Eating Better

“We all need to pay more attention to our food choices and rethink our food systems”

By Josephine Boswell

Josephine Boswell

Josephine Boswell, the founder of ethical catering company Cooking with Josephine, writes in our latest blog post about her experience of ‘Veganuary’ as a way to expand her vegan recipe repertoire and raise awareness about Going For Gold’s push for the citizens of Bristol to eat more meat-free meals.

I should start by confessing that there have been a few hiccups in my month of veganism. Though I fear the hardened vegans out there might find these unacceptable lapses, rest assured I accepted my failures, dusted off my non-vegan dirt and climbed back on the wagon. Every time.

Hiccup1: I was thoroughly enjoying my ‘carrots three-ways’ vegan option at a Wassail celebration supper at the Ethicurean. However, when offered a haggis from my neighbour who claimed to be full, I was forced to momentarily switch my vegan hat for a zero-waste one, it would otherwise have gone in the bin. I think you’ll agree this was a challenging ethical decision. I took one for the team. No haggis was wasted.

Hiccup 2: Last weekend I was at a pub in the Welsh valleys, after a long, appetite-building walk. When it came to ordering lunch, I neglected to enquire if the ‘cream of vegetable soup’ was vegan, for fear that my only other option for miles around was a packet of peanuts. Deepest Wales it seems has not yet caught the Veganuary bug.    

Hiccup 3: At dinner with an old friend who has patiently tolerated each and every one of my dietary requirement over the years, I may have had to ‘struggle’ through the handmade truffle and ricotta ravioli. After all, she had so proudly served them alongside perfectly steamed tender-stem broccoli coated in olive oil, not butter, for my benefit.

I guess you could call this approach ‘practical veganism’ if indeed it needs a label at all. But hiccups aside, Veganuary has been far more enjoyable than I expected. I haven’t craved eggs as I feared, scrambled tofu is an excellent alternative; after a Christmas of feasting on meat and cheese I was only too happy to abstain for a few weeks. The money saved on said animal products was spent on Bouja Bouja ice cream when the craving for sweet treats became too much.

I’ve consumed my weight in Oatly milk, and tahini has accompanied almost every meal. I upped my intake of fermented veg and kombucha to make up for the lack of milk kefir and all in all, I’ve wanted for nothing and found the experience eye-opening.

Whatever you feel about veganism, practical or otherwise, the world is quite literally on fire, our soils are depleted and our oceans are toxic. We all need to pay more attention to our food choices and rethink our food systems. Veganuary is one way to commit to doing things differently, as is committing to upping your veg and cutting back on meat, but with a less but better approach to meat and dairy.

I personally will be continuing my practical veganism approach and hope that there will one day be a vegan option on every menu in every town the whole world over, starting with Bristol.

Josephine Boswell is founder of Cooking with Josephine, an ethical catering company running fermentation workshops, events and pop-ups in Bristol and the South West.

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