Firstly, I want to say that I fully acknowledge that seven days a vegan isn’t particularly challenging. Fellow ‘Vegan Spherer’ Alicia has been doing it for lent and I tip my hat to her.
I, however, am a red blooded male from the North of England, a place where a meal without any meat is not a meal, a vegan is somebody who eats rabbit food and I simply could not commit to more than seven days.
I enlisted the help of a couple of my friends, Marcus Spittal and Sophie Talbot and together we swapped the bacon sandwiches for the black bean and cress medleys. Here’s how we found it:
It’s Tuesday morning. Yes, we should have started on a Monday but we weren’t mentally or practically prepared for veganism on a Monday.
After being awake for just 15 minutes, I had realised I couldn’t have my Whey protein, Marcus realised he couldn’t have Coco-pops and Sophie simply decided against eating. Lesson number one- Being vegan requires preparation.
For my lunch, I visited the University cafe and selected a falafel wrap. I had high hopes for it. It tasted like a compost bin and cost me the best part of a fiver. Incidentally, I could have had a full English at the Cafe down the road for the same price and I doubt half of that would have ended up in the bin.
We have decided to compare various aspects of veganism, we will be using vegan shampoos and shower gels. Sophie has stopped using any of her make-up that was tested on animals (permanently).
We also decided to weigh ourselves and totaled up our normal weekly food budgets ready to compare it with our bill come the end of the seven days.
After my lunch had both tasted like, and ended up, in a bin, I was apprehensive about the week ahead. Sophie had agreed to make tonight’s diner and I was apprehensive about Sophie’s cooking.
In the end, she made a Vegan Quorn and cashew curry. Truthfully, it was really nice but not overly filling. We all agreed the texture of the Quorn was a bit unusual but edible. I actually enjoyed it more than I let on.
By the time I’d munched through some after-dinner snacks, I hadn’t hugged a single tree and was starting to think this whole thing might not be too bad after all…
We approached day 2 with a renewed vigor. I introduced more fruit into my diet and substituted the milk in my coffee for Coconut milk. Having tried Soya and Almond milk prior to this, Coconut was the lesser of three evils.
Marcus seems to be eating a lot of avacado and staring longingly at boxes of coco-pops.
Sophie made a vegan kebab for lunch, she couldn’t remember what the ingredients were and forgot to send me a picture before she ate it. She promised me it was vegan and also said it was, “peng”.
England were playing Germany, which very much limited my eagerness to cook something expansive. I went with a green vegetable pasta.
I won’t insult you by posting a recipe. It was gluten free pasta, vegan-friendly pesto, some vegan cheese and any vegetable we could find. Once again this was an enjoyable meal but not too filling and I found myself cracking open the bananas and Doritos to quell the rumble in my stomach.
They really should display in big letters if products are suitable for vegans. I’ve had to book an eye test next week due to all the squinting. I also think I may become the first student to fail their course due to spending too much time staring at food packaging.
Marcus visited Chipotle this afternoon. Their vegan option is a burrito with blocks of tofu, but they didn’t have any. So instead, he had some seasoned lettuce with a few beans in a burrito. Who needs chicken?
If you can look past my melodrama, you’ll see the important points I’m trying to raise.
Other than this, the three of us have found veganism progressively easier. The pittas we made with veggies and spicy Mexican rice were delightful and would make a great quick-lunch for anyone.
Finally Friday is upon us. After a long week, mostly spent googling “is ___ vegan?”, the weekend has arrived.
On a side-note, I’ve noticed that many of the ads I’m seeing online are offering vegan products. It’s taken just four days for my computer to work out I’ve changed my diet. Quite neat if you ask me.
Anyway, our Friday night treat was vegan veggie burgers. Looking through my ingredients: carrots, courguette and onion (mainly), I was not optimistic.
However, after a messy 60 minutes, they were delicious. Not a scratch on a real burger, but still, very enjoyable. They cost me about four or five pound to make and served four people. Here’s how we did it.
We also discovered a Sainsbury’s brand of chocolate suitable for vegans, and it it was edible. A quality I value quite highly when it comes to food.
Usually Saturday mornings are a wonderful time for me. Beginning with a Bacon sandwich, or a full english or something meaty. This morning however, down to simply a lack of other options, I had a left-over veggie burger. It was only slightly above average second time.
Marcus seems like he’s beginning to enjoy himself. He was extremely complimentary towards McDonalds vegan sandwich. He picked up some coconut flakes covered in dark chocolate as well.
Sophie was worried about straying to the meat-side of the force at work. However the chef cooked her a salad with sundried Tomatoes, green beans, peppers and double-cooked chips. Which, admittedly, looks sensational.
I’ve decided to watch Cowspiracy later, to gauge my reaction after being vegan for nearly a week. I want to see if I’m more of a believer now than previously. I’m sceptical.
Marcus is insisting we have a roast dinner at the end of the seven days. So it’s going to have to be some documentary.
I feel like Paula Radcliffe at the end of a marathon. The finish line is in sight and just a short porta-loo break stands between us.
We all agree that we thought being a vegan would be tough. Let’s face it though, doing it for seven days isn’t particularly challenging. We haven’t found it tough or succumb to the urges to sneak off and grab a bacon sandwich.
It would be tough, however, to go from being a meat-eater to a vegan permanently. Personally, I feel I couldn’t do it for any longer than seven days. Not because I’m a meat-slave to the cruel corporate world. Just simply because I don’t believe.
I have a soul and I agree that make-up doesn’t need to be tested on little bunny rabbits. I don’t think you should put lipstick on a cow (watched Cowspiracy, very moo-ving), not just because it’s cruel, also because it would look foolish.
None of us will be giving up meat permanently, but we have a new found respect for vegans. Before, I saw vegan diets as something alien, unrealistic and, to be honest, ridiculous. However, it is attainable and actually quite easy to eat vegan in the short term. In the long term however, it takes serious commitment and honest belief in what you are doing.
Vegans: you have my respect, but you shall never take my bacon.
By Adam Russell