I know what you’re thinking…
How did I go from swimming in pools of Gouda to bubble baths of cashew feta? How can it Brie so? Did I join a cult? Have I belly-flopped in one too many almond lattes? Did I accidentally eat the wrong kind of mushroom?
Well, it all started from just one word.
The dreaded ‘V’ word…
We all know it. The word that makes butchers shiver and dairy farmers keel over. The one word that can bring a conversation to a halt, in exchange for a team of death stares and intense eye rolls. And transform a group of individuals into experienced health practitioners, environmentalists and personal trainers – after just one murmur…
V E G A N
(don don donnn)
Some may think it belongs as the title of the next horror flick. Starring a tribe of malnourished, brainwashed hippies – foraging leaves with their grey skin and judgemental eyes (*Enter – White Walker).
Well, you may be pleased to know that a linen tie dye shirt and dreadlocks are not mandatory. Mary learnt this the hard way. So save yourself the group intervention and hold back on the wardrobe arts and crafts. (My poor swim cap will never be the same after Mary’s 2016 tie dye phase).
I’m happy to report, that Kyle’s competitive streak is the only dangerous thing I have come across since going vegan.
So, if the green life takes your fancy – then keep on scrolling…
It’s time to cut the bull.
1) Kitchen Re-Vamp: It’s time to go all – 60 minute makeover – on your fridge. Now, you don’t need Peter Andre there to assist you in your cupboard transformation (but some ‘Mysterious Girl’ background music is encouraged). There is no need to waste any food so either – a) Eat the food you have in. Then begin to build your own veggie empire. OR – b) Give away food to friends, family or homeless shelters near by. Then buy in any ‘holy moly – that can’t be vegan?’ food that takes your fancy, and see what makes your sexy body go boom boom boom. * There will be a post up soon from Sally – for those of you who don’t get to buy your own food/live with your guardians/food dictators.
2) One Meal a Day: Approaching veganism can be like approaching a relationship. So whether you’re more of a ‘one day at a time’ kinda guy like myself, or a ‘one day ditcher’ like Mary. Try not to freak out if your lunch date doesn’t transpire into dinner when starting out.
*For all of the commitment-phobes out there. Simply start with brekky:
– Toast, bagels, crumpets, porridge, cereal, smoothies, fruit, pancakes, juice etc…
3) Subbing: To cha cha slide over to the green side without feeling like you’re having a Britney 2007 fiasco, try some simple food swaps:
Butter topping – Dairy free butter, avocado, coconut butter, tahini, butternut squash (pureed), nut butters, seed butters.
Chocolate (priorities) – Dark chocolate, dairy free milk + white chocolate, cacao, carob powder. (And if you come across a chocolate VEGO bar – I highly recommend you try one)
Cows milk – almond milk, hemp milk, oat milk, rice milk, coconut milk, hazelnut milk, mac nut milk, soy milk etc…
Eggs (baking) – Apples sauce, banana, flax seeds, egg replacers, etc…
Egg whites – Agar powder, Aquafaba etc…
Ice cream – Dairy free ice-cream, sorbet, banana nice-cream (frozen bananas blended). *Ben + Jerry and Haagen-Daz have also just released a range of dairy free ice-cream flavours.
Cream – Dairy free cream, coconut cream/milk whipped, cashew cream.
Sour cream – Plain soy yoghurt
Mayonnaise – Vegan mayo kept in the ‘free from’ section in supermarkets, in health food stores or online.
Meat, poultry, fish – Veggie/meat replacer products (e.g. Fry Family Food, Linda McCartney, Gardein) Or you could opt to try out some – tofu, tempeh, seitan etc…
Yoghurt – Coconut, soy, almond, rice yoghurt.
Cheese – Dairy free cheese, nutritional yeast, nut cheese (cashew, almond, etc…) – cottage cheese (crumbled tofu). * Products labelled as ‘Lactose Free’ are not always free from dairy – so it’s best to double check the ingredients to make sure *
All of the above can be found in your local supermarket (in both the fridge, freezer and ‘Free From’ section). They also can be found in health food stores or online.
4) Your new BFF – The Freezer : Not only because you will have no friends when you turn vegan, but also because of its arctic qualities…
Yes, that icy cold cave perched in the kitchen can either be the perfect summer getaway, or used as a ‘back-up’ treasure trove – stocked up with frozen delights. Ready, for when those – 2am drunken chef – moments strike.
-Load up the shelves:
-Bread, pitas, bagels, crumpets… : Toast them up whenever you fancy.
-Frozen veg – For when you need an extra dash of peas to go with your bangers and mash.
-Frozen fruit: Blend/add to porridge/sass up your water.
-Meat subs: Burgers, sausages, nuggets, sausage rolls…
5) Nerd up: Grab your favourite lady/fella – and have a documentary nerd out night. Dive into some snacks, books, snacks, videos, snacks, maybe even a little wine… Then one glass of merlot and 5 minutes into ‘Earthlings’ later, and the next thing you know – It’s 1 in the morning, you’ve signed up to – Save The Whales – and ordered yourself a ‘fish are friends not food’ t-shirt.
6) Keep it simple: It’s easy to get lost in the world of dehydrators, spiralizers and food processors. Feel free to get fancy if you want to. But don’t feel like you have to go all gourmet when all you really want is beans on toast.
7) Hashtag Vegan: If you find yourself zombie scrolling through every app on your phone – then get some inspiring people on there. Join some groups. Go to a vegan festival. (The – ‘Meet up’ – app is a great way to meet other cult members).
8) Nutrient check: You can eat a diet high in animal products and still be low in certain vitamins just as you can on a veggie diet. So make sure your bloods are in check on the regular (no matter what you eat). All of my blood tests – over 3 years – have shown no deficiencies. The vitamin – B12 (the one that you may have never even heard of before searching a vegan diet) suddenly becomes the most concerning of them all. You can supplement B12 in a tablet/spray form or have it injected. I personally opt for the tasty option (of course) and eat foods that are fortified in B12, such as – nutritional yeast and plant milks.
9) Grow a pear: You may find the odd person now and then thinking you’re bonkers. But if you want to go vegan – go for it. Throw yourself a watermelon pool party. Heck – throw a little vodka in there if you fancy. Simply start with easy food swaps. Then see what cruelty/animal free – clothes, beauty products, etc… that you can buy instead.
10) Everyone stay in your seats and remain calm: We are all different – and just like with non-plant based foods – you will find foods that you love, hate, can’t pronounce and maybe have never even heard of. So try not to lose your cool trying to understand the difference between cocoa and cacao.
A) Quinoa isn’t compulsory B) You can still eat cookies C) Cheese isn’t air – and you can live without it.
Whether you are tiny or tall, you can make a difference.
And remember – Tie dye just isn’t for everyone.