Thursday, 28 March 2013

My vegan journey

Homemade garlic and oregano bread with wholewheat pasta and roasted vegetables.

I've been wanting to do an post on how my journey into veganism has been going. I've now been fully vegan since Christmas and I'm proud of my progress so far. I still really miss cheese and eggs and bacon sandwiches but it'll take a long time until those cravings past - and I'm pleased to say I haven't caved! I'm going to split this post into a few sections to make it easier for me to be focused and not repeat myself.

Porridge made with water, dried cranberries, fresh blueberries, desiccated coconut and pumpkin seeds.

Food and cooking. 
I've always enjoyed cooking and baking, it's just something that helps me relieve stress and anxiety. For years I got lazy with my cooking, I was never a fan of ready meals but I did use alot of pre-made sauces and wasn't too bothered about my health. Since becoming vegetarian last year and now vegan one of the things I wanted to accomplish was eating healthier and looking after my body. I've been plagued for years with illnesses and problems with my health and I just want to help my body anyway I can. So I'm always doing my research and I'm learning to incorporate a wide variety of vegetables, pulses and fruits into my diet to get as many health benefits as I possibly can. Since becoming more health conscious I've also dived back into cooking from scratch, which is cheaper and quicker than I first thought, as a way of knowing what good things are in my food. I now know exactly what is my food, I add little to no salt and there are no preservatives in my cooking. I already feel generally more energetic (which is a big thing for a girl with chronic fatigue!) and little, niggling problems I had with my health have disappeared.

Black bean and vegetable chilli with rice and soya yoghurt. 

Yes, I miss some foods but I know I'm looking after myself. I'm also doing my bit to help provide sustainable food sources for future generations (the meat industry is not sustainable with global population growth) and everything I eat is cruelty free. To conter with my helping animals I'm also trying to buy more things that are fair trade and ethically produced. This also includes trying to buy more locally sourced food where possible, I can't wait for my Mum's garden to explode with goodies during harvest season! My Mum has noticed food bills in general have dropped since she's trying to have more vegan meals for weight loss reasons and although sometimes buying something seems expensive they last for several meals making them cheaper in the longrun. Now, I don't want to be one of those vegans who preach all the time and I've been assured by my family I'm not, but I do want to be an advocate for healthy and nutritional diets. To do this adapting more vegetarian or vegan meals into your life is the best way, so why not try having a vegan day once a week? You'll be suprised at the wealth of delicious recipes to try! :)
Vegan vanilla fairy cakes with sultanas. 

Clothing and Make-up. 
To be honest clothing was pretty easy for me as sheep's wool makes my skin come up in rashes so I tend to avoid it. The hardest thing has been leather shoes! I've found so many gorgeous shoes and boots I want but can't have because they're leather. It is great seeing more high street stores using PU plastic to make shoes and boots, it looks and feels like leather and I think it'll be great to see more styles on the shelves soon! I think it's much easier than it used to be to get animal friendly clothing. Again, same with the food I'm looking to start looking for more ethical sources for my clothing but it'll be a long journey and alot of research required.

Homemade Sweet and sour sauce with tofu and vegetables.

Make-up has also been a challenge, I've always been against animal testing for cosmetic reasons and I already tried to avoid brands I knew where known to be animal testers. Since being vegan more research meant I discovered more brands and was devastated to learn how big the industry was. Luckily, from March 24th animal testing for cosmetics in Europe has been banned for ingredients and products. I'm waiting a few weeks but I'm pleased to say any new products released here will now not be tested on animals, no matter the brand.
Vegan lasagne with tofu, spinach, tomato and vegetable sauce and a breadcrumb and garlic topping.

My family have been really supportive of my choice with both my Gran and Mum taking elements of the diet side into their own diets. My Gran has asked me for recipes and my Mum looks forward to nights when I'm cooking. Even my brother has adapted to using the soya mince in shepherds pies without fuss. No-one has ridiculed me and I feel blessed to be apart of such an accepting and loving family. I understand it can be difficult for some people to understand and accept, and I have had friends outrightly disagree with me, but that;s their choice. I think the hardest thing would be as a teenager who still relies on their parents for food as it can be hard to be cooking several meals at once with a family but it is possible and maybe they will learn to enjoy vegan cuisine!
Vegan pancakes.

If anyone has any questions about veganism, recipes or healthy diets then please feel free to leave a comment and I'll reply.
To follow more of my vegan cooking/baking adventures follow my instagram: amehduck or my twitter: hovercrab . :)

Vegan chocolate brownies.


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