I’ve been vegetarian for around 12-13 years, since I bought a Goldfinger album which contained some brutal information about slaughterhouses in the sleeve, and heard their songs with animal rights messages like Open Your Eyes and Behind The Mask. I declared to my parents as I returned home from that same shopping trip, having read the album booklet on the way back, that I was now vegetarian. (They were fine with it, except my dad was understandably mildly irritated that he had just been to Sainsbury’s and now had to go back out so I had food to eat!)
For years I’ve been a very happy and content vegetarian. I haven’t missed meat at all; in fact, I barely liked it anyway (I practically only ate chicken) and so it was an unusually easy transition for me. Throughout my vegetarian years I’ve found it easy to be quite strict, eschewing fish, gelatine and non-vegetarian parmesan. But I always held off from taking the next step to veganism, thinking about how much I love cheese and chocolate snacks like Minstrels and Maltesers.
Suddenly, though, practically out of nowhere, I’ve been filled with a new resolve. It partially came from watching Cowspiracy and What The Health last week, the former helping to remind me of the environmental impacts of dairy as part of the wider animal agriculture industry. I felt that not eating meat or dairy is the simplest thing I could do to help the environment. Plus I’ve always been aware in the back of my mind that dairy farming is just as cruel and often inhumane as farming for meat, but now I feel less inclined to ignore it.
So, I’m attempting to make the transition to veganism. I don’t see the point in wasting any animal products I already have so am currently finishing off my Nutella, butter, ice cream and so on, and will continue wearing my Doc Martens (although they have an awesome new vegan range now, which I’d recommend checking out!)
I’ve been to Sainsbury’s and bought a few different types of milk to try and compare – so far, I’ve got rice, soy light and soy unsweetened (all Alpro) in the fridge, but I also want to try almond. I’ve also been enjoying the Alpro chocolate soy milk as a treat in the evenings, and took note of their yoghurt-style puddings to try.
A lot of what I cook for dinner has been vegan for a while, with the exception of pasta or Mexican dishes with cheese, but I can easily make them without that. Yesterday, for example, I made a sweet potato, spinach and lentil dahl, something I would have made anyway. I also make vegetable pots (roasted vegetables, black beans and couscous) for my lunches each week which again is already vegan.
Eating out, I was really impressed with both Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Ask Italian this week. GBK had a delicious vegan burger on the menu, the Dippy Hippy, and the mango and coconut shake meant I didn’t even miss my usual Oreo shake too much. And in Ask, I had some great dough balls, a prima pizza with mozzarella alternative cheese and the raspberry sorbet, all of which I really enjoyed.
The real challenge will come when I’ve totally run out of all my normal sweet stuff – today I polished off some mini eggs and a Creme Egg I had in the cupboard. I’ve already been doing a bit of research into what I can enjoy though – I’m pleased to see that Lola’s Cupcakes always has a good vegan selection, and Oreos and Bourneville chocolate are both allowed.