becoming vegan: six surprising challenges
Food This Month Veganuary

becoming vegan: six surprising challenges

The weirdest thing just happened. There are cookies in the kitchen at work. A whole box of chocolate cookies, including my favourite – white choc chip, just sitting there waiting to be eaten. Just over a month ago them cookies would have been in my mouth before you could say “they’re for everyone!”. But today was different. Today, I saw the cookies in all their chocolatey goodness and I actually didn’t want one. Veganuary is over, I could definitely have one if I wanted to. I don’t want one though. The very thought of something so sweet made me feel sick.

Not eating dairy for a month has changed me in ways I didn’t expect. The only reason I’ve eaten any dairy at all is because my housemates just came home from Amsterdam, fully equipped with Dutch cheese. I wasn’t going to say no to morsel of creamy, smooth, Dutch goodness. But it wasn’t everything I’d imagined. To be honest I could take it or leave it.

A month of a plant based diet has left me wanting one thing: more plants. Aside from the cheese morsel and a few chocolates, all my food since the end of January has been vegan because that’s what I want now. Meals packed full of wholesome vegetables, beans, lentils etc. are what I crave.  I’m not sure how long this will last but the fact that it’s even a thing at all has well and truly surprised me.

the spicy bean - veganuary: the most surprising challenges -
That’s not the only thing that’s surprised me. Despite trying a vegan diet before when I was 19, there was a bunch of stuff I didn’t know, or had forgotten about. Here’s a few of the things that puzzled me the most:

  1. The salty cravings.

The older I get the more I enjoy savoury foods. As a kid I had a very sweet tooth, in fact I had an EVERYTHING tooth. I was a ravenous child and I’m now a ravenous adult. I just can’t demolish a whole share bag of chocolate on my own anymore (unless it’s the time of the month of course). But since cutting out the dairy my salt cravings have been through the roof. My whole taste has shifted away from sweet and towards a real savoury obsession.

  1. Everything is coconuts

Cheese is coconuts, yoghurt is coconuts, milk is coconuts. I’m fed up with coconuts. Maybe this is why I’ve been craving savoury food so much – when you’re a vegan, sometimes food that is supposed to be savoury is made from sweet, sweet coconuts. I liked the cheese at first, but after a few meals with it I was fed up with it. It should have added tasty yum to the meal, but instead it made things worse. The coconut taste is just there all the time. I’m sick of coconut based foods.

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the spicy bean - veganuary: my health and wellbeing -

  1. Most things that are vegan aren’t labelled as such

Sainsbury’s is the only place I’ve seen consistent labelling of own brand products. Everywhere else you end up  stood reading labels for ages. Then STILL not being sure. I’ve loitered in the way of many dozens of shoppers while I’m Googling ingredients. Yep, I’m that guy, stood in the exact way of the specific thing you want. I suppose long-term vegans know what they can and can’t have, but I’m still oblivious especially when it comes to the less obvious stuff.

  1. Milk powder is in everything

I’m not too sure what milk powder does, apart from being a kind of gross backup to fresh milk. But I have learnt that it’s in many, many things and is the main reason a lot of things aren’t vegan. I’m guessing it’s something to do with flavour since sometimes it’s in certain flavours of things but not others. For instance red Doritoes are vegan, but the others aren’t. Same with Pringles. 

  1. What are eggs?

    the spicy bean - veganuary: the most surprising challenges -

They’re certainly not dairy. Getting excited about finding a dairy-free version of something then reading “eggs” in the ingredients is one of the saddest things I’ve ever experienced. Truly crushing, realising that those dairy free cakes still aren’t vegan. 

  1. Wine isn’t usually vegan

This was the hardest part. I knew that most beer isn’t vegan, but wine?! A lot of wine is produced using animal by-products to get rid of cloudiness and anything left behind the wine making process, which means it isn’t vegan. I had a bottle of Blossom Hill left over from Christmas that I couldn’t touch for a whole month. A bottle of wine has never lasted so long in my house.  Some wines are okay, you just gotta find the right ones. Sainsbury’s have a pretty good selection, including some box wine (important).

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6 surprising challenges for a new vegan

6 surprising challenges for a new vegan
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3 thoughts on “becoming vegan: six surprising challenges”

  1. I didnt even know about Veganuary but that could be because I never considered going vegan but this was SO interesting to read. I can definitely relate to the growing from sweet preference to savory! I hardly have a sweet tooth now but pass on the savory flavors! Thank you for sharing this. Keep up the great work!

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