I survived a full day as a vegan!
Day 1 saw me on a training course at my workplace’s annex in Arse End. Arse End is a small enclave of London which is mainly industrial estates and a crap Sainsbury’s that never has what you want (even if you’re an omnivore) so I prepared myself by having a breakfast of marmite on knobbly toast with a glass of Vanilla Alpro soya milk before leaving the house. This is nothing new, I’ve been drinking various types of Alpro milk for years as I prefer it to cow’s milk. I also packed a lunch of pitta bread with guacamole and houmous dips, followed by a coconut yoghurt and some seeds.
So far, so good. The first test came during the morning break of the course. Lunch was scheduled quite late, and I was already starving. (I am starving most of the time to be honest). The annex has a small “tuck shop”, which is just a tray of unhealthy items for sale, crisps, chocolate, croissants, etc. The vegan items on this tray were:
- A packet of Murray Mints
- Some cough sweets
- Three packets of chewing gum
I looked longingly at the Caramac and the Creme Egg before picking up the Murray Mints.
After the course I headed into Stratford to visit the health food stores and I picked up some vegan cream cheese, vegan mayo and vegan blue cheese sauce. Dinner was a Vivera burger with Follow Your Heart Pepperjack cheese and my vegan coleslaw substitute of alfafa sprouts mixed with aforementioned mayonnaise. I honestly can’t taste the difference between the mayo and the non vegan variety, except for the price. I have to say that all this vegan food is already costing a fortune. I know veganism doesn’t have to be expensive, but realistically if you’re substituting your usual own-brand cheapo omnivore food with high end vegan equivalents (because there are no cheapo equivalents) it is going to cost more and the only options are a) cough up b) learn to cook c) live on chilli heatwave Doritos and houmous forever, like a guy I dated when I was in my twenties.
I also picked up a coconut-based chocolate bar, which like the coconut based salted caramel yoghurt I wrote about before, was ridiculously nice and ridiculously bad for you. I am fast learning that coconut based sweet things create fat vegans.
The final stumbling block was medication! My ibuprofen, antihistamines and contraceptive pills all contain lactose, and my multivitamins contain gelatine! I have substituted the ibuprofen for cocodamol, the antihistamines for a Pirinase spray and drops, and switched to a vegan multivitamin, but there’s no substitute for the contraceptive pill (I take a particular brand to keep my teenage skin under control). The Vegan Society’s guidelines are that sometimes it’s not possible to make a choice that avoids animals, so this isn’t breaking the vegan law.
This morning I sampled the Follow Your Heart vegan scrambled egg. This is a dubious yellow powder which comes in a far more appealing looking egg box. You mix it with water and scramble it like real eggs. It takes forever to cook, but it’s actually really good. Slightly lacking in flavour, so I think I might mix in some mustard or chilli next time.
So far being an vegan has been quite enjoyable. I’ve quite enjoyed the novelty of finding new foods and breaking junk food habits, though I have to be careful not to form a coconut sweet treat habit instead. I think I’m safe on the Murray Mints though, they don’t seem to be habit forming.