The campaign to encourage people to try vegan in January is now in its fifth year, and is all set to be bigger than ever with Veganuary predicting more than 150,000 people will go vegan for the month. Last year, there were 60,000 registered participants from 172 countries, and one of them was Londoner Katie Johnson.
‘I became a vegetarian five years ago after seeing a video about how fois gras was made,’ she says. ‘I was so genuinely shocked and disgusted it got me thinking how wrong it was that we ate animals when there were so many other food options. Then I saw documentaries like Earthlings, Cowspiracy and Vegucated and I knew the same cruelty was happening in the dairy industries, and so I signed up to take part in Veganuary.’
Katie says that she is surprised at how little being vegan has changed her life! There was a transitional phase where she would use up any products she had but after that, she didn’t buy any more. Even her ‘gym-freak’ husband has slowly changed his diet, and is now fully vegan, too. Their favourite London restaurants are all in Soho and Mayfair. They are so good, they say, that they’ll appeal to vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike. Katie particularly hopes that anyone taking part in Veganuary 2018 will try them out.
Gauthier Soho – My favourite restaurant for a posh evening out with my husband! They do a great vegan option tasting menu – every bite is like a little explosion of flavour.
Sketch, Mayfair – I went to Sketch for a friend’s birthday and had a vegan tasting menu. WOW! The food was incredible, the service was so friendly and the environment is super funky. I would recommend this to everyone.
Tibits, Mayfair – An amazing range of buffet food. Their dried bean salad is literally the best thing in the world. I could eat it every day.
Gourmet Burger Kitchen (the Dippy Hippy burger) – It’s amazing being able to go out for a big plate of comfort food as a vegan!!
Mildreds, Soho – Such a brilliant range of vegetarian dishes. I always end up trying new foods and it's so good to have so many options as a vegan.
It is free to take part in Veganuary, and everyone who does so receives daily support emails that offer shopping lists, an eating out guide, nutrition advice, recipes, meal plans, and answers to common questions. They also receive social media support in a closed Facebook group where they can connect with other participants, and a free celebrity e-cookbook. There are competitions with great prizes and special offers throughout the month.
Katie enjoyed the month so much, she has decided to stay vegan and her message to people thinking about taking part in Veganuary 2018 is: ‘It’s so much easier than you think! My top tips? Plan your supermarket shops and join a vegan group on social media.’