I used to be addicted to the gym, eating copious amounts of meat to get my 200 grams of protein each day, however this show made me start to question it all. Was I better off drinking some beetroot juice 2 hours before a workout, rather than my usual chicken and broccoli? Well below are the biggest things I learned from one month of being a vegan.
1) Limes Are Incredibly Useful
Cooking most of my meals from scratch, we bought a whole set of vegan books, trying out new recipes for dinner every day. I was amazed by the amount of meals that used half a lime, I bought one for the week originally, but I think I ended up getting through 4 per week! Previously I hadn’t bought a lime in probably over a year.
I never really broke down my diet to see where my calories were coming from before. I don’t think I was getting excess calories from meat, as most of the meat I had been eating came from chicken, which is a lean meat. On the other hand, I started to notice the weight was dropping off without cheese in my diet. It’s such a guilty pleasure.
3) Giving Up Meat, Easy, Giving Up Cheese, Hard
I expected to struggle the entire way through the month, but I really didn’t miss meat that much. There are so many great alternatives now and learning new meals is great fun, so you really don’t need meat. Cheese on the other hand, is a staple part of my daily food intake. I love cheese! A life without cheese isn’t worth living. Unfortunately, vegan cheese really is disgusting, so when the month ended we continued giving up meat, but cheese came back into our lives.
We made a big mistake, casually eating Quorn nuggets every time we craved a naughty treat. Yes, these are vegetarian, but a friend let us know they weren’t vegan friendly. We had been accidentally failing the diet the entire time. It would have been easy to throw in the towel at this point, but we carried on and just avoided those gorgeous nuggets.
5) Making Homemade Guacamole & Salsa Is Amazing
Forget the shop bought stuff, it is dead easy to make homemade guacamole and salsa and it tastes a hell of a lot better! We ended up eating burritos each week, as they were gorgeous and felt like we were being unhealthy, but all the ingredients were really nutritious. Guacamole and salsa took 5 minutes to prepare each, while neither require cooking, so while the brown rice is being boiled, you can prep these so they’re all done at the same time.
6) Eating Out Is Easier Nowadays
I remember going to restaurants with vegetarian and vegan friends years ago and they really struggled to find options on the menu. The world has seriously changed since then, albeit it could be affected by the fact that I live in Brighton, which heavily caters towards a vegan diet. Whether it was a curry, pizza or a burger, there were vegan options in numerous restaurants.
I love burgers, they’re one of the foods I thought I would miss. I think I love them as I never ate them while I was young, with my mum scared of mad cow’s disease meaning I never ate beef. When I went to university I tried beef and fell in love! However, the bean burgers were so scrumptious that I didn’t find myself missing normal burgers once.
8) Beyond Burgers Taste The Same
We tried a few different vegan burgers during the month. The bean burgers were incredible, whereas the ones that were meant to be like a burger often fell short. However, we heard about this new burger, which was made to taste identical to a real burger, so we gave it a try and damn they were right! Apparently, the guy looked at the amino acids used and tried to match it up using plant sources. On the other hand, it is still very high in saturated fat, so it’s not a healthy option.
9) Limiting Your Options Pushes You To Experiment
By removing the usual options to make a meal great, it forces you out of your comfort zone and pushes you to experiment. Vegan dishes often taste incredibly flavoursome, while they’re often very low calorie, so great for your waistline. We were using every herb and spice you can imagine, some of which I had never heard of before.
Everyone goes on about how bad tofu is, but that’s only true if not done right. If you have it in a dry dish and it’s not cooked properly then it will taste like you’re eating a rubber. It will lack flavour and become something you avoid. However, I was regularly eating it in a curry, where it burst with sauce the moment you bit in. It was slightly crispy and yet soft when you bit in. By the end, I’d say it was tastier than any meat, if done correctly.