Veganism, as many of you will know is avoiding all traces of animal products in foods and in your lifestyle, meaning no eggs, milk or leather products. SO NO CHOCOLATE! Yet for some reason I was determined to experience that torture and live as a vegan for Lent and thanks to peer pressure I am sharing my experience.
The rules sounded easy but within first couple days I realised everything I was used to eating contained some trace of egg or milk. I was tired because I wasn’t eating enough proper food and I had to find substitutes in vitamins and calcium tablets etc. It wasn’t going well.
After spending hours procrastinating by looking at recipes on Google and downloading vegan cookbooks, I realised the food that looked the best was made up of the most stupid ingredients. Like seriously what is egg emulsifier? Do supermarkets sell Liquid Aminos? And I am convinced now that Lucuma ice-cream doesn’t exist.
Even if you find these ridiculously rare fruits, vegetables and substitutes, they cost a freaking bomb. Legit, you’ve got to take out an extra student loan to get your shopping from Ocado. (Personally, I feel that being a vegan should entitle you to have a higher maintenance loans. Just saying.) I was definitely making eating ethically way too hard for myself.
Then the Lord answered my prayers. An angel in the form of Lucy Watson came to me in the form of a cookbook leaving me somewhat enlightened as I discovered that Oreos, Bourbon Biscuits, Popcorn and Heinz Ketchup were vegan friendly. The book became my bible, but her suggested ingredients were still a little out of my price range (after all I do not have an SW3 postcode).
I began to delve further in my research becoming more and more passionate about my little project. I read a similar blog to this, where a girl in America explained to me that loads of foods were vegan friendly but couldn’t have the explicit label because they were made in a factory that handled other meat or dairy products, and may have come into brief contact etc.
Relief. I could eat some of my favourite foods again, with the obvious exceptions.
It was in the relief I discovered the Vegan Society, where they had cheap easy recipes that even I couldn’t go wrong with; vegan lasagne, fajitas, cauliflower steaks, couscous, Thai curry etc.
I purchased the essentials: sunflower oil, butter, almond butter, Linda McCartney vegan sausages, dairy free cheese, salt and vinegar twirls, rich tea fingers, a variety of fruit and vegetables, garlic bread, almond milk, wholemeal bread and, the Holy Grail, HOUMOUS!!! I was good to go!
It felt good to eat ethically and I physically felt better. After overcoming the shock that I could no longer eat my weight in chocolate digestives, I had ended up removing all processed and unnatural sugars from my diet.
Best of all, I was eating so that no animals were being harmed or mistreated in any way.
This all went swimmingly until I returned home for the Easter Hols.
Now normally meal times in my house are a right faff. Mum is pretty much the fussiest eater in the modern world, my sister is celiac and I was a vegetarian, meaning for a normal dinner time 3 different meals would need preparing. Safe to say Mum was not impressed by my new decision.
I go back to working full time when I home, meaning the majority of my meals are at work. Work is a small pub close by where the vegan diet isn’t exactly catered for and when I announced this to my colleagues, you would have thought I had told them that I had contracted cholera. So basically by diet there turned in jacket potato with beans.
Nevertheless, I made it through to the 39th day, and nearly the 40th until I practically had Ben and Jerry’s shoved down my throat.
Anyway my experiment ended just in time for me to begin devouring Easter eggs. Whilst it’s safe to say I enjoyed my vegan experience, I will not be following it so religiously. I intend to eat more vegan food, and think more carefully about where the food I’m eating comes from, but I miss wearing my Docs and eating quorn scotch eggs too much to maintain it.
*If anyone has found anything in this article or wants to find out more information on how veganism is healthy and environmentally friendly, or has any general questions about veganism the listen up. John Ellis, a representative of the Vegan Society from Country Durham, will be delivering a talk and open Q&A session on Wednesday 2nd May, so keep your eyes peeled for details.*