Almost exactly a month ago, I bet an 11-year-old boy (having stuffed myself with cheese fondue and chocolate fountain the night before), that I could be vegan for the entirety of January. He may have ended up with the cash, but I survived!
Veganism is, according to The Vegan Society website, defined as, ‘a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.’
What constitutes ‘as far as is possible and practical’ naturally varies considerably between individuals and circumstances. It is here – in the ambiguity – where I claim victory. Throughout the month, my only consumption of non-vegan products been by accident (I pinkie promise): the time I knew that Pringles were vegan, but not that this excluded the sour cream and onion variety; the time(s) I forgot because I was in a different environment (dauphinoise potatoes and Costa cup of tea); that time I was at a friend’s house and turned a blind eye to the fact that they used butter when they cooked apple crumble. These lapses aside, I was vegan for January. I mean, I returned to London on 3rd January with a bag of Christmas chocolate that I have abstained from, but instead gradually donated to friends. (How f***ing virtuous is that??) I did my best – I went as far as possible and practical. In your face, Jo! You can’t make me part with my dollar!
Tomorrow, I am looking forward to baking chocolate brownies, drinking a glass of milk, and eating cheese until I feel ill (yesterday I bought a big block of cheddar – eeep). My resolve and willpower as the month ends is dwindling quicker than you can say hot chocolate.
For the rest of the time, however, I will undoubtedly be more conscious of the ingredients of the food I eat. I will (I will) be inclined to make vegan make the more vegan choices both in my cooking and when out an about. But first, pizza.
Here are some things I discovered from my stint as a (budget) vegan:
- I will survive
It is possible to survive without cheese on all your food! (I didn’t think this was a conceivable option). There are equivalents of most foods most of which just aren’t the same, although I think (eventually) one acclimatises to watery-flavoured stuff.
- It’s ok to make mistakes
And this doesn’t just include thinking that coconut and white wine would be a decent marriage of ingredients in a risotto. It’s not, btw. Mistakes also include accidently eating non-vegan foods – it’s hard to be super vigilant all of the time – and just needing chocolate sometimes.
- My bread consumption increased exponentially
Fact. This has been my chocolate/snack/everything replacement. When I’m tired or have had a long day of work – I gotta have me some choc.
- Sara Pasco is my new idol
Sara is a very cool. And a vegan. I listened to her book, Animal which is INCREDIBLE; it sheds a whole new light on the female body, and it is personal and emotional, and it is funny.
- Veganism is not popular
I did not enforce my Veganism on others – but did come into trouble when I went to visit the houses of friends. Although all involved were inconceivably kind and understanding, I nonetheless felt oh-so-guilty causing extra hassle.
- More Vegan puddings should exist
Admittedly, this was based on only one experience at the restaurant Bills. BUT THERE WERE NO VEGAN OPTIONS. I should not be confined to just fruit tea. #humanrights
- January feels like it goes on forever
Seriously, why is it not over yet?
- Cheese + Milk = my butter half
I now will really appreciate milk, butter and cheese sooo much more. I love you.
- I need a proper cup of tea
Anyone who knows me (at all), will know that my daily tea consumption can be considered impressive. The hardest thing about January has been not having a proper cuppa: hot water and a tea bag (yes – I have lowered myself to this) just isn’t the same. Nor is just hot water. In regards to tea, I feel like I am depriving myself, not making better options for myself and the environment. I need my tea, ok – I am British after all.