It’s now been over a week since I took up the #VeganAugust challenge! This isn’t really a ‘thing’ like Veganuary – I just wanted to experiment with cutting out meat and dairy to see if I noticed any difference in my overall health. I suffer from skin breakouts on a regular basis and rather than visit the doctors for more pills to try and control it (which I have done for years), I thought I would try and figure out if it was my diet causing it.

I’m not really a big meat eater in general so I knew going veggie wouldn’t be a problem…but I do eat a lot of eggs and my weakness is cheese so eliminating these items for four weeks was always going to be a challenge!

My Vegan August month started off with a work meal at ‘Burger Theory’ – not the best choice for a vegan starting out! However, they were very accommodating and I happily munched on a Portobello mushroom burger with BBQ sauce and fries – which was actually really tasty!

The main changes I have had to make when cutting out dairy is things like milk in my tea and porridge. I’ve experimented with all sorts of dairy free alternatives this last week and I’ve found oat milk to be a winner for tea and Koko coconut milk for porridge. I’m also using Vitalite spread as a substitute for butter – meaning I can still have my late night toast sessions!

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For evening meals I haven’t really noticed much difference as I mainly follow recipes from Deliciously Ella or Madeleine Shaw – and most are vegan or can be made vegan with a slight recipe change. I’ve made homemade pesto with pasta and vegetables, roasted cauliflower and a great three bean chilli with guacamole and tortilla chips. It’s also been an eye opener finding out which products are ‘accidently vegan’ – who would have thought Oreo’s would be on the list?

I will admit – I had one lapse on Saturday night. It was my four-year anniversary dinner with Liam, which we had pre-booked weeks before. We went to a lovely little tapas place in Bristol, and as tapas is very much a ‘sharing’ meal I didn’t want to have to limit Liam to chickpeas and aubergines!

Eating out is going to be the hardest part of this challenge – but there are always options available and most restaurants are happy to adapt dishes.

I’m really looking forward to the rest of Vegan August – I’ll keep you updated on the health benefits I’ve noticed (if any) and if you have any recipes, restaurant recommendations or tips – please tweet me @alldolledupuk