First things first, I am not 100% vegan. My sister doesn’t quite understand the concept, and so when I visit her house for dinner or go out for a meal I sometimes won’t stick to it. But for the rest of the time I do actively try to stick to a vegan diet.
This all began about a year ago when my partner did turn 100% certified vegan. In the past he’d eaten a lot of meat and dairy and they made him sick. So he made a change, a really really positive change. And he lost a lot of weight, made himself a lot happier and a lot healthier along the way.
Anybody cohabiting with a partner know’s how difficult it can be to cater to 2 different lifestyles, so I adapted and changed my diet too. And I can honestly say it was the best thing we’ve ever done as a couple.
To begin with it was difficult. Like a lot of people I assumed vegans only ate salads and chickpeas. We do eat a lot of salad and chickpea’s, but there is a lot of readily available food out there which just so happens to be vegan friendly.
I did a lot of research into veganism, and as time has gone on I’ve become more passionate about it. My partner and I are both eco-minded and try to do our best for the world, and this naturally seems like a really good step towards reducing our carbon footprints.
But most of all, we’re happier people for it.
We are excited about cooking.
Something about researching and finding alternative recipes to commonly eaten meat or dairy based foods is really exciting. It’s almost like science. My favourite revelation is aquafaba (aka the water from tins of chickpeas). It’s like miracle juice. You can use it instead of eggs, making mousses and meringues and everything in between.
There is also the experimentation too. Making your own burgers and sausages, and figuring out how to bring that satisfying meaty texture and taste to every meal. I’ve learnt about umami, and probably shout it at least 5 times per meal.
Umami is the savoury taste which comes along with a lot of meat based meals. It makes you go yum. Marmite and soy sauce are good sources of vegan umami. So everything I cook gets a good dash of both, just for good measure.
Our diet is more varied.
When you’re not relying on meat for protein and dairy for calcium you are forced into thinking outside of the box. Chickpeas, soya and seitan are brilliant sources of protein. And it helps that they are all really versatile and changeable ingredients to use.
We also make sure to eat more colours. Even if you don’t know anything about diet or health, you know that the more colours you eat the better your diet will be. Before all this my diet was ashamedly beige, but now it is colourful. Opening our fridge and seeing every colour of the rainbow makes me happy.
Our stomachs feel better.
Both of us suffer with IBS. For many years I felt so poorly every single day that I could barely function as a human being. For my partner it was the meat, for me it is the dairy. But now without either our tummies are thanking us every day.
I would highly recommend looking into a vegan based diet if you suffer with IBS too. Dairy especially is a trigger for so many people. And you don’t need dairy cheese or eggs or anything like that. Violife dairy free cheese is amazing, and so is tofu instead of scrambled eggs.
The desserts are yummier.
Bit of a controversial statement there. But I’d pick a vegan dessert over any other kind of dessert every day of the week. There is something about knowing your dessert isn’t laden with fat that makes every morsel taste just that bit better.
I’m also really partial to dates and nuts, and a lot of vegan desserts rely heavily on both. Who knew you could make a cheesecake by whizzing together some cashews and soya milk?
A few months ago I made some vegan friendly biscuit truffles for a buffet at work, and I got asked for the recipe from 5 people. 2 vegan, 3 omnivores. If that isn’t an achievement I don’t know what is.
There is a sense of community among vegans and vegan supporters.
Veganism has a bad press. Think in your head what you imagine a typical vegan to look like; shaggy hair, hairy armpits, a t-shirt proudly stating their veganism. There is also the idea that it is some sort of elitist cult and you have to be super hardcore to be able to join.
This is all wrong. The vegans I know are normal people, and wouldn’t dream of trying to force their beliefs down any throats. They just want to enjoy their food minus anything made from animals or animal products. Obviously some play right into that stereotype but I’d say they’re few and far between.
Our shopping bills are minuscule.
Our diet relies heavily on carbs like pasta and rice, which we pair with veggies and beans, using passata and soy sauce as the base for our sauces. We also are quite partial to vegan friendly sausages. All of these items are fairly cheap, especially when you consider how much meat now costs.
I would say the dairy products, like cheese, are fairly expensive. But it is completely balanced out by how cheap everything else we buy is. Plus we only buy the branded cheeses because I’ve been left disappointed in the past by supermarket own brands. I should probably put them to the test again though.