My miserable week as a vegan

What happens when a cheese loving, mayo on the brain girl lives on vegetables and nuts

I’ll admit it, I am a massive food junkie. Sure, i love a good takeaway and comfort food is my best friend, but eating healthy is my thing. Give me good chicken pasta with veg over a chippy any day of the week. Whatever is in your fridge, you name it, i’ll eat it. So when i was given the opportunity to turn vegan for a week – sure it was pretty overwhelming.

Firstly, I’m not one for avoiding food groups – to me food is just food. Secondly, the idea of saying the phrase “yeah, actually I’m vegan” for a week repulsed me. I’ve never understood the purpose of being vegan. To me it seems pretty pretentious. Sure, if you’re an animal lover and want to stay clear of meat, hell, be my guest. But to not eat ice cream because it’s been made with milk naturally produced from cows? Yeah, that bit I find confusing. So this undertaking was surely a challenging one.

Discovering all the things i wasn’t allowed to eat forced me into the five stages of grief. First, there was denial and anger. No Katie, you can’t have mayonnaise with your chips.  WHAT? No, you’re lying! This can’t be happening. Who came up with this atrocious idea? I’ll break their fingers! Why, oh why is the universe doing this to me?! Next, there was bargaining.  No Katie, you can’t ignore the fact it says milk powder! But why? It’s only milk powder! Is that even a real thing? I bet it doesn’t even come from real cows! They must be fake cows! And finally, there was depression and acceptance.

I can honestly say, i have never been sick of eating oreos in my life, but the endless servings of these tasty treats to fulfill my sweet cravings was enough to make me depressed. But of course, i had accepted my fate, and began to attempt to enjoy toast without butter, pasta without chicken, and basically – life without food.

One thing i did love about this challenge, was experimenting with the limited choices of food i was given. I made dishes that were a lot more delicious than first presumed. Peppers stuffed with couscous, spicy vegan burgers, lentil soup, broccoli dipped in crispy breadcrumbs, and anything with hummus were the main meals of my day. Despite how this new diet made me want to rip my hair out, I looked forward to figuring out what my meals were each day. I developed a new love for fruit, i discovered that coconut milk is life, and that it is possible to eat meals without cheese.

But, i must admit, there were more cons than pros to this little food challenge. First, food shopping is an absolute nightmare! Who knew that diary is in EVERYTHING…and i mean everything. Soup, pizza, plain flatbread, EVERY SINGLE PASTA SAUCE IMAGINABLE, margarine, curry sauce, even QUORN CHICKEN! Let’s just say, spending hours walking round Asda searching for diary/meat free foods did not make my Dad a happy bunny. Second, eating out is basically impossible. God knows how vegan socialise with their friends. So, you want to go out for a meal with your friends? Pretty normal, right? Well unless you’re planning on going to a hippie vegan restaurant that smells like beans, than get that idea out of your head, because you can’t eat anywhere.

I would like to point out, if you are going to become vegan for a diet and to lose weight, one word – don’t. Of course, in 2013, Beyonce made a particularly weird announcement that she had tried a vegan diet for 30 days to lose her baby weight (She has now become a full time vegan). With her new diet and exercise she dropped two dress sizes, ending up as a US size 6. But remember people…this is Beyonce. For one thing, she isn’t actually human. She’s a superhuman, with a range of experienced personal trainers who motivate her and push her to the limit. For sad little people like us, we don’t have that advantage.

I’m a gym lover, i’m obsessed with exercising, but as soon as I started this week of torture my energy levels were odd. I’ve never felt so lethargic in my life, therefore running two miles on the treadmill at the gym was a big no no. Since I was eating endless carbs to fulfill my food cravings, I literally became a potato. Considering I wasn’t eating dairy, my skin was flawless. Smooth like a baby’s bottom. But what wasn’t divine was my waistline. The overindulgent of carbs had left me with a tummy so bloated, i may as well have told people I was seven months pregnant. As I wasn’t getting any satisfaction from vegetables and nuts, I channeled my hunger into eating several packets of crisps a day. The need for starch was bigger than ever. So if you’re thinking that becoming vegan will help you achieve the beach body you deserve, you’re wrong. If anything, it’s made me less healthy, less energetic, and with a tummy that mirrors that of Homer Simpson’s.

If there is one thing i have learned from being vegan, is that you need an insane amount of willpower. Considering I undertook this challenge the week before my period, where all i do is crave chocolate and chicken, I’m pretty proud of my ability to do it. However, to undertake this as a lifestyle, quite frankly, you must be insane. Strong, yes, disciplined, sure, but insane. I’m sure there are many vegans out there that will declare their love for food. But do you really love food if you can’t have a hungover McDonalds? Or a classic chicken sunday roast? Or even a cheeky Nandos? My answer is no, you really can’t. Excuse me while I go scoff down a chicken wing.