I'm About To Go Vegan For A Month Basically On A Dare

The Daily Meal's overeager copy editor accepted our editor-in-chief's suggestion that he spend the month of January eating an entirely plant-based diet — observing, that is, so-called "Veganuary." He'll be checking in weekly with an update on his suffering, er, progress, along with tips and tricks for any readers intrepid enough to try #veganuary for themselves.

If you're anything like me, you probably see the traditional New Year's resolution as basically an annual opportunity to suffer your first major failure of the year. After all, if the thing you've resolved to do was simple or easy, you'd have gone ahead and done it in September. Most of my New Year's resolutions end up cast by the wayside well before February.

But this year's resolution might be different, because I'm obligated to keep it up for work — or else be forced to describe for The Daily Meal's audience precisely how and why I fell off the wagon. I've agreed to take up a vegan diet for the entire month of January and tell you all about it — and share any tips, tricks, or hilarious pratfalls I encounter along the way.

Why am I doing this? Well, because our social media coordinator brought it up at a meeting after noticing the #veganuary hashtag, and our editor-in-chief looked for a willing guinea pig. Veganuary is the name of a U.K.-based nonprofit that aims to get people to try being vegan just for the month of January — in hopes that, for some at least, it will stick. They've ramped up their publicity efforts in the U.S. and worldwide in advance of 2018, and we're imagining #veganuary might at least kinda be a thing on this side of the pond this year.

Why am I doing this? Well, mostly because we needed a volunteer and no one else was even slightly willing. The Daily Meal's staff cares a lot about food, and for some of my epicure colleagues, the idea of going any extended period of time without some of their favorites is downright traumatic — and it's especially hard for them here in New York City, home to some of the nation's best steakhouses, best sushi, best hot dogs, and more. For others, the idea of any restrictive diet raises concerns about everything from nutrition to mental health.

I'm personally a little less dedicated to enjoying the finer things, and I've always taken a fairly cavalier approach to my health. I've also got a soft spot for the sorts of animal rights and environmental concerns that organizations like Veganuary say can be addressed with a vegan diet; I currently eat a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, and I've even dabbled in veganism at times before.

So I'm pretty confident I can do this. Sure, it helps that New York is also home to a slew of hyper-trendy vegan eateries, some of which I do intend to explore — but that sort of A-list movie-star veganism is not within my budget. Instead, I'll need to be creative with my own cooking and meal prep, I'll need to be savvy about seeking out vegan options at delis and chains, and I'll need to take advantage of the many, many ready-made products that are "accidentally" vegan (i.e., those that aren't specifically marketed as vegan but simply happen not to include animal products).

Throughout the month I'll be sharing my experiences as well as any useful tricks I pick up, and I'll be examining the pros and cons of the vegan diet from an ecological, nutritional, and practical perspective in the process.

I'd love for some of our readers to give #veganuary a shot as well, and The Daily Meal would welcome your thoughts and contributions. (I'll be posting updates to our Facebook and Instagram accounts, so comment away!) For those of you who just want to follow along to see if it seems like something you should try, I'll do my best to be encouraging; for those of you who just want to watch someone suffer, I'll do my best to be entertaining.

For the next several days, I'll be gorging on cheese and eggs and trying to clear out any tempting items from my pantry — and maybe enjoying one last slice of one of America's 101 best pizzas. Buon appetito!

Other installments in this series:
I'm About to Go Vegan for a Month Basically on a Dare (12/19/2018)
My 'Traditional' Vegan New Year's Day Meal Already Has Me Freaking Out (1/2/2018)
The 5 Worst Things About My New Vegan Diet, 12 Days In (1/12/2018)
Vegan 'Cheese' Taste Test: Our Editors Gamely Tried 5 Varieties (2/12/2018)