Veganuary: the verdict

So this January I tried out veganism.
I wanted to give veganism a go for three reasons:
1. I’d written it down on my life list and ticking tasks off lists is what I live for. (Yes, I am a listaholic. Yes, I couldn’t resist adding a list in this post. Yes, therapy would be advisable.)
2. Vegetarianism has always been an easy choice for me. I’ve never tried meat, apart from one gross encounter with a ‘vegetarian quiche’ in New Zealand. (Short story: I thought it was pepper, it was actually hidden ham. Welcome to Vom City, population me.)
So although many people have told meat is delicious, as I’ve never tried it there is no deprivation for me in not eating meat. I stopped eating fish when I was nine or ten and made the connection that fish fingers were made out of fish. (I was a bit of a slow child.) And since fish terrified me (I was also weird) why did I want to consume their dead flesh, ewh!
Morally vegetarianism has always been a no brainer for me. But I’ve become increasingly aware of my hypocrisy in not eating animals but eating animal products that are often (not always, but often) produced in intensive and cruel ways.
I’d always said that veganism would be too difficult with a coeliac husband and well…reasons but I needed to at least try it to see if it was for me.
3. Hi, my name’s Rowan and I’m addicted to cheese. Alcohol I can take or leave. Drugs, have never really been my poison because as you might have guessed from 1. I have minor major control issues. But cheese is my glorious nemesis*. If nemesis = means an delicious enemy you consume daily in a weird cannibalistic ritual.
Creamy balls of mozzarella, salty sizzling halloumi straight from the grill, chunks of aged cheddar. Sorry, I just need to wipe some drool away.
But I had started adding cheese to every meal as it was an easy source of protein. And eating cheese daily was turning me into a walking talking mini babybel. It was time to put the brie down and go cold turkey*. *No turkeys were consumed in the making of this post.
Five things I learnt from Veganuary

  1. Trying out veganism forced me to be more creative. I couldn’t just load up on extra protein via cheese or Quorn (damn you hidden eggs). Instead I ate all the nuts, lots of tofu, and green leafy vegetables until I dreamed of kale. It also inspired me to try out a huge variety of recipes: from tofu stuffed mushrooms (blah), channa dahl (mmh), vegan carbonara (suprisingly yummy), to tofu scramble (I loved. HWSNBN told me it looked and tasted like vomit).
  2. If your vegan asian food is your friend. The thing about any type of diet is that the moment that you feel like you are denying yourself something that’s when you crack. But Japanese, Thai, Chinese or Indian cuisine (minus the ghee) isn’t built around dairy products the way our diet is in the west. The flavours are different so you feel satisfied even without cheese.
  3. No milk = easy peasy. Almond or hazelnut milk is just as yummy but without all the hormones they pump into cows (poor cows). I’m still drinking it. Do not mention the word soya milk to me *spits*.  No butter= fine, I just used olive oil and eat a lot of bruschetta. No eggs= hmmh, this was tough. I missed omelettes but then managed to gross myself out by reminding myself that eggs are basically chicken periods. No cheese= what is the point of living?! I tried vegan cheese even though Beth had warned me but it is wrong, oh so wrong! The only nice alternative I found was certain types of smoked tofu gave me that protein fix and cashew cheese had the texture but not the taste of cheese.
  4. I had to be more organised. I packed myself lunch every day after buying a what I thought was vegan friendly bagel and noticing they’d put honey in the bagel mix, grr. Eating on the go was tough. And although we didn’t eat out much, when we did I had to carefully plan where we could go. And bear in mind I live in Brighton one of the most vegan friendly locations in the UK, apart from Glasgow apparently?
  5. I have the self control of a toddler. In the end I lasted three weeks before cracking and eating all the cheese. Although I got back on that vegan-friendly horse substitute my heart wasn’t in veganism anymore.

The verdict
I felt healthier and lot’s of people said I looked better. My skin was clearer. And apart from a three-day headache the first couple of days, I felt like I had a lot of energy. I also lost seven pounds, although I was also exercising and trying to eat healthier. I had fun as well trying out new recipes and the full range of disgusting vegan cheeses. Words cannot describe how wrong they are
Would I do it again?
Sorry, I can’t hear you over the noise of all the cheese I’m munching.
Next on the life list

Meditate every day for one week.

Once I’ve meditated I always feel better. It’s the actually doing it part I fall down at. Will post about the results soon. OMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.


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