Week One - Monday 5th October 2015
Day 1: I've been vegetarian for 7 months and "ethical flexitarian" for around 6 months before that (whatever "ethical" is!). I'm following loads of vegan blogs, Facebook pages and groups, trying to cut down my consumption of animal products. As I haven't eaten eggs or dairy at home for a while, today I'm deciding to give myself the title. I'm calling myself 'vegan'. I've been hearing about the cruelty of the dairy industry, and, as much as I love ice cream, cheese and Cadbury Twirls, I don't want to contribute to the suffering any more. I already use almond and coconut milk at home, so it can't be too tough, can it?
I'm not your meat-eater's vision of a typical vegan. Okay, I have purple hair and a lip ring but I'm chubby, fairly conservative, love wine, hate insects, and the idea of yoga or meditation makes me cringe. I work in IT and I have no interest in living in a commune whatsoever - Give me a stay in the Hilton any day!
I usually skip breakfast (I know, I know), and for lunch I had soup and bread. For dinner we had a Fry's burger in a bun with chips, onion rings, all the trimmings, and a token salad on the side. I'm vegan, I can do this, I'm feeling good! I've also ordered liquid smoke and nutritional yeast from the internet, because I've head on Facebook that those are Vegan staples. Not that I know what to do with them!
Day 2: My first fully vegan shop! It took me bloody ages, reading all the labels and putting things in my trolley just because they're vegan and I'm excited, most things I've never even looked at the omni versions of before. I get home and lay all my non perishable purchases proudly on the kitchen counter and take a photo to put up on Facebook, naturally. See that little yellow jar of "Hey Boo"? I missed that it's got egg in it. Damn. Failed my first vegan mission. Oh well, onwards and upwards, it's in my house now.
Day 3: You'll quickly learn that I'm a creature of comfort and convenience, and also I really like burgers. My partner and I head to the local vegan food van today. We've been a few times before, and their cake is what gave me the push to realise that veganism isn't about sacrificing taste. I got a seed and bean burger and a peace of lovely, moist peanut butter cake. I also got a piece of chocolate cake for tomorrow. Did I mention I'm not in this for the health?! Cake for breakfast (I'm happy to have breakfast when cake's involved!). Coconut milk in my coffee, and a Thai green sweet potato and squash curry for my tea.
The sauce came from a jar, so it only took me about 20 minutes to make. I made too much and I've got a food baby.
My nutritional yeast (nooch) and liquid smoke are here. The liquid smoke needs to be used within a month of opening, so I haven't cracked it to have a sniff yet, but I've opened the nooch and I'll be honest, it looks a bit scary, like the shavings off old, dry feet. I trust the thousands of vegans that swear by it though, so I'll give it a go.
We met friends in town for dinner. Before we went I was worried. This will be the first time I've eaten out as a vegan and I don't want to cause a fuss at the restaurant, but I don't want to sit hungry whilst my friends eat, either. We went to TGIs, and I spent my lunch time asking around on vegan forums if there was anything I could eat there. I did ask TGI on twitter, but they were naff all help.
It turned out that I can have veggie fajitas without the sour cream, if I tell the server as soon as I arrived that I'll be wanting a vegan meal. Luckily, a lot of alcohol is vegan, so after I arrived I sipped a few cocktails and I wasn't worried about causing a fuss anymore! My food came out, and it wasn't mind blowing, but it was fairly tasty. The servers at the restaurant didn't bat an eyelid at my vegan request. Phew. There was no suitable pudding, so I got a packet of Oreos on the way home to make up for it.
It's Saturday, and we're on the train back from London. I get my first taste of Starbucks' coconut milk Frappuccino, which is gorgeous. The people behind the counter did have to get the allergen list out to check what flavours were vegan, but they didn't make me feel like I was causing any trouble at all. I also got some Skittles, because sweets.
I've been to a meeting where coffee was served. No vegan milk, so I tried it black. I have never liked black coffee before, but with a couple of sugars in it''s actually not bad. They also had cookies, and I was about to tuck in when I remembered to ask if they contained dairy or eggs. They do, gutted! I watch other people eating them and feel a bit put out. Damn dairy.