Once, twice, three months a vegan.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

It's been just over three months or so since I first started eating vegan (I began to switch over properly a while before I posted about it online and started actually calling myself a vegan), so I just thought I'd write a quick update and let everyone know how I'm getting on.

One of the things that omnivores always bring up whenever anyone mentions vegetarianism or veganism is 'but won't you miss bacon/cheese/dairy/etc.?!' and honestly, I haven't really noticed much of a difference.  Once you get used to eating a particular diet, it becomes normal and you don't find yourself gravitating towards your old favourites as much as you used to, in the same way that just switching over to a healthier diet means that you don't crave fatty or sugary foods as often.  I used to always want cheese and crackers, but now I always want chutneys or hummus, olives etc. for example.  When I cook bacon for my partner now, it seems I'm at the stage where even the smell and look of even bacon just doesn't even remotely appeal to me any more, and I used to love bacon.  I'm sure I'd still be okay with the taste, but I bet it won't be as nice as I remembered it and I don't really find it worth putting it into my body any more when it doesn't even feel all that great after I've eaten it.

One weird craving I have noticed though, is that I've been really lusting after fried chicken?!  I never even ate it that much when I was eating meat and never particularly wanted it when I was pescatarian and vegetarian either, so I don't know what that's all about.  I haven't really found a substitute for it either so that's probably part of why I find myself thinking about it quite often.  One thing I will say though, is that when I do think about or want meat or dairy or eggs, it's always in a junk food or comfort food or convenience scenario.  It's not that I really need it or that my body even wants it, it's that I just want to sit and shove something - anything - greasy and unhealthy down my throat.

I've been feeling pretty good health-wise; I certainly haven't noticed any ill-effects other than eating way too many baked goods because I've been experimenting in the kitchen so much!  I don't know for sure because I don't weigh myself, but I have a feeling that despite not going to the gym very much this past few months due to injury, I have still been losing a tiny bit of weight as well.  I'm less likely to bloat or feel sick from food, and I've been genuinely enjoying all of the healthy, nutritious meals I've been cooking.  I probably haven't eaten this well in my entire life and I regularly have my five portions of fruit or vegetables per day.  I am pretty tired at the moment but I don't think it's to do with my diet because I experienced the same long term fatigue last winter when I was still eating white meat and fish once every week or so, so I'm guessing it's the early mornings and change of weather and lighting instead.

I'm still making mistakes; at work I had some hot chocolate that was in the office without even thinking about it and then suddenly thought oh crap, I bet this has milk powder in it (it did).  I'm also not being super strict about it in restaurants and pubs and so on.  Having to ask for my meal to be changed or ask what's in things makes me extremely anxious (if everything was a self-checkout and I didn't have to speak to a human ever I would be over the moon) so instead I've just been opting for things that I'm 99% sure are vegan or that at least have no logical reason to not be vegan, without questioning exactly what's in it.  It could well be that the pizza doughs I've been enjoying have whey or egg in or that certain sauces are cooked with butter, but I'll cross that bridge when I feel ready.

In other circumstances, I just pick the vegetarian option or ask for things without cheese even if they may still contain butter or milk for example, because sadly plenty of places still don't even have one appetising vegan option on the menu, and there are just some situations where I can't be as vegan as I'd like.  At the end of last month when we went on a walk, we went back for some drinks and a meal at the pub we started the walk from, and every single item was non-vegan, but it being nearly 3pm and having not eaten anything since 10am and having been walking for two and a half hours, I wasn't really in the right mind or position to say no to food, so just had the next best thing.

I don't really feel guilty about not getting it right when I do screw up, it's more that I feel frustrated that it's even an issue in the first place.  It shouldn't be as difficult as it is to find just one decent item on a menu that doesn't have animal products in and I dread to think how difficult it is to eat out or buy ready made foods as it is for people who are horribly allergic to dairy, for example.  At least if I'm too much of an anxious weenie to ask for something to be made just for me, I can still eat something on the menu and not get sick.

People have been reacting reasonably well, although I do find myself getting annoyed by some comments.  There are those who seem to think that it's just a phase and like to keep reminding me that I don't have to stick to it and, well, I might not still be vegan in 1 or 5 or 10 years' time but you don't need to keep saying it and treating it like some trendy thing I decided to do on a whim.  I think some folks confuse veganism as an informed, ethical and environmental choice with just being on a fad diet or something that people need to be reminded that they don't have to follow.  My mum has been really sweet about it though, we're going to stay with her this weekend and she's already planning a vegan menu that we can all enjoy together and has been updating me on all of the vegan meals she's been cooking.

All in all, so far so good!  If you've gone veggie or vegan, how did you find your first few months of it?  Let me know!

2 comments

  1. Congrats on being vegan for three months! I think I lasted 7 months and then went back to being veggie and have been veggie for 9 years. I found it really hard to go to restaurants when vegan. It was almost impossible. Now I just try and eat vegan at home. But I think your method of just picking the veggie option and being relaxed is the best way to be! Good luck!

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    1. Thank you! Who knows if I'll still be vegan in a few years time, but whatever happens I'm glad I'm giving it a go. I agree that restaurants are the worst, especially depending on where you live. Locally there's almost nowhere decent that has even accidentally vegan options. :/

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