I have been vegan for a couple of weeks now and I have to admit, I sort of love it! I have been pleasantly surprised by how much you can actually still eat on a vegan diet. Before starting Vegan Month, I had visions of me being hungry all the time and desperately clinging to lettuce leaves like they were the holy grail, or walking past the butchers and having to have my fingers forcibly removed from their door frame. Happily, neither scenario has happened (at least not yet, but never say never I suppose).
I began Vegan Month the day after climbing Everest. Sorry did I say Everest, I meant Nevis (on the day it certainly was my Everest!). I was very lucky that I was staying at my parent’s house that day and, as always, my mummy took excellent care of me. She whipped me up a vegan Sunday feast – I had not only a scrumptious vegan crumble after my vegan pecan pasta lunch, but she also baked me a wickedly rich vegan chocolate cake. I hadn’t appreciated how decadent vegan dining could be (thus the lettuce leaf vision). That day, in recovery mode from the ascent and decent of the previous day, I sat down with some vegan cookery books borrowed from the library and wrote myself a menu for the coming week.
In the 17 days of being a vegan, I haven’t actually repeated a meal and many of them I will absolutely be cooking again, regardless of my dietary preferences. The Indian spiced chickpea tacos I made for one of our weekend dinners, complete with a cashew nut ‘sour cream’, was honestly one of the best dishes I’ve ever had.
Then there were the vegan Oreo brownies that I made for afternoon tea when we had guests. Oh. My. Goodness. They were some of the fudgiest and moreish treats known to come out of my oven. I’ve also become a bit of a smoothie and soup goddess, if I do say so myself. I could write a catalogue, as a follow up to “50 shades of Red”, called “On a bender with Lady V’s Blender”. For example, today for my breakfast I had a cacao, peanut butter, almond milk and banana milkshake, followed a few hours later with lightly spiced red lentil soup for lunch.
Liquid lunches are a lot more nutritious now than they were in my university days that’s for sure.
I haven’t felt any extreme deprivation in my diet but there are two definite gaps in my July… I do miss having cow’s milk in my tea – sadly I personally find the alternatives too insipid for a true cup of English Breakfast. I also miss bacon. Last weekend I was away camping with my family and on our last morning we decided to treat ourselves to breakfast at the beach diner. My kids and husband all had waffles for their breakfast (my husband’s waffle came with bacon) and it took a lot of will power not to reach across the table and snaffle a morsel from each plate. I did have a very tasty breakfast of mushrooms and beans on toast (no butter), but I will definitely be going back to sample those waffles once July is over.
Despite these two ‘pangs’ in my new diet, I will say this, I feel so so healthy, both in mind and body. I have noticed a significant reduction in headaches and mid afternoon fatigue in the last couple of weeks, and on the days that I have accidentally forgotten to take my medication, the side effects have not been nearly as severe. In fact, I sometimes don’t even realise that I’ve missed a day until the following morning when I look at the pill packet. Usually I would suffer from a very harsh headache, nausea, stomach cramps and general weakness. I’m sure you can imagine it is rather pleasant not experiencing that.