I decided on the 30th of December to try and eat a vegan diet for the month on January. I'm not even sure what made me decide too other than it has been something that has played on my mind for a few years now and the new year seemed a good place to start.
I've written before about my discomfort with the diary industry, a feeling which began when I was a new mother and suffering with mastitus. Mastitis was the worst pain I had ever felt in my entire life and I say that with no exaggeration, mastitis is also something that effects around 50% of dairy cows. It was empathy for dairy cows that led me to think more about the industry.
Today's cows produce ten times as much milk as they would do naturally for their calves, their male calves are taken away for veal (or raised for beef) immediately so that they don't become attached, so that their babies will never drink the milk from their mother that was designed for them. Even in organic dairy farms cows are kept constantly pregnant so they don't run out of milk. Dairy cows organic or otherwise live very short lives as they are sent to slaughter as soon as their milk supply runs out. There is a lot I don't agree with about the dairy industry and the more I think about it the more simply not eating cows isn't enough.
I decided on the 30th to start a vegan diet on the 1st, and then realised we had six different types of cheese in the fridge… so it was that new years eve involved a scrambled egg breakfast, a cheesy pizza lunch and macaroni cheese for dinner!
My initial thoughts about transitioning from vegetarian to vegan was that it would just involve not eating cheese. We have drank soya milk for the past three years or so as we prefer the taste and I'm not a huge egg eater so it mainly felt like cheese would be the only hurdle to cross.
Actually I realised that qourn and various meat substitutes would also be off the menu as they contain animal products such as egg, something that is really making we think about the meals we make. I'm used to whipping up something quick and easy with some veggie sausages or grabbing a cheese sandwich in a hurry. I'm now having to really think about the meals we are going to eat before hand and really plan them out. In a way this is actually quite refreshing as it's making us make things from scratch and see what's going in them!
So far we have eaten a lot of thai and indian foods which are largely diary free anyway. My neighbour is lacto intolerant so has given me some good Chinese recipes to try including the soup pictured above (which is delicious btw!)
If you are interested about how to make this soup it's really simple:
Fill a pot a quarter full of water and bring to boil
add one tin of coconut milk
two garlic cloves, minced
one bag of stir fry veg that you can get from your local supermarket or any veg you have to hand i.e mushrooms, onion, cabbage etc
add a spoon of tom yum paste (or a similar chilli paste)
one small tin of water chestnuts
one packet of rice noodles
Really it's pretty much just water, coconut milk, thai chilli paste and veg!
I'm actually really looking forward to the challenge of making my cooking more interesting over the next few weeks. I also think it will do wonders for my energy as cheese does really sit heavy with me (even though I love it so!). I'm lucky in that Bristol is such a great place to live for vegetarians and vegans with plenty of cafe's and restaurants being meat free or having tons of vegan options. I'm hoping to find that at the end of the month I will want to continue this into the future but I'm going to see how we go!