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 Blandford resident, Jessie Marshall.

Jessie Marshall and Al

Jessie Marshall and Al

‘I had already been vegetarian for 32 years when my husband Al and I started to notice the rise of veganism. We knew very little about the dairy industry but decided to find out more, and so we watched films like Cowspiracy and Forks Over Knives. And we signed up for Veganuary.’

Jessie credits that month with changing their lives. ‘Al and I are jewellery designers and we sometimes work long hours and would end up crashing on the sofa at the end of the day, no matter how light or sunny it was outside. Since going vegan, we have so much more energy that we down tools and go to the beach or go kayaking. We feel fitter, healthier and calmer, and we get to eat more but stay slim! We haven’t looked back.’

Jessie and Al have found that an ethical, healthy diet need not be boring and they have listed their three favourite restaurants to help anyone thinking about taking part in Veganuary 2018 or those who would just like to try more plant-based meals.

The Mad Cucumber, Bournemouth. ‘They have a fab menu of lovely vegan food and lush vegan cakes all set in a quirky vintage style cafe. It's a really chilled place to hang out with likeminded people and eat wonderful vegan food.’

Wagamamas, Bournemouth or Dorchester. ‘We love to pop to Wagamamas who are really accommodating for vegans and have quite a few vegan options or meals that can be veganified very easily. My favourite is the Pad Thai!’ 

The Green Rocket, Bath.Even though it is about an hour’s drive from our home, we have been known to get up super early to get there in time for their amazing vegan breakfast! If we miss that though, there is a huge selection of delicious vegan meals on offer and if you have room, their Lime and Basil cheesecake is incredible!!’ 

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.

Jessie has decided to stay vegan and her message to people thinking about taking part in Veganuary 2018 is: ‘Just try it! Be open minded and try everything. Our world of food has expanded so much and we are so enjoying trying alternatives to dairy. There is such an amazing feeling when you are following a truly compassionate, cruelty-free diet.’ 

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