Veganuary: A sort-of diary
As we near the end of Veganuary, I’d like to take it back to where it all began… uary.
1st of January 2017 – I’ve eaten so much cheese over Christmas it is now 75% of my body mass. It’s time to go vegan. I’m already vegetarian so it’s not that much of a leap. How hard can it be right?
Well guys, WINE IS NOT VEGAN – that’s how hard. January, the Monday of the year, the “oh God let’s just hibernate till Spring” month, where wine is THE MOST NECESSARY and I have decided to go vegan, meaning, yes that’s right, I can’t have wine. Something to do with fish bladders I think. Yep I just googled it. It’s fish bladders. You’re welcome.
After nearly chucking it all in and chugging a bottle of Blossom Hill, I calm down long enough to discover vegan wine is out there. And I live in Brighton, a.k.a the most vegan friendly place on Earth. Maybe I can get through this.
A week in and I’m craving a bowl of plain yogurt. Never wanted it before but I guess my body wants to fuck with me. Or I’m lacking calcium. One of the two. I’ve switched out cow’s milk in tea for almond milk and it’s actually pretty nice! I had to do a bit of trial and error as not all almond milk is created equal; Alpro Almond Drink = cardboard, Rude Health Almond Drink = creamy, plant based goodness.
I usually eat pretty low-carb, but I have noticed the tendency to just eat anything that’s vegan whatever it is. I have to keep telling myself that being vegan does not give me a free pass to live off bread, crisps and chips. It’s taking some adjusting and I’m definitely eating more food and more often than I would usually. A lot of people I speak to ask if I’m tired all the time, I haven’t really noticed a drop in my energy levels, so I must be doing something right!
Now on to another thing I’ve been dreading. I love me a full-fat milk cappuccino and, being freelance, I work from cafes a lot. That cappuccino is my life blood. Turns out, soy cappuccinos are actually not God awful (apart from the one I had at The Cafe That Shall Not Be Named which was solid on top and curdled down below, ick).
So far Cafe Domenica, run by charity Team Domenica, is leading the charge on Brighton soy caps. I actually had to double check they hadn’t used cow’s milk! To put another spanner in the works though, apparently, soy has high levels of oestrogen and other bad stuff, so that again is something I’m going to have to cut down on. It’s a minefield out there people.
One thing that partaking in Veganuary has made me more aware of is how much protein I’m getting. When I was eating cheese and eggs (all day, erry day) I didn’t really need to think about it, but now I can easily eat a meal and it not contain any protein at all. I’m adding lots of nuts, seeds and beans to EVERYTHING.
I also have a tendency to be slightly anaemic, especially when I’m gushing blood from my uterus, but lentils are tasty, filling and a good source of protein and iron and farting. Also, if there’s been an upswing in Brighton hummus sales, that was probably me.
My slip-ups have been minimal. More stuff has milk powder in it than you would think, so remembering to check the label is very necessary. Sometimes, after three margaritas, you might forget that a whiskey sour has egg white in it, have to send it back and the waiter will laugh at you (I’m SORRY I’m not a walking cocktail menu geez) but it’s okay because they will make you a Negroni which is vegan and also strong.
If you see cheese lying about it’s easy to forget you’re vegan and put it in your mouth, but it doesn’t count if you chew it a bit and then spit it out, right?
Veganuary has been a learning curve, but not nearly as hard as I was expecting. I actually don’t miss cheese and eggs and full-fat milk cappuccinos as much as I thought I would. And, even though Vegafebruary doesn’t really have the same ring to it, I will probably carry on and just see how far I get before I cave and plunge my face into a baked Camembert.
Wish me luck!