Vegan verdict

Conclusions on vegan diet…

For my last day as a vegan a little reflection on the last month is in order. What has this month taught me?

I do feel incredibly healthy and positive in both mind and body. I have a little personal turmoil at the moment but that’s for another post.

Throughout the last month I’ve managed fairly well to stick to a predominantly vegan diet. Unfortunately I’ve not managed to be a 100% vegan…

  • Chris and I visited a local pub for dinner one evening. There was no vegan option and the only vegetarian option was mushroom risotto… I’m not keen on mushrooms or risotto so decided to have fish and chips.
  • During my recent trip to Oslo with my vegan daughter Zoe, we were able to follow a vegan diet without too much difficulty. The hotel had a massive choice of breakfast enabling me to have soya milk on my cereal, beans on toast, smoothies etc. Oslo has several excellent vegan restaurants including Nordvegan and Funky Fresh Foods. However on the last night we set out to look for something to eat but at 8.30 pm on a Sunday most specialised vegan restaurants had closed. We found an Olivia restaurant but the only vegan option was a bowl of olives! So we had to get a vegetarian pizza…

Lessons learned:

  1. I have no issues with preparing vegan food at home; there are thousands of tasty vegan recipes and I never get fed up with curries and soups. I don’t miss meat at all.
  2. Many restaurant chains now have specific vegan menu’s which is great. However this doesn’t apply to all and going to the two restaurants mentioned above has meant breaking my vegan pledge.
  3. Having discussed veganism with my daughter Zoe she now refers to herself as having a ‘plant based diet’ rather than calling herself a vegan.


Following a vegan diet throughout April and March’s vegetarian lifestyle have encouraged me to think carefully about my approach to food and eating.

Giving vegetarianism some careful thought I don’t feel its much more ‘animal friendly’ than people who eat meat. It could even be considered worse… I am not an expert but I would assume that killing a cow for its meat means the animal suffers less than a cow who is milked for its entire life. Therefore if someone decides to become a vegetarian and as a result consumes more cheese rather than eating meat, are they in fact being more harmful to cows?

I also believe that a predominantly vegan lifestyle is a healthy lifestyle choice and that eating meat isn’t really necessary.

Taking all things into consideration this is what I am going to do from now:

  • I will cook vegan as much as possible at home although I will revert back to having fish occasionally.
  • I will order vegan food as a priority if it’s available on restaurant menu’s. If it isn’t I’ll go for the most healthy choice.
  • I’m not keen on the way animals are used to produce milk (which is meant for baby cow’s) so I will continue to have oat milk or coconut milk rather than cow’s milk. And have occasional cheese but try to get vegan cheese where possible.
  • I might very occasionally have chicken but only if it’s free range and organic. And the same applies to eggs.
  • I won’t eat pork, lamb or beef again. The only exception would be if I am invited as a guest and someone has kindly cooked it for me without realising my food preferences. This would be extremely rare and might occur less than once a year. However I wouldn’t want to make a fuss or offend my host.

So following my vegetarian and vegan months and discussing the terminology with Zoe, from now I am going to follow a primarily plant based diet! 




Vegan progress…

Mid month update…

A last minute change of plan on 1st April, Easter Sunday, meant we didn’t go to visit my in-laws and I was able to stick to my first day as a vegan. After the promise of an aubergine and chickpea curry, I decided to cook a vegan curry in any case. I used vegan curry paste, vegan Bouillon, coconut milk, sweet potato, chick peas, cauliflower and peas and made enough for 2 nights. It was delicious!

Typical vegan breakfasts have consisted of: Alpro yogurt with grapes, blueberries and organic muesli. Or sometimes organic muesli or porridge with oat milk.

Lunches are often home made vegan soups or vegan soups from Pret. Or peanut butter or hummus with pitta bread.

I’m using oat milk in coffee or having black coffee and drinking fruit teas rather than black tea.

Dinners are often vegetable curries or something like spaghetti bolognaise made with quorn and vegan sauce and spaghetti.

I nearly forgot last night as I popped a pizza in the oven… then suddenly remembered the cheese! This meant that Chris had the pizza and I had the falafels and vegetable samosas!

So generally it is easy to stick with a vegan diet while at home… going away is a slightly different matter…

Work trip

I had a recent work trip and decided to mention to my colleagues that I was following a vegan diet. This meant that every time we had some food they were helping me to choose saying ‘Oh… you can have this… or that…’ which was fine! And I tend to do the same with my vegan daughter Zoe…

Breakfast in the Premier Inn was good with fruit, muesli, baked beans, tomato and hash browns.

The M & S lunch was a little disappointing… the only option I could find was a single choice of a pre-packed vegan salad…

Snowdonia weekend

I decided on this occasion not to mention to this particular group of friends that I was doing a vegan month. I wanted to find if I could do it without anyone noticing…

En-route: Starbucks cappuccino with coconut milk (delicious)

Coffee shop lunch: hummus with bread and fruit tea

Evening meal: Shepherdess pie made with lentils. This was actually the vegetarian option but it seemed the closest to being vegan. There was probably a small amount of butter in the mashed potato but I didn’t want to make a big deal of it.

Breakfast: there was no milk substitute available so I put orange juice on my muesli! On the second day I had porridge and requested it was made with soya milk which fortunately they had.

On the way home from Snowdonia I stayed in a different hotel where I had a delicious vegetarian chickpea and spinach jalfrezi. There was nothing vegan on the menu but I think this was made with coconut milk… I didn’t want to ask the in’s and out’s of the ingredients.

There was no fruit available for breakfast and the only vegan option I could find was beans on toast! I was tempted by a poached egg but resisted… if I’m going to try veganism for a month I need to do it properly and not be tempted by such an obvious animal product.

This weekend made me start to think there are different levels of veganism and that being vegan doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone. I’m classing myself as a ‘light touch’ vegan by choosing zero animal products as far as possible but not to the extent of examining all ingredients every time I go out for a meal.

A ‘hard core’ vegan would be strict and would ensure that absolutely no animal products are used in the production of their food.

I had an interesting conversation recently where, during a discussion about vegetarianism and veganism, a friend, defending the steak they had just consumed said “you have to enjoy your life”. I’ve found that you can enjoy your life without eating animal products. It seemed unfair that an intelligent animal such as a cow has to lose its life just to enable a human to enjoy eating them when there are other options available. Why do we humans seem to think we’re entitled to ‘make use of’ and eat other animals when we don’t need to?

Just a thought…



Vegapril starts tomorrow

“The number of vegans in Britain has risen by 360% in 10 years” says the Daily Telegraph.

This means that over half a million people or over 1% of the UK population has turned to a vegan diet, a choice more popular with the younger generation. The Telegraph suggests the main factors driving this trend are healthy eating and a growing awareness about the way animals are farmed.

My month as a vegan is starting tomorrow, 1st April which also happens to be Easter Sunday. And happens to coincide with a visit to my elderly parents-in-law.

My in-laws live in Norfolk which is a two hour drive and means we don’t get to see them as often as we would if they lived closer. So when we visit they usually book up a restaurant and the four of us go out for dinner which saves them any work and we can maximise the time we have with them.

Unfortunately my father-in-law hasn’t been too well and isn’t feeling up to going out so my mother-in-law is going to cook for us. She has kindly offered to cook a chickpea and aubergine curry which sounds delicious. However, with my father-in-law being unwell I don’t want to give her anything else to have to think about. So I haven’t actually told her that I am starting a vegan month…

Similar to my thoughts as mentioned when I started my March vegetarian month, I don’t like to put people to any trouble, particularly as she is elderly and cooking for us and looking after my father-in-law.

Lets see how things go tomorrow…

In addition, I’ve just checked on the wine situation for vegans. Apparently most wine does contain small amounts of animal by-products. I’m not sure I want to give up wine as well for a month so on the basis I only usually have about 3 – 4 glasses of red wine a week, I’ll continue to drink the odd glass of wine on my vegan month but will make a point of seeking out vegan wine.

I’ve been having oat milk on my breakfast cereal for over a year and I now prefer this to cows milk. The only milk I do have is in coffee which means I’ll need to drink black coffee from tomorrow. I think I’ll miss having milk in my coffee…

I’m going to try my best to follow a vegan diet by removing all meat, fish, dairy and eggs and will try to substitute these for healthy options where possible. And the odd glass of wine…

And I’ve discovered that vegans eat dark chocolate! Hurrah!



Preparing for my vegan month

Delicious vegan food in La Paz, Bolivia

Throughout our year of travels in 2016, my husband Chris and I got a real taste for vegan food. It can be difficult to stay healthy while on the road long term particularly as we mostly stayed in budget accommodations. Often breakfast would be a piece of cake and a coffee! We discovered many vegan restaurants, often in unlikely places, and always offering delicious healthy food!

For example, the above picture was of a delicious meal served in the vegan Cafe Vida in La Paz, Bolivia. As mentioned in our La Paz blog post, this delightful little cafe was, according to Trip Advisor, the then number 1 of 324 restaurants in La Paz! Incredible for a country well known for being large consumers of meat.

We found other amazing vegan cafes and restaurants in places such as Peru, Prague, Thailand and Cambodia. They were all able to create delicious vegan masterpieces without the need for a single animal to be involved.

So, while I already have a taste for lovely vegan food, I haven’t yet committed myself to trying a full month of being a vegan.

I’ve missed Veganuary, a concept which has a website with loads of information to help people to try a vegan lifestyle in January. There are recipes and a list of popular restaurant chains who offer vegan food as part of their menu which will be really helpful.

I’m planning to try a vegetarian month in March, then a vegan month in April. I’m really looking forward to both!

Roll on ‘Vegapril’