My very first thought upon waking up this morning was “oh no”. A dawning realisation that I have committed to being vegan for 31 days, starting now. Veganuary no longer an abstract concept for the future, but a daily reality. No more milk, cheese, eggs, meat, fish or mince pies.
We’re staying with some friends and I have a real sense of being totally unprepared. I thought we had been doing quite well: trialling different non-dairy milks, switching to non-dairy yoghurt, cooking different vegan meals. But, all of a sudden, it feels like I have been way too casual about the whole thing.
All I have is some oat milk and vegan spread, and some Divine dark chocolate. And we have Party Rings in the car for the journey home later. It doesn’t feel like enough somehow.
I wander downstairs and suddenly notice all of the things I can no longer eat: the cereal and milk on the table, the Chocolate Orange, Maltesers and cookies left on the side from last night. The last solitary mince pie. A slice of pizza. I really fancy cold pizza.
I make do with a banana and make myself a coffee, with oat milk, naturally. I decide to treat myself to a square of dark chocolate to go with it. I feel like I need a little indulgence. I am not coping with this situation as well as I thought I would.
Thankfully we are staying with some fabulous people and my friend is on hand to prepare a yummy vegan breakfast – diced potato, courgette and peppers and some vegan sausages, which are surprisingly good. (I have long been skeptical about non-meat sausages and I have no reason why.)
One meal of three sorted.
After breakfast, we go for a lovely walk in the crisp, sunny, wintry morning. Everything feels right with the world again. When we get back we rustle up some jam sandwiches (with vegan spread) and say farewell. Lunch is a car picnic in an irritatingly placed traffic jam. We enjoy our jam sandwiches, oat biscuits, bananas (slightly concerned I am going to be eating an unhealthy amount of bananas this month!) and Party Rings whilst sitting in stationary traffic, playing “What am I?”. We seem to be managing this okay.
Three hours later and we are hungry again, so our thoughts naturally turn to tea (I warned you food plays a very big role in my life!). I opt for Butternut Squash and Pesto Pasta, which I cook whilst my husband prepares his vegan lunches for the next couple of days – vegan nasi goreng with the leftover vegan sausages. No egg of course. But he’s got his chilli, so hopefully it’ll be passable.
We enjoy our tea, which we even garnish with some Sainsbury’s grated vegan “cheddar-like” cheese gifted from my well-prepared friend. It stank our car out on the journey home, but is actually pretty okay on pasta. I’m not sure I’d nibble it from the bag out of choice though, and it really does smell bad. Mind you, parmesan isn’t exactly renowned for its appetising scent.
Pudding was an orange and a vegan chocolate pudding. A little treat courtesy of my friend and a great way to crown our first day as vegans. The pudding was like a rich chocolate mousse and made with dark chocolate, coconut milk and vanilla. I reckon we could make it ourselves if we put our minds to it. It was delicious.
Now, I am sitting here with my peppermint tea and dark chocolate feeling quite proud that we have made it through Day One relatively unscathed. We have a long way to go, but it hasn’t been a total disaster, yet!
Things I’ve learnt today:
- Our kids prefer vegan cheese to actual cheese (novelty value I presume)
- Parmesan smells like roses compared to its vegan equivalent
- Party Rings are surprisingly satisfying
- Vegan chocolate mousse is delicious
- Veggie sausages are actually quite nice
- I might be quite sick of bananas in 30 days’ time