My sister is taking part in Veganuary as her birthday present to me. She is an omnivore so this is a real challenge. Below is her account of eating animal-free for a month.
I woke up at around 4:30am feeling really rough. Too much champagne. Then I suddenly remembered that I wouldn’t be able to ease this hangover in the morning with cereal and milk. That was a tough realisation. I’m already considering breaking veganuary, just for the first morning.
Breakfast: 3 slices of fruit bread, toasted, with vitalite dairy-free spread.
Once I had got up, I realised that I wasn’t actually in danger of having cow’s milk on my cereal – we are doing veganuary so that’s not an option. It really helps that James is doing it too, and he’s definitely not going to break it, so this has spurred me on somewhat. I did have another tough realisation though, while preparing breakfast. My fruit toast wouldn’t be dripping with salty butter. Nor would I have a milky cup of tea to accompany it. The vitalite wasn’t that bad though. It even melted a bit!
We have soya milk and almond milk in the fridge, but I’m not going to substitute milk for those things unless I’m cooking – I’d rather not have milk at all rather than have something that tastes and feels completely different. I don’t need cereal that much. Plus, earl grey tea with lemon is brilliant.
Lunch: Beans on toast.
We have already reverted to Anna’s very useful ‘can’t be bothered to cook – how do I eat vegan?’ list. It’s new years day for goodness’ sake!! The vegan cheese isn’t great – it doesn’t melt, and it sticks to itself when I try to pick up a handful of grated stuff. It makes it look nice though.
Dinner: Pasta with peppers, tomatoes, onions, sweetcorn and pesto.
This is a meal I would normally eat. With cheese though. We avoid the vegan cheese this evening, giving our pasta an extra dollop of delicious olive oil. It’s completely yummy, but not as filling as what I’m used to.
This is already a tough challenge. It’s harder starting on 1st January than I gave it credit for. Eating vegan requires forethought and planning, and I’m just not particularly in the zone yet. At least I can drink wine.
Breakfast: 3 slices of fruit bread, toasted, with vitalite dairy-free spread. I’m already running out of fruit toast.
Lunch: Tomato soup.
I went to a friend’s for lunch today, and didn’t want to impress my temporary vegan diet on her, so was prepared to eat whatever she fed me. However, it just so happened that she had been planning soup and one of the soups in the fridge was indeed vegan. Bread and soup! Yummy.
Dinner: Vegetable lasagne.
I made a vegan Bolognese: brown lentils, mushrooms, tomatoes, kidney beans, onions and red wine. That in itself looked pretty delicious but I persisted with my more-time-consuming idea of vegetable lasagne. I made a white sauce with the almond milk and vegan cheese (why does it stick to my fingers when I pick it up?!?!) which took longer than a usual milk béchamel, mainly because I was unfamiliar with how it was meant to feel. I added a mashed potato layer as I wanted to have an extra dimension of creamy comfort. It worked! I’m utterly full as I write this. Completely yummy, although I did spend the whole meal wondering why it tasted nutty. That would be the almond milk then.
Breakfast: The last of the fruit toast.
Lunch: Pea, tarragon, leek (and 3 other green things that I can’t remember!) soup from Lulu.
Dinner: Left-over vegetable lasagne with veg on the side. Very satisfying!
Breakfast: Toast with marmalade. I wish the vegan butter would melt a bit better.
Lunch: Potato salad, sweet potato salad (from the shop), tomato and avocado salad, and salad.
I would ordinarily smother this kind of meal with mayonnaise, but that’s not an option today, so I try with a bit of babaganoush. It’s good.
The main thing I’m noticing is that I’m thinking about food lots – and not in a particularly good way. I’m having to plan what we’re eating a lot rather than just going with the flow, and I’m taking all the food responsibility on myself rather than [my husband] James doing it (he normally entirely sorts out all meals, but I feel that I should be pulling my weight more here as it’s my sister who has requested we do this). It is really tricky with a baby. I find myself starting to cook dinner at breakfast time, otherwise I cannot guarantee that I’ll have time later in the day.
Dinner: Bean stew
I followed a recipe that was recommended on Facebook by James’s sister, from an article about Italian food that was ‘incidentally vegan.’ It was a really basic recipe: beans, potatoes, tomatoes, onion and garlic, but the way that simple food like this is made delicious is by cooking it for hours! Luckily it is a case of preparing it, then leaving it, so I was able to get on with baby-related things while it was on the hob. It’ll make loads of left-overs too!
Breakfast: Toast and jam.
Lunch: Left-over bean stew. This’ll last for ages!
Dinner: Thai curry.
We are very excited about this. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any vegan prawn crackers at the supermarket (I know that sounds like an obvious fact, but we often get vegan crackers when we go out for a Thai). Ordinarily, a Thai curry has one variety of veg (at the most!) and one of meat, so we bought lots of crudité types of veg and put them in. Very tasty, and such an easy dish to do.
Breakfast: Toast and jam.
Lunch: Party food.
Today presented its first hurdle, which unfortunately I fell at. We went to a children’s party (popular at this time of year, as I have a January baby and all his friends are turning 1) so you can imagine the types of food available. This is a really difficult situation, but one that I feel I can’t impress my current diet on. If we had been out at a restaurant or café, I certainly would have ordered vegan, but when a friend caters, it’s not easy to request that my current temporary diet is provided for.
Dinner: Left-over Thai curry. Curry is always better as left-overs. Happy days.
Breakfast: Toast and jam.
Lunch: Another party, so to avoid yesterday’s difficulties, we ate at home before going. Then arrived at the party to find the most amazing Indian spread, which involved loads of veg pakoras, onion bahjis and delicious bread. I ate a lot!
Dinner: takeaway curry. Just because I haven’t eaten enough Indian food today.
Our birthday! And my first day of a new job (I work as a teacher and have just finished maternity leave).
Breakfast: Toast and jam, and beans on toast when I got to school
Lunch: vegetable tagine from the school canteen
Dinner: Italian restaurant
I [Sarah] had the tomato pasta and Anna had a pizza with no cheese. Plus olives, bread and olive oil.