Archive for why be vegan

Your final meater reading: the end of my vegan July

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2011 by helenperkins

Tomorrow we enter August. That means I am no longer bound by my month-long resolution to avoid consumption of animal products of any sort.

Bring out the fattened calf!

Only joking.

Now I must confess: during July, I slipped up and ate animal stuff on two occasions. I will now come clean to prevent guilt from crushing me in my bed.

Last weekend, when my lovely parents came to help me move house they took me out for a meal. Nothing on the menu was vegan. Now, these are my traditionalist folks and they had come over a hundred miles to see me, I wasn’t going to snub their evening out to make a point. So that was a fish soul dedicated to yours truly.

Also, when I first met the woman who leases out my Kendal house she asked me if I wanted a cup of tea. I said yes before even consulting my meat-free brain. Tea = milk, duh, but I was too keen to appear normal and kept quiet. I mean, would you rent your property to a girl who screams ‘Oh, good God no, I can’t drink this! This has been near a living creature.”

As you can see, it is social convention that bends my vegan resolve more than the food stuffs themselves.

So, should we all be taking up veganism, did it make a difference to me, and did my skin fall off?

Firstly, let’s get the negatives out of the way. Be honest, vegan people, being vegan is a pain and a half when if comes to finding an evening meal that isn’t some rubbishy salad or a potato. You pretty much always have to cook something from scratch and that uses up time that most people, e.g. me, want to spend on other things.

After a couple of weeks of high-volume whining, and a diet consisting mostly of beans on toast, I hit the cookery books. I found one in the library called The Vegan Bible. While I can’t say I was stunned by the recipes I tried I did have some nice meals – ones perhaps even my carnivorous Dad might appreciate.

There was a big sense of satisfaction in cooking, as there always is with acts of creation. Plus, the study of it did give me a few original conversation starters.

“So, how much do you know about seaweed?”

“Can you pick me up some cilantro? I need it for my vegan parmiagiana.”

Overall though, a massive pain. The first supermarket to create a set of vegan ready meals is going to rake in the money.

 The next thing that frustrated me is all the self righteousness, hypochondria, arrogance, and confusion, which surrounds and sometimes emanates from Planet Vegan.

You get smart-arsed drunks, leaning back on the bar and talking at you with a smug tone suggesting you are a small bug and they will soon squash you with their omnipotence.

Their question arrives, dripping with self-satisfaction.

“So then, why have we got canine teeth? Eh? Eh? We’ve been given them to eat meat.”

Oh. Come on now bar bloke. Canine teeth are not divine instruction to chomp pig, just as they don’t necessarily mean you’re an actual dog.

It’s not just the vegan-haters who came across to me as slightly bonkers. I signed up for a newsletter from the Vegan Society and was sent a magazine with guidelines on ‘How to talk to carnists’ (meat eaters) on the front cover.

I don’t know why but both vegans and run of the mill Brits feel the need to draw strange battlelines. It’s us and them – weedy vegan versus snout-nosed butcher.

Okay, onto the good bits of being feat free.

New food. Vegan ice cream is amazing – in my opinion it is better than the dairy sort. Also, because you’re cooking, you end up taking more time thinking about meals, and so, inevitably your meals get better and less repetitive. This was rewarding, even if it was a pain.

Skin. I have noticed a bit of a skin improvement. Not just a lack of break outs on my face, which I have been known to call ‘my margarita pizza’ but my whole birthday suit has stepped up a bit. It’s difficult to put this all down to veganism, as I’m sure sleep and alcohol and all kinds of crazy women’s stuff plays a part. But, yeah, just maybe a bit better skin.

Energy. Don’t believe all the rubbishy celebrity health gurus, veganism is not the absolute answer to endless energy. For a start, I found I had to spend half my day munching to prevent starving – if I hadn’t I’m pretty sure I’d only have made it to the first Wednesday.

However, at work, I often get bad 3pm crashes – the sort that makes you feel your very soul is being sucked out by the reaper. Contrastingly, this month I got less of a rollercoaster afternoon surge and slump. For me, that is a big deal and a thumbs up to vegan life.

It’s for the reasons above, more than the ethics, that I’ve ended up warming a little to this vegan malarkey. I intend to try to keep it up a couple of days each week.

All the same, I miss fish and I miss scrambled eggs and I’m sure I’ll be tucking in to both. There’s only so much I’m willing to compromise for clear skin.

Tomorrow I’m starting a quit that is an oldie, but a goodie: no swearing. In a newsroom on deadline day it should be a good one to watch, this month I’m interested to see where people swear most and to try to work out why.