Do Vegans Dream of Electric Friends?
I say this because I could imagine they must struggle to ever be invited anywhere … I’m thinking ‘robot’ friends might be the only option HAHA That said, It’s been an incredible eye-opener, my vegan journey. And not just from a nutritional standpoint, but it’s given me a whole new perspective on society and how we think about food. Fascinating.
I completed my two-week vegan adventure on a massive physical and emotional high. It forced me to so radically think about my nutrition and my body loved me for it. I had more energy than I knew what to do with, which in turn had an enormous positive impact on my state of mind. Wonderful.
But while my mind and body were loving me, my friends weren’t. Tell somebody you’re a vegan and they look at you in shock, horror and total incredulity. Seriously. I never realised it was a sin, but apparently it’s pretty close to one. On one level I ‘get it’. Veganism and the real world just don’t mix. It’s fine if you’re at home and do all your own cooking and don’t have families to cater for, but in the real world it’s impossible. This was quite interesting in itself. I never realised just how reliant we are on dairy. You can get vegetarian meals everywhere nowadays – but try and find one without cheese and you’re stuffed (or not, fact!)! Even more interesting, there are products all over the place which are labelled ‘vegan’ but when you look at the ingredients they’re not vegan at all! Yet another lesson that one should always read the ingredients! I was reduced to hysteria (in a good way) on more than one occasion during my steep learning curve as I looked for what I thought might be reasonable ‘quick fixes’ for easy meals …. and discovered that so many foods that I thought (obviously without enough thought!!) would be vegan were nothing close: quorn (why did I think that might be an occasional safe substitute?), protein shakes, tinned vegetable or lentil soups, granola, nut breads … the list is endless because I’d go shopping thinking of the best of vegan nutrition but forget how difficult it was to find what’s good without the presence of dairy! Fascinating!
Most interesting of all, though, was people’s perception that veganism is unhealthy. It’s not unhealthy at all. Quite the opposite – but it’s not for the uncommitted, the unadventurous or the idle! That was the key problem. Veganism is hard work – and in a world that relies on fast food, fancy food and/or quick results it doesn’t fit in. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not sitting on a high horse here saying those things are wrong, either. Give me a break – that’s what I eat, too (usually) – but veganism also requires a certain amount of targeted and intelligent focus which most would not be prepared to give. Not to mention that veganism is, frankly, hassle! As a society we eat far too much protein on a daily basis, but a ‘lazy’ or ‘faddy’ vegan will soon see the consequences of probably not getting much protein at all and I can understand that’s a massive problem for the majority of the population. Again, a healthy vegan needs to be on top of their nutrition and I have to admit I spent a lot of time researching exactly where I could get all the protein I needed and making sure I had constant balance in my diet. Combine that with the fact that a healthy diet has got to have variety and yes, veganism takes effort! A daily portion of falafels and lentils just isn’t good enough!
So there you have it. This is the end of any ‘record’ of my vegan travels. ‘Was it worth it and what was the point?’ you ask. Well, the initial ‘point’ was to renew my own interest in food by challenging myself to think about what I was putting into my body. I think I can definitely say that the journey certainly accomplished this and I’ve come away with new knowledge, new tastes and plenty of new meal ideas!
And was it worth it? Well, this week I went back to eating along with the rest of the family – the usual variety of healthy, balanced nutritious meals including meat, fish and dairy. I can’t be arsed to get up off the couch, I feel bloated and I’m grumpy. What can I say!! Lol