Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Becoming Vegan - 6 months in.

This year I decided to give Veganuary a go. It is something I have thought about before but with a meat eating husband and 4 year old it never seemed feasible. I slipped into a lot of convenience food habits in November/December and wanted to change things up a bit. I felt like a side-affect of going vegan would be to encourage me to think about food and plan a bit better.

My main reason for giving a vegan diet a go was environmental. Reading stories like this one really made me think about my impact on the world. As well as changing my diet I have also been looking at recycling more and being more mindful of my carbon footprint in general. It is a subject I am getting more and more interested in so if you have any resources or tips to share - hit up the comments section!

So, I thought I would approach this update addressing the questions I get asked the most...

Was I veggie before? No, I was a full blown meat eater. I haven't ever tried veganism or vegetarianism before. I was dairy free briefly in my first year of university when I had a housemate who had an allergy, although I wasn't super strict with it to be honest. I have always felt like dairy disagreed with me and the last 6 months has confirmed this for me - I won't go into the full gastro-intestinal details for you but I have felt better since cutting out dairy.

Are my family vegan too? The short answer to this is no and this has been the number one downside for me as planning and cooking separate meals can be challenging and expensive. I have been slowly slipping in more veggie and vegan meals into our meal plans but my husband is pretty fussy when it comes to food so we often end up cooking and eating separately. Substituting mince for quorn and homemade soups have been winners for all the family though.

Is eating out tricky? The greatest thing about being vegan in 2019 is that restaurants and supermarkets are really embracing the whole plant based thing. I haven't found eating out or shopping difficult at all! Although I do live in a city which makes it easier. I have had a couple of disappointing experiences when I haven't had control over the venue but all in all places are always open to tailoring things for you - its often just a bit lacking in choice.

Come on though, do you miss meat/cheese/cake etc... OK, so I am not going to lie and say its all sunshine and rainbows, vegan chocolate is mostly disappointing (or eye-wateringly expensive) and cheese on pizza has been a HUGE miss, but enough for me to stop? Not really. I have been able to find alternatives for things and to be honest eating less takeaway pizza was probably a good thing both health wise and wallet-wise. Although I will say that my choice to be vegan is just that - a choice, if I really wanted something non vegan I would have it. I am not about restricting myself or encouraging disordered eating.

Have you caved and eaten anything non vegan? Yes, a couple of times. As I said above I am making this choice, I am not here to punish myself or restrict. I had a really awful tummy bug last month which wiped me out, I really struggled to get back to eating after and found it impossible to buy bland vegan food - a lot of vegan convenience food is spicy or packed full of flavour which is the worst thing ever when you are recovering from a tummy bug - so I had a couple of tuna sandwiches that week. I also resorted to a cows milk coffee at softplay once as I was in need of caffeine - although my tummy regretted it the next day. I may have also indulged in a mr whippy ice cream at the funfair over the bank holiday weekend. I know a lot of vegans wouldn't but for me I find it healthier to be less rigid - there are no police - I am making the choices I want to make.

Are you going to keep going? Kind of mirroring what I said above, I am happy being vegan now, I feel good about my choices. If that ever changes I will review - maybe I will be vegan forever, maybe I will flex when it fits my life. I am not making sweeping statements or swearing to be vegan forever. I feel good about what I am doing now and long may that continue.

What do vegans eat though? If people are interested I'd like to share some recipes and meal plans on here? I've discovered a love of tofu and I am working on some recipes to post. Maybe I'll bring meal planning like a boss back? Watch this space.

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2 comments

  1. Hari OM
    G'day Nellie!!! What a great post. As a long-term vegetarian, I applaud your choice, but also that you are not 'policing' yourself as so many do. For around ten years in my late 20s early 30s I was vegan. However my health deteriorated over that time (low immunity and chronic fatigue syndrome) and I was advised to return to consuming dairy rather than taking soy product. Turns out I am much better not to consume soya unless it is sourced from non-GMO and fully organic production. I do take soy-mince and tofu now on occasion, using only Clearspring product..

    As an alternative to tofu, you could consider the Indian cottage cheese (Paneer), but made with nuts. Interestingly, this very day a blog I follow provided a recipe! This is the link.

    Whilst I started out eliminating meat consumption in part for ethical reasons, it was also for health (I actually didn't digest meat well at all), in the last 10-12 years my diet has adapted wholly to the Indian system of 'sattvika' - "pure" living. This cuts out things like onions and garlic, as they are aggravating to the system and are actually used for medicine, but also lots of fried foods and also mushrooms/fungi. The thing to know about Quorn is that is made from vat-created fungus. It is highly processed food (as are many soy products). Further, a lot of other things have to be added to make it anything like edible. It may be a good ethical choice, but could be a poor health choice. Some articles for your interest:
    https://cspinet.org/tip/dangers-quorn-products-you-should-know
    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/feb/12/quorn-revolution-rise-ultra-processed-fake-meat
    https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/how-a-sattvic-pure-diet-brings-you-into-balance#gid=ci02283ee5700026c2&pid=food_salad

    That's enough from me! Have attempted using hyperlink in first two paragraphs - now to find out if that worked! Happy eating!!! YAM xx

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  2. Thanks for sharing - a very interesting read. I love that you are being flexible and less rigid about your approach. Seems sensible! Well done x

    ReplyDelete

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