Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Challenge of being Vegan

Homemade Jerk Vegetables and Rice n Peas

Food, the buying, prepping and cooking of it can be such a pain in the patootey.  Much of our every day is spent thinking, eating and preparing food.  At least in our household full of growing boys to men.

From growing our own to teaching the boys to cook, I am very conscious of the importance of understanding what goes into our bodies and when the opportunity arose to take on a lifestyle change for the purpose of work, I snapped up the offer.  I had an excuse, an event, motivation.

Here is a note of my thoughts and feelings toward a vegan diet and what I learnt.

Many of my friends are Vegan, not being a person to follow trends, even though curiosity, even fascination about the benefits of Veganism, has been eating at me; not following the crowd has been at the forefront of my mind.  I refuse to be a trendy following hipster!  But that video floating around about the 70 year old woman who has been Vegan since her 40s is inspirational to say the least!  I need to be her!
So I guess I start in the position of awe and admiration which is a good place to start.

I won't know what to eat and will starve

Everything had fallen into place and I found something to eat via social media and ideas from friends

It will all be tasteless 'rabbit' food

I actually like 'rabbit food', always did! Carrots, leaves etc... perfect for the UK heatwave.  And NONE of it has been tasteless

I would be mocked by Vegan and non-Vegan alike

Everyone was supportive and helpful

The feeling of missing out

Other than when my husband made  his infamous apple crumble, it has all been OK.  My vegan version was a bitter disappointment, and of course I missed my cream/ice-cream.  But that was only an issue because of lack of planning.  If we had planned it out, we could have bought quality substitutes
The boys were brilliant, even opting to join me for a full day.  It opened up a lot of dialogue and changed their attitudes toward veganism, dispelling myths and fears.  Our language changed.

Zach asked
"is that vegan food?"
My answer "there is no such thing as 'Vegan' food.  Food is just food, vegan is a word that describes a person who chooses to omit foods from animals.  That's all."  Actually it made me think.  Calling something 'Vegan food' instantly puts up barriers and implies negativity.  Like 'healthy' food automatically puts in your mind that something is not tasty, filling or fun.

We don't eat pork.  The boys never have have, and I'd stopped when I was 16 years old.  No real reason, one day it just felt... wrong.  So that was it.  I stopped.

No more spare ribs that I loved, sausages, Bajan Christmas ham, Roast Pork or chops that my mum so expertly seasoned and cooked. I ended our love affair, quite simply, without looking back.  A bit like most of my ex-relationships and quitting smoking!  Quick, simple, mess free!
I actually wondered whether that was it.

But... as with all life changes, it is never that easy.  I fell ill, completely unrelated, and that was it.  The energy needed to prepare something different was no longer there.  I lasted two of the 4 weeks I'd set out for myself.  When you are un-well, the first thing you do is look for comfort, you turn to what you know like a child with a favourite teddy.  For me it had to be chicken soup.  *it kind of sounds like an excuse*.  But honestly I think by the end of week two I was ready to pack it in.  It was just all too sudden for me.  I don't have much in the way of routine as I like to 'go with the flow'. The preparation and planning needed was just not me, not yet.  I would have to put other things into place to be able to effectively change, also research more as to what vitamins I should supplement, and, which foods are high in what I need.  I also, because of my lack of knowledge, ended up frequenting restaurants.  That was not financially viable so could not last too long.  When socialising in eateries with friends, I was often relegated to the salad section of the menu.  Not many places offered vegan options, so eating out in non-vegan restaurants was a chore.

On the upside.  The experience made it possible for me to find good tasty healthy food alternatives to add to my everyday diet.  It also inspired Alexander to experiment with more Vegan recipes, maybe he will make the change and inspire us all to follow suit.

What I ate in pics...

Chick Pea Soup from O'Castello Portuguese restaurant,
extremely tasty but my only option on a dinner out for a friends birthday

Humous wrap from The Lounge Wembley

Home made Porridge with Coconut milk

Disappointing.  My husbands, usually legendary Apple Crumble

Vegan Naan Bread at Neasden Temple

Breakfast at Vegan Hippo, Soho London

Scrambled Tofu with Tofurkey Sausage and beans;Vegan Hippo Soho, London

Apple and kale juice, Vegan Hippo Soho London

Chocolate covered date with a peanut butter filling, Vegan Hippo Soho London

Quinoa Soup from Amelias Vegan Kitchen Wembley

Chocolate and coconut covered dumplings Amelias Vegan Kitchen Wembley

Curried chickpeas with wild rice, Amelias Vegan Kitchen Wembley

Here are links to the restaurants I went to...  The food was soon tasty I didn't feel as though I was missing anything at all.

Amelias Vegan Kitchen - Great Caribbean flavours, hearty and filling

Vegan Hippo - Amazing breakfast, the torfukey sausages are now a staple at our home.  The chocolate covered dates were to die for!

The Lounge Cafe - Wonderful friendly service, super tasty food, the best lunch I had

I will post separate reviews of the places I visited and will share some of the successful recipes with you also..

Tomboy - x -

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