Just in case you missed it somehow, I have gone Vegan for January, or if you prefer, I am participating in Veganuary. I have several reasons for doing this and these you can read about here but for now I am going to talk to you about my first week as a real life Vegan.
Cast your mind back to New Year’s Eve, for me this year it meant a night out in Manchester with Jake and his friends and also, a lot of alcohol. Whisky shots, mainly and beers to be precise. Anyway, lets just say we woke up feeling a little hungover and food or cooking food was probably the last thing on my mind. Usually in these situations I will have a hot shower, a huge mug of tea and possibly a fried egg sandwich, a cheesy toastie or for when things were really bad, a McDonalds. Panic set in mid afternoon about what exactly I was going to be able to eat, in order to rid of the rank feeling I had awash myself with.
Luckily slightly prepared me, had considered this the day before with a quick trip to Tesco, I bought soya milk, dairy free cheese (Violife) and some avocado spread. Voila! A Vegan friendly culinary delight awaited. I made toasted bagels with cheese and chutney, and coffee (lots of) with soya milk. It was nice, and actually seemed to work. I spent the day drinking as much water as I could and once Jake finished work (I have literally no idea how he managed to survive the day) we order (cheese-less for me, but loaded with veggies) pizza and drank Prosecco. Day 1 was done and it was fairly easy. It was at that point I realised that I would probably find this challenge easier that first thought and perhaps, this was doable long-term?
The next day we went out for a walk and a few (Vegan friendly Peroni) beers, we discussed eating out and decided that Thai food would be the easiest option! I ordered Vegetable tempura and a fish-sauce-free Massaman curry with boiled rice. Simple choices, tasty and enjoyable. This made me happy as I had worried that it may be difficult eating out in restaurants as a Vegan. So far so good!
It was going back to work and settling back into a ‘routine’ of life that was actually the biggest struggle of the week for me. Essentially, when it comes to work, I rarely take a packed lunch; for two reasons, firstly because I am lazy and tired in a morning and my priority is usually making sure the kids are dressed and have not killed each other and secondly because I like to treat myself and chose what I feel like, plus it gets me out of the office! I thought about this and I realised that I am far better off taking my own lunches to work. After all, there’s probably only so many jacket potato and beans/salad a person can stand? So I prepared (again) and made falafel. Enough to last a few days and take me to my days off. I love falafel and do not make it enough, but it was so nice I even had some for dinner with sweet potato and polenta fries, which may I add are pretty amazing- try them!
On Wednesday night I went to Sainsbury’s and completed my first Vegan dare I say, ‘Haul’. By Thursday morning I realised that it’s a good idea to buy Vegan-friendly replacements for your favourite things such as mayonnaise, pesto, peanut butter (no palm oil, anyway) sausages (Linda McCartney, of course) snack bars (Nakd Bakewell Tart and Cashew Cookie) soup and yoghurt. It really does make life easier and makes cooking or adding ingredients to foods you already love more versatile. I also purchased lots of tofu, as I knew giving up Quorn was never going to be easy, despite their new Vegan range growing.
Thursday and Friday I mainly ate bagels, salad and then for dinner lots of vegetables, grilled with soy and ginger. Aubergines are absolutely my favourite vegetable so it was nice to eat lots of them (Aldi 49p each!). I ate rice to accompany it and felt satisfied. No craving for snacks later (like usual) but I did find that I am missing the odd biscuit here and there. Bourbons are usually in the house for the kids and actually ‘accidentally’ Vegan so I scoffed a few of those which helped. Speaking of Gabriel and Willow, I’ve had the kids on board to an extent; Willow and I made houmous together and Gabriel seems to be enjoying the dairy free yoghurt and milk!
I’ve plenty of meal ideas and snacks planned for the next week thanks to Pinterest and also Vegan blogs I have acquainted, including more baking (Vegan chocolate avocado cake) and also more houmous and falafel. I am also planning on soaking some lentils as I usually buy them ready to go, which is expensive. I want to try as many different grains as I can and hopefully squeeze in some cereal here and there, when I can deal with the soya milk addition fully! I am also hoping that I will grow to enjoy milk replacement in tea, because nothing tastes just how I like it, but perhaps for the sake of Veganism I will just have to accept that?
On positive note though, just as when I entered the world of blogging I feel, as though I have entered another world of Veganism. I have joined several forums, Facebook groups and also met lots of new people. So much support and ideas sharing, it’s also been pretty informative too, I like to think I am fairly clued up on nutrition to a certain level but I have learned so much more this week. Mainly about calcium and B12 vitamins!
Overall, I think the first week has been great. Much easier than expected and exciting actually. I feel good, I have more energy and I am sleeping better. I have,by proxy eaten more vegetables and also chosen to eat more fruit too. I also feel less bloated and feel, as my friend from Twitter Dan so well put it, ‘cleaner’. I just hope it continues! Anyway, until next week…