine my husband’s surprise, then, when I bought a vegetarian tray bake cookbook I was drawn to whilst browsing a bookshop one day. I dipped my toe in the proverbial water, tried a few vegetarian and vegan recipes and loved them. After watching The Game Changers my husband was converted too (although much of the science is refuted here), as we tried more and more recipes from this fabulous book. Now I haven’t forgotten my carnivorous roots, personal or evolutionary, but I do try to eat a few vegetarian or vegan recipes each week. Not just because I enjoy the taste but also because I’m conscious of the impact of meat rearing on the environment and poor animal husbandry and slaughter practices.
So why do I hate Veganuary? Surely I should be an avid supporter? I can’t get over it, I just think it’s a sh*t word. They’ve tried to blend vegan and January to make a new word: Veganuary. Now I love a good portmanteau but how are you even meant to pronounce the darned word? It took me at least three attempts to make it work, but it hardly rolls off the tongue now does it. Now I’m more than happy to join the vegang (excellent word play hello DODO) and hop on board the ginuary train (thank you for that gem The Gin Stall) but I’m afraid Veganuary is relegated to the bottom of the portmanteau pile to lie discarded with the like of murse (man-purse) and phablet (phone-tablet)…