I started the 30ish.me vegan challenge on the 11th November. It will finish on the 12th December. This is 720 hours. When you put it into hours, it doesn’t seem that long. It is, however, 90 meals; 30 breakfasts, 30 lunches and 30 dinners. And that’s without counting all the snacks I’ve had. I reached my halfway stage not too long ago – it was a pretty good feeling.
So here’s a list of 10 things I’ve noticed as a vegan:
- It’s a lot nicer to clean up pans that have had vegetables in them rather than dead animals. There’s less clumpy, heavy fat left over in the roasting pan which makes it easier to scrub.
- I’ve eaten less crap. Not that I often eat steaming piles of turd, but you know what I mean. One example is when I popped out for coffee with a friend first thing in the morning. She picked up a beautifully little bite-sized ham & cheese twist whereas I consoled myself with a soya hot chocolate instead. Had I not been vegan, I would totally have started my day with one of those little cheesy, meaty parcels of deliciousness.
- Not eating meat doesn’t bother me. I think this is a mindset thing. Once I have it in my head that there’s certain things that I can’t eat (rules that are set in place by outside forces), then I don’t argue. My inner-voice conversation goes a little like this, ‘Mmmm. Burger with blue cheese and tripled-fried duck fat chips!’ ‘Silly. You can’t have that. Cheese is out of bounds. So is the duck fat. Nice try, though.’ ‘Oh yes, silly me. You’re right.’ And I move onto something that I can have.
- My secondhand cat, Doris, is a lot sadder. Doris is the kind of cat who wants to know exactly what you’re eating. Even better if it’s a bowl of cheesy pasta, or salmon with cream cheese, or sausages, or chicken balls from the Chinese takeaway a couple of doors down. Every time I sit down with a bowl of food, she hope over in anticipation. I can literally see the droop in her ears as she realizes that I’m eating ‘rabbit food’ again.
- Roasting vegetables is so easy. It literally takes 10 minutes to prepare and in the 40 minutes or so that your veg is roasting, you can have a shower, pop to the shops, go for a jog and voila! Your food is ready by the time you’re back.
- I lack imagination. Which isn’t altogether a bad thing. I’ve stuck to mostly tried and tested recipes, with the odd exception of an experiment here or there with vegan brownies. However, it does mean that you easily run out of ideas for what to eat. The other night, at risk of eating nothing but air for lunch, I popped out with a vague idea of what I could and came back with ingredients that didn’t naturally fit together. So I roasted and boiled them and blended them all together to make black bean, mushroom and aubergine soup. It looked like something that happens after you’ve eaten something disagreeable. The taste would have been pretty good, had the visuals not been so off-putting.
- Most people are accepting and some are even, dare I say it, respectful of your vegan choices. A lot of restaurants, especially those you wouldn’t normally think would easily cater to special dietary requirements, were surprisingly helpful. For example, GBK helped point me in the right direction, as did a little brunch place by Highgate.
- It’s making me think weirdly about meat. I’ve always had a slight twinge of horror when I think about what I’m eating, especially if I’m eating medium/rare steak. However, it’s become even more extreme
- I really miss cheese. I miss the fact that it makes everything taste amazing. I miss real macaroni cheese. And cheese on bread. And parmesan with risotto. And just cheese on its own. Cheese is just pretty awesome.
- There are a hell of a lot of products that either contain animal extracts or have used animal bits during their processing. For example, refined sugar, some beer, some wine, some cider. And that’s just food. Don’t get me started about skincare products…