Hey guys! So back in February I decided to go vegan for Lent. 40 days and 40 nights of celery sticks and falafel (or so I thought. Also I eat those things on the daily anyway. How hard could it be? I said to myself.) I had been wanting to attempt veganism for a long while, and thought Lent would be the perfect time to undergo a drastic lifestyle change. I kept making excuses in the past but finally decided that now was the time. If Jesus could survive in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, surely Rhiannon could abstain from meat and dairy for 40 days and 40 nights. Some of you may know that I am a vegetarian (although I often toy with pescatarianism.) Therefore, I decided that it would probably be a smooth transition for me. Going cold turkey (no pun intended) is not really the way to go, in my honest opinion, so I thought that being veggie would aid me in this challenge - if I had just gone from eating meat to eating veg, I probably would have suffered considerably. So does this mean I didn't suffer at all? No. But we'll get to that in a bit. *** Day 2 - It hasn't been a struggle at all. - Prior to this, I would often go through my daily life and realise that I'd been 'accidentally' eating vegan food. I would make a conscious effort to avoid dairy anyway. However, my concerns are mostly refraining from eating food that have, say, milk powder in them, or egg or using milk in my cups of tea (of which there are many.) - I bought a bunch of snacks to keep me from going hungry (even though I'm always hungry.) The crippling hunger of being a vegan I'm sure will a different thing altogether.
- I'm excited to find out how I'm going to change throughout this period.
- I want to prove to myself that I can do it! Ya girl doesn't want to flop.
- It's safe to say that it hasn't been tooooo challenging so far. It's pretty manageable.
- The hardest thing is finding foods that you love and realising you can't eat them e.g. I was going to have Heinz tomato soup tonight (a classic fave) and yet it has milk powder in it, so I can't eat it. Great.
- There are also a lot of things that have egg in them. I was at an exhibition today and all I could snack on were the crisps and strawberries. I couldn't have any of the spring rolls, any of the samosas, any of the quiches...annoying. I feel like I'm gonna lose hella weight but maybe I'll also feel healthier. I'm unsure at this stage.
- I feel like I'm seeing the world in a different way. Maybe I'm just chatting shit. Maybe I'm just hungry. I do feel hungry a lot of the time, now that I think about it.
- Everyone keeps taking the piss out of me.
- This shit is not easy. Many things, don't get me wrong, are straightforward. Shopping is straightforward, preparing your own meals - straightforward, availability of produce - straightforward (in London anyway.) Even eating out hasn't been very problematic. Places that I didn't expect to cater to vegans did exactly that. However, what hasn't been easy is gatherings. I can't obviously get my hands on the food labels because food at gatherings is just there, on a plate, a complete mystery...I was in the staff room at work yesterday and it was someone's birthday and they had kindly brought in two cakes and a load of snacks. There were 2 types of tortilla chips - Doritos and the Sainsbury's version. For some reason, the Doritos had about 25 different ingredients and weren't vegan whilst the Sainsbury's tortilla chips had like, 5 ingredients and were vegan. As for the dips, I could only eat the salsa, which was fine because it was a beautiful combination but, like, why did the guacamole have to have milk in it? These are things I've noticed and don't understand.
- Went for drinks with my friend the other day and everything was fine until I found out that the bartender had put honey in my margarita?! By this point it was too late and most of the drink (which wasn't that nice, might I add) had been consumed. My question is: why? I'm trying to be quite strict and not eat honey because I'm pretty sure the majority of vegans are against eating honey, but it's kind of like...really? - On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most challenging) I am finding this experience about a 5.5 / 6. I also have days where I feel better than others. Some days I'm like 'food is just food, let's get on with it' and other days I'm like 'food should be enjoyed. It's an experience.' I've been thinking more about our relationship with food (I'm really interested in this and actually did my uni dissertation on this subject.) Day 23
- So far, so good. I feel very strong in my veganism right now. I've only cracked once (the Dairy Milk bar) and I had a bowl of Crunchy Nut a couple of days ago...I don't know if that means I've knowingly broken my veganism because those cornflakes do contain honey, and honey isn't technically vegan, but...whatever, the cocktail a few weeks ago also had honey in it.
- I got some Hotel Chocolat chocolate, which I'm very excited about!
- The time has gone very fast and I've only got about 2 weeks left. I'm interested to see whether I'll adopt certain aspects of the vegan diet. It has changed my perception quite a lot and I do feel a lot lighter in myself, a lot healthier. *** My reflection
Some of the things I ate whilst being a vegan: - a delicious teriyaki chick'n burger from Mildred's (a vegan / veggie restaurant) which came with plum teriyaki, shichimi mayo, kale, pickled red onion and carrot and fries - jambalaya with Linda McCartney sausages - spaghetti and Linda McCartney meatballs - an amazing pizza from Pizza Brixton - nut loaf with potatoes and veggies - a fat 'yaki' bowl from Cookdaily at Boxpark Shoreditch - a rainbow bowl full of rice, roasted vegetables, beans and salad - various Asian curries - all delicious - falafel and salad wraps with hot pepper sauce and hummus - ginger rice noodles with pak choy - sweet potato curry with rice and peas - avocado bagels Some of the snacks I ate: - Oreos (who knew?!) - dark chocolate - crisps - Nakd bars - chocolate chip dairy-free cookies (homemade!) - my favourite peanut butter blondie from Rinkoff's Bakery - fruit / raw vegetables - ginger nut biscuits (most brands are vegan) Thank you so much for taking the time to read about this experience and if you have any queries or are interested in trying it yourself, feel free to leave a comment!