It’s a standing joke at work that I tell everyone I am vegan but often just dive into the chocolate biscuits along with everyone else or that I send my friends sad pictures of pigs and then order a steak when we go out to eat. And it’s not so much that I am a big, old hypocrite (well, slightly) but more that I am completely torn by a way of eating that I’ve known my whole life vs a way of eating that deep down I believe to be right.
I wish I had the courage of my convictions but for whatever reason I find it really hard to follow through 100% of the time. I do eat a vegan diet mostly and I generally I will choose the vegan option where possible but I can’t say I’ve been completely committed to it and for that I feel rather guilty.
I was driving through the countryside yesterday and saw a farmer shepherding his cattle into the milking sheds and the site of those poor, downtrodden, overly engorged mama cows made me feel so sad. What I know now is that their babies have been taken from them and I also know from being a milk-producing mammal myself, that udders that engorged and that size must fucking hurt. A lot. Sometimes when I walk down the lane near my house we can hear the cows calling for their babies. It is the most heart-wrenching, god awful noise. And so, I am going to give it yet another bash but before I do I want to just take a second to indulge my hypocrisy and lament the food I will miss the most. A bit like a catholic confession – vegan style.
Eggs – despite my darling friend declaring on a recent run that eggs are simply just a chicken’s period (thanks Laura) I love them. Now more than ever actually as there’s fuck all good substitutes despite someone telling me I could use chia seeds (no mate) and they are a healthy go-to when my macro counting goes awry. Hardboiled, soft boiled with toasty soldiers (yes I have the culinary tastes of a five year old), poached and most definitely fried (bye bye hangover!) I will miss these little beauties. One day I will have my own chickens and eat their delicious fresh eggs (actually, it is starting to sound a little gross..) but not now when I know that male chicks are thrown into the mincer alive just because of their eggless status and barren chickens up and down the country are adorning Sunday lunches. Ugh.
Steak – a particularly odd choice given my penchant for it to arrive on my plate still mooing and my aforementioned sadness over the dairy mama’s. But there we have it – I’m a complicated and flawed person. So, dear darling steak I will miss you terribly and no amount of roasted cauliflower steak will ever truly replace you in my stomach. I will however feel massively more self-righteous when ordering from the menu.
And that’s it. I won’t miss cheese as I can’t eat it anyway and I won’t miss any other form of dairy because there are vegan brands doing this spectacularly well. I won’t miss pork because I can think of nothing other than the fact that pigs are highly intelligent animals and live a cruel life, followed by an even worse death. And I can take or leave chicken and fish at the best of times.
There are many, many very good vegan substitutes on the market and they continue to grow each day. Take ice cream for example – I’ve just picked up Vegan Magnum’s in Tesco and they are every bit as good as the dairy version, if not better. I often share my fave vegan finds on my Pinterest boards and Instagram so head over there for more inspiration.
For now, I’m offering my newsletter subscribers a copy of my Vegan Cheat Sheet. It’s a list of all your favourite dairy, meat and milky treats with the best vegan substitutes on the market (UK based). Once you’re on the list I send out an email every two weeks with my favourite vegan recipes, articles and food finds. No spam or junk and I don’t pass on your details.