I recently saw a post on Facebook from Cancer Research UK inviting people to go vegetarian or vegan for November as a fund-raising activity. Having spent the previous weekend helping to raise money for children with blood cancer I felt I ought to help, plus, for some time I’ve been feeling I would be happier eating less meat, partly for environmental reasons and partly from health reasons, so I relished the challenge. Anyway, I thought, I often have vegetable stir-fries so going vegetarian should be super-easy and vegan wouldn’t be an issue either. Hmm! 10 days in I’m finding it’s not quite as easy as I imagined.
I was working from home all last week, so I decided to start the 4 week challenge early. Out went my favourite breakfast of smashed avocado and poached egg on toast. (Somehow, minus the egg, even with added spices and coriander, avocado is just not quite so appealing.) My weekend visit to the local fishmongers and the thrill of seeing what the local fishermen have caught is now an activity I can’t enjoy. I’ve been dreaming about my favourite salt and pepper squid. My daily cappuccino is also falling off my radar. I’ve tried it with almond milk and coconut milk, both of which taste OK, but there’s an unpleasant curdling appearance that’s rather off-putting. Oat milk is better, but gives my coffee a breakfast taste that I don’t really want for my mid-afternoon pick up, and I’m not keen on the whole GM modification aspect of soya.
On the plus side, I’ve made some great Asian-inspired dinners, have been experimental with salad ingredients, over-dosed on pulses and have generally enjoyed what I’ve cooked. I’ve noticed how colourful my food looks too. I love all nuts, so they’ve been added to lots of things as well as being my go-to snack and I’ve realised it’s not just dairy and meat I’ve cut out, but I’m also consuming less sugar, so I’m hopeful after a month I might even lose some weight. Cooking and eating differently is an inspiration and I have to say I’m feeling pretty good and a couple of people have commented on how bright my skin looks. I do miss cheese and biscuits with a glass of red wine after dinner and a generous portion of grated cheese on pasta and risotto, but I can cope!
However, I’ve realised, that being a vegan in particular is a huge commitment to a whole lifestyle and my whole being has gone beyond just eating to thinking about what I own, what I wear and what I do…… I have several leather jackets and umpteen pairs of shoes, not to mention handbags. Then there’s the leather sofa and a stool and a tub chair….. I guess I already have them, so there’s no use feeling guilty now, but could I go the whole way and never buy anything in suede or leather again, (especially as a Stella McCartney wardrobe is out of my league?) I’m not sure, but it has made me worry about my whole moral stance. Of course I care about animal welfare and I truly respect people who choose not to eat animals on moral grounds, sleep under micro-fibre duvets and avoid down-filled parkas (with real fur round the hoods.) And like most people today, I don’t approve of animal-testing when it comes to cosmetics, but my ‘moral stance’ for the testing of medicine has always been at a slightly different level. I applaud a lot of the work carried out by PETA, and the changes they have achieved in the respect and positive treatment of animals, but I have to admit I’m clearly not a warrior.
Of course, I am still very early into this whole process – I’ve got over 2 weeks to go to achieve my objective, so maybe I’ll change my views over the next couple of weeks. At this point I think I can say I will become more of a flexitarian, maybe even a pescatarian, but we’ll see…
But, if you are a staunch vegan, then I will say, this experience has made me re-evaluate, not just what I eat, but my lifestyle in comparison to that of a committed vegetarian and vegan and I have huge respect for you.
And if you’d like to sponsor me, here’s the link to my page:
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