On the first of October I became vegan. Well tried to – it is definitely a work in progress and not without its challenges – let me talk you through my journey so far. My immediate obstacle for this challenge was that for the first week I was away for work in Indonesia. The two biggest hurdles were major language barriers and the fact that I was running around (I’m a project manager) for 20 hours a day and needed quick, convenient fuel whilst dealing with hundreds of delegates, in 32 degree heat.
I started out well, having requested vegan meals for 40 hours’ worth of flights; I was fed first as a special dietary, and it was by far the best plane food I’ve had (and I’ve had a lot). That being said, on day one I failed almost immediately. The hotel we were staying at offered a beautiful breakfast buffet where you could have everything from freshly cooked waffles to sushi (and everything you could possibly imagine in-between). I can’t remember exactly what I had but it did include tofu dim sum – only the tofu turned out to be pork and/or chicken. That was my first fail, day two’s fail came in the form of tomato soup that turned out to be tomato and beef (I’m assuming beef-stock as there was no visible meat). And I’m sure there were other failings on each day that I perhaps wasn’t aware of (the language barrier was a tricky one to negotiate), however I tried my best and didn’t beat myself up too much – I had to be flexible whilst working and I certainly didn’t, and don’t, want to be militant about it – I want my journey to be inspirational and inclusive.
By no means would I consider myself a big meat eater – I enjoy fish, some white meat and dairy products but mostly I eat a lot of veggies and eat quite cleanly. That being said, I am going to miss bacon, really, really crispy bacon, and butter, and cheese, and eggs, and ice-cream (although I think Ben and Jerry’s have me covered here), and chocolate, and McDonald’s Chicken nuggets, and my husband’s carbonara. But if I can embrace running (definitely more jogging/fast walking) and an overall healthier lifestyle, then I’ve got this covered.
As an organiser by trade I think I will have to apply the same strategies that I use in planning my events to food prepping and meal planning. Although I’m no chef – my better half does all of the shopping and cooking. Supermarkets cause me all manner of stresses so I avoid them at all costs, and I’m not patient enough to cook – in exchange I keep things clean, which suits me as I enjoy cleaning, and like things spotless (whereas my other half has been known to do so little washing up that he decided to do it in the bath when he eventually got around to it, due to the sheer volume of pots).
I actually just bought myself a duster buster and it has revolutionised my life – I can hoover the counter tops to my heart’s content! Anyway, I’m getting distracted (let’s blame the jetlag), back to this vegan challenge. I think it will be just that, a challenge. I need to re-educate myself about food, where it comes from, the environmental impact, the health impact – the list is endless, and hopefully I’ll come away from this with some (any) culinary skills.
I’m also looking forward to embracing the health benefits and I really hope it sticks and that it’s something I can commit to for the long-haul. I’ve needed to lose a bit of weight for a while now and I’m hoping this diet will help me along – I always endeavour to test/improve myself (Dry January, Sober October, Slim Fast, Slimming World…it’s a long list) but due to a terrible lack of will power, I rarely see any of them through. But this time I will, for two reasons; firstly I’m doing it with one of my best friends, a fellow Ambler, who has a lot more will power than I do (she’s my good influence on a night out), and secondly I think by documenting my journey online I will be more accountable and less likely to quit. The other big reason I’m doing this is because I’m so oblivious to how or where our food comes from, and I think this applies largely across society, we tend to turn a blind eye – particularly to things that are unpleasant. Even if I decide not to continue being a vegan once the month is up, I would like to at least understand my food’s journey and make any decisions based on facts rather than marketing.
I’m sure I’ll continue to trip up along the way and that’s where you guys come in – if anyone has any tips, tricks or recommendations that will make this journey slightly less daunting please share them with me! I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes, wish me (and my long suffering, patient husband…) good luck as I transition from a fussy meat eater to full on vegan. Watch this plate, I mean space!