I’M A hopeless vegan.

Encouraged by the Veganuary movement and my compassion towards animals, I was keen to try veganism for a month. But it wasn’t at all easy and my conviction to follow a vegan diet lapsed well before the middle of the month.

I’m ashamed of myself, as I hate the idea of any creature being sacrified for our dinner plates.

I get worked up every time I see a livestock transporter on the road, ranting that if I won the lottery I would flag down any lorry that crossed my path and save hundreds of pigs, cows and sheep from the abattoir.

I don’t eat much meat, frequently using vegetarian alternatives, but I do love my Sunday treat of chicken - free range, although I know that's not always all it's cracked up to be - and two veg, and I eat fish.

One of my friends called me a ‘flexitarian’, but the word is meaningless - you either eat meat or you don’t. I’d find both hard to give up meat and fish completely, but if push came to shove I could live a veggie lifestyle.

But veganism is something else. For a start, there’s milk. As my husband will vouch, I gave it a go with the soya variety. “You look as though you’re having teeth pulled,” he said, as I tentatively sipped it.

Having something that tastes like liquidised cardboard poured over your cereal isn’t the nicest start to the day. It’s even worse in tea. My husband encouraged me to persevere, saying it was an acquired taste. Frankly, I don’t think I’ll live that long.

I soon abandoned it and went back to cows’ milk, even though, I am embarrassed to say I have no idea how it is produced. I know that some cows are intensively confined and treated like milk-producing machines. I know some supermarkets have used the names of fake farms on their packaging. Are cows suffering on my behalf? I know I should do more to find out more. But even if my milk was produced this way, would I abandon it? I hate to admit, maybe not. Having the courage of your convictions isn’t easy.

I persevered with the rest of my vegan diet. I missed boiled eggs, a lunchtime favourite. I buy eggs from a local farm and am also given them by neighbours. I know their provenance - happy hens pecking about outside. It seems harsh to have to cut out food which doesn’t involve intensive, cruel rearing.

The number of vegans is on the rise. According to the latest research by the Vegan Society, there are around 600,000 in the UK, up from around 150,000 in 2006.

Supermarkets are embracing this: it wasn’t hard to find vegan products, from plant-based mince - which I liked but unfortunately my husband didn’t - to vegan burgers.

But many products are high in salt which due to a medical condition I have to limit, and sugar. I also hate to say it but I did not find one I would rave about.

I love yoghurt, but the non-dairy products just weren’t to my taste. There’s a level of sweetness which tasted artificial.

Being a ‘lifestyle vegan’, committing to only using or buying cosmetics and clothes free from animal products, must be harder still.

And what about banknotes that contain animal fat, and the many other items we use on a daily basis from debit and credit cards, to phones and carrier bags?

I applaud all committed vegans and vegetarians. But for many of us, it’s about doing what we feel able to do. Any efforts have got to be better than none. I don’t use any cosmetics and around 75 per cent of my diet is vegetarian, much of it cooked from scratch. For me, for now, that’s the best I can do.