Veganuary: The Extended Version with Calum A.K.A Blitzy

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Ahoy avid readers, so I am fully aware Veganuary is over but that doesn’t mean veganism is dead until next year. If like me you tried Veganuary and really enjoyed it why not do a little research, start integrating vegan alternatives into your diet or even just go vegan. Now I know the idea of going vegan is quite daunting with protein, expenses, and nutrition but it’s not scary as it sounds…

Let’s begin with a little bit about yourself and why you decided to go vegan.

[Blitzy]: Hello, so my name’s Calum although I’m more known as @madebyblitz, or Blitzy, or whatever you wanna call me. I’m a 22-year-old who cooks and makes quick, protein-packed vegan recipes on the Internet, and I started it in a funny way actually. I met a bloke at a family BBQ who was in shape and took care of his health, and I asked him what he did. When I found out he lived a healthy lifestyle on purely plant-based food, I thought I had to give it a go and see if it was a load of hype or if it actually had beneficial results. And since then, I’ve been eating grains lentils, tofu, and all kinds of veg and figuring out how to make it taste good. Haven’t eaten grass yet, but it’s on the list.

What would you say is the biggest difference between vegetarian and vegan other than the obvious dietary changes?

[Blitzy]: I’d say the biggest difference is the amount of people choosing to gravitate to vegetarianism and not veganism. It can be the easier option for people as it’s more accessible at the moment. However, I feel like the more you look into the differences, and the process it takes to produce food such as milk, cheese, and eggs, the more it makes sense to try a plant-based diet.

We can’t talk about veganism without bringing up protein. I know you focus primarily on protein-packed recipes, but would you still stand by protein not being a problem for those amongst us who can’t afford soy alternatives such as tofu? Can you still get all the protein needed from a vegan diet on a tight budget?

[Blitzy]: Absolutely. Chickpeas, lentils, black beans, peas, all come in under £1 to buy which is mad when you think about it. It’s a funny stage we’re in at the moment, because the moment you tell someone to grab a block of tofu, the next thing that gets mentioned is the price. However, when you actually look into it, a block of tofu is the same price, if not cheaper, than a pack of chicken breasts. Food for thought, I guess.

What would you suggest for those who want to go vegan but have a nut allergy? (this was a concern highlighted in the surveys)

[Blitzy]: I suggest not beating yourself up and do your best based on your circumstances. If that means you can’t go 100% plant-based, that’s alright. There are plenty of alternatives out there to get your protein and your fats, just have to do some digging.

Again, from the surveys: 40% of people believe a vegan diet is too expensive to maintain. Do you have any tips or tricks for going vegan on a budget especially for students who need a million biscuits to function?

[Blitzy]: I do indeed! This is what I tackled with recipes around September time, I started Student Meals by Blitz. I aimed my recipes at students and gave price breakdowns of each ingredient, all the while, making sure meals were protein-packed and that you used the same variety of ingredients in every recipe. For example, if you buy smoked paprika, you’re gonna be using that in plenty more recipes, same goes for cashews and so on.

You’re only going to break the bank if you’re buying like-for-like replicas of your delicacies. Plant-based sausages, burgers, crisps, cheese, chocolate and so on are all slightly more expensive than the meat or dairy equivalent. But with the rise in accessibility and demand, prices will soon become more accommodating for everyone.

What are some of your favourite vegan brands and vegan meat replacements?

[Blitzy]: I don’t use meat replacements often, but if you’re looking for a like-for-like version of chicken or beef, I suggest THIS, Future Farm or The Meatless Farm.

Gotta love Oatly oat milk and Tofoo’s tofu and tempeh are the ones I tend to get more often.

In your opinion how important are vitamin supplements when on a vegan diet or do you feel you can still gain these vitamins naturally?

[Blitzy]: I’d say they’re pretty important, for anyone with any diet. I think when you do start a plant-based diet, you worry more about your nutrition and health, and you prioritise getting everything in. But when I ate meat and dairy, I didn’t even think about my daily vitamin intake or how much B12 I was getting, I just let nature take its toll, even though I probably wasn’t hitting the daily requirements.

What is your opinion on veganism and sport, do you believe vegan athletes can perform to the same standard as meat-eaters, gain the same volume of muscle etc?

[Blitzy]: Yes I do. I mean in my case, I’m still building, so come back to me when I’m hench like Lethal Bizzle. There are plenty of athletes and fitness enthusiasts who have thrived on plant-based diets, some of whom have increased their volume of muscle, others who have maintained it.

Lots of students worry about difficulties in social situations if they were to be vegan as they don’t want to be an inconvenience. What takeaways do you recommend that have good vegan options?

[Blitzy]: Veganism is what every big high street is eyeing up on improving, so you’ll end up finding an option better than you would years ago.

Papa John’s do a lovely grubby pizza, Wagamama’s smash it out the park. You can even rock up to KFC now and get yourself a plant-based burger that bangs.

If you could only spread the word about veganism with a hashtag, what would it be and why?

[Blitzy]: It wouldn’t have the word #vegan because I feel like that’s full of different individuals with different focus points and it’s all combined into one window, which can be an eyesore.

Mine would actually be my own, #madebyblitz. My priority has always been to deliver on a good meal that people can enjoy that’s quick to make. That hashtag would be a great opportunity for people to show off their creations and be positive about the whole thing.

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