My week as a vegan convert
February marks the start of the great vegan university challenge so I thought it was about time I turned to the plant-side.
As a girl born and bred on meat and dairy, therefore, the idea of being vegan has never really appealed to me. However, I’m always up for a challenge and so, as it’s the great vegan university challenge, I thought I’d give it a go, and sacrificed my body to the world of veganism for a whole seven days!
This adventure began on Sunday 22nd January, when I made my online shopping order ready for Tuesday morning which, honestly, was the most exciting part for someone who loves organisation: planning my meals, my snacks and splashing out on the extortionately priced but delicious Naked bars.
The preparation for the week ahead was made a lot easier by the help of my vegan flatmate who knew exactly what I could and could not eat, especially helpful after I had a moment of madness and complete confusion when I started second guessing whether a baked potato classified as vegan!
For those of you thinking of going vegan or have already begun as part of ‘New year, New me’, here’s some things that made it easier for me but also what I really struggled with:
Always be prepared
Plan your meals and make sure they consist of ingredients/flavours that you know you like. I’m the sort of person who gets hangry and rather distressed when I’m hungry and can’t find anything to eat, so I wanted to make sure that, even when I was feeling emotional and desperate for chocolate, I had something to satisfy my craving. This definitely made the week easier; I knew roughly what my meals would be each day and didn’t come to the end of the week with nothing left to eat but lettuce and half an orange.
Find snacks that you know you love that are also vegan, for example, dried mango, dark chocolate, nuts and seeds and to my surprise and overwhelming excitement, prawn cocktail crisps, (which happen to be my favourite choice of snack). In fact, I was totally shocked how many snacks and sweets are vegan friendly, even (oddly) the smokey bacon and BBQ chicken flavours!
Treat Yo Self
I also found treating myself to things I normally wouldn’t have, made the week more enjoyable. I love having a morning coffee to start my day but found soya milk coffee just wasn’t really working for me, so before lectures I’d allow myself a Costa caramel soya latte every now and then which was a lot nicer than my instant ones from home!
Through this week, something I definitely struggled with was the ‘before and after drinking’ meals. As much as healthy sweet potato falafel salads, and vegetable soups are great for feeling healthy and preventing the pre-nightout stomach bloat, they aren’t great for lining the stomach before a night of Sobar Quad-vods.
As a consequence of this I struggled with having little indulgent foods that I’d usually reach to at a time of server hangover and, in a brief moment of blissful unawareness, stopped off at a cafe and bought a homemade tuna mayonnaise sandwich to soon realise I couldn’t eat it and had to settle with a large green tea…
So, I recommend not only lining your stomach with potatoes, bread, rice etc but also having something available that will support you through the next day, for example, oven chips and ketchup!
Go for value packs
Another thing that is on every student’s mind thinking of going vegan is how much I spent in total on a weeks worth of shopping. Overall, I spent £46.95 which obviously is quite a lot money, however, only about £15 more than I normally spend on a weekly shop. If I was to become a full-time vegan I wouldn’t spend money on small bags of dried mango, seed and nut mixes and Naked bars as you can get similar snacks for a lot less money. My vegan flat mate spends about the same as me when she does her weekly shop so as a student it is very affordable.
I think if you’re planning on becoming vegan because you want to then it will be a lot easier then it was for me as unfortunately I just love meat, diary and eggs too much and images like the one above having been taunting me all week. However, it wasn’t all bad, there are so many healthy snack alternatives that I’m going to continue with like a handful of nuts or fruit instead of chocolate or crisps. I have also found meals that are great for when trying to avoid bloating or that over-full feeling after heavy meal.
So, if you’re planning on going vegan for healthy eating, weight loss or moral beliefs then I fully recommend it and if you already are a loyal vegan then I salute you!
Happy Vegan Month!