My Vegan Month: 4 Weeks In

November 26, 2017

I’m blogging because it’s Sunday… but I don’t honestly have an update for you. I was just on the phone to my Mum and she kind of reminded me that I needed to write a Vegan Month update, and she asked me what I was going to say.

(Mum) “Are you finding it difficult?”

(Me) “No, not really. I’m enjoying all the cooking, and I like the things I eat.”

(Mum) “So you’re finding it easy?”

(Me) “Um… well, it’s just fine. Neither one thing or the other really. I’m not desperate for it to end, but I imagine I’ll be glad to eat a bit of salmon or something.”

(Mum) “Are you getting bored of the food?”

(Me) “No… well, yes maybe a bit. It’s not so much that I’m bored of what I am eating – because I genuinely enjoy lentils and all that kind of thing. But there have been a couple of times this week when I’ve just wanted… something different. Nothing specific.

(Mum) “I imagine that it would be different if you knew you’d never be eating fish/meat/eggs ever again…”

(Me) “Yes definitely. I actually think the ‘wanting something different’ feelings I’ve had this week are a bit of a throwback to bodybuilding prep. It’s not that you physically want anything specific. You just sometimes feel like you want to kick out against the ‘rules’.”

(Mum) “Anyway darling, so when you come up to watch “Hay Fever” in December, Liz might come with you. Ooh and I thought we could do some Christmas shopping that afternoon?”

(Me) “I should probably stop typing this phone call onto my blog now.”

So, to summarise that fictionalised account of a real phone call:

  • nothing to report
  • I’m still eating mostly the same kinds of foods I have been this whole time: lots of “curry type” concoctions with tofu, veg, and lentils/split peas
  • I discovered fava beans (obviously not alongside liver) – they’re really nice. I cook them like red lentils (with turmeric, garlic, red chili etc) into a kind of daal
  • In terms of training/bodybuilder life, I don’t know that this vegan diet is optimal, but I also can’t say that it’s been detrimental. I’m training really hard at the moment – 6 times a week, “legs” 3 times a week. I’m recovering fine, and someone in the gym commented that I’ve “lost weight” (I haven’t in terms of scale weight, but perhaps a slight bit of body recomp?)

So, only 4 days remain of Vegan Month! Am I planning a specific meal or snack for the 1st December? No. A salmon fillet fell out of the freezer earlier, and the thought was appealing. So maybe I’ll have that on the 1st, but then again maybe I won’t.

Let’s run through a list of non-vegan foods and see how I feel about them right now:

Milk: bleugh. o/10 I should add that I’ve been off the idea of dairy for ages, not just since Vegan Month.

Yoghurt: not fussed, would rather go without. 2/10

Cottage cheese: I used to love it, so I’m going to say 4/10 but the idea doesn’t appeal at all right now.

Cheese: depends what kind. A sharp hard cheese would be 8/10 but I’m not fussed on anything else (my family will disown me for this) I actually think the vegan cheeses are fine. They’re much more expensive than regular cheese.

Fish: I do miss fish. 10/10 for oily fish. 7/10 for anything else. 8/10 for tinned fish because it’s so convenient.

Chicken: meh. 2/10 I know it’s convenient and can be tasty but I can’t say I’m eagerly awaiting my first bite.

Red meat: yeah. 8/10. I think I will enjoy a bit of steak, and cooking beef mince dishes again.

Liver: hm, had to think hard about this one. 10/10 for the actual eating of it. But – and this surprises me – 2/10 for buying it, handling it, cooking it. I’ve never given this a second thought before.

One more thing before I sign off on this incredibly boring update. Seitan. I’m going to make it.

A friend challenged me to make it from scratch, and I said sure (assuming I wouldn’t be able to get hold of vital gluten or whatever the key ingredient is called). Well, more fool me because the local health food shop is going to order it in for me. It arrives on Wednesday (the 29th). So I shall be ending Vegan Month in a flourish of over-achievement: making seitan from scratch.

Got any good seitan recipes? Hit me up!

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 13 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.

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My Vegan Month: The Start

November 1, 2017

So, I’m “going vegan” for a month. This month, specifically.

Back in September, I got a press release informing me that November is World Vegan Month. “Hm,” I thought, as a fledgling idea popped into my brain.

Eat vegan for World Vegan Month.

And then – because I’d about it – I basically had to see it through. Because that’s how my brain works.

I’m going to post a lot about this during the month:

  • what I expect/hope to get out of it
  • my worries/doubts/concerns
  • any challenges I come up against
  • tips/recipes/brilliant ideas* I come up with (*if relevant)
  • what I learn from this experience
  • whether my macros have to change and/or how difficult it is to keep them the same
  • whether or not I’ll stay eating vegan afterwards

I’m also planning on interviewing a few vegan athletes, bodybuilders, and generally sporty people so you can get some really useful and substantial advice from people who are actually real vegans!

A quick note before we go on: no, I am not a vegan. I am doing this as a personal experiment. That doesn’t mean I think veganism is a joke. I will be taking this seriously during the month, avoiding any animal products, and eating/drinking only 100% vegan. I won’t be extending my temporary veganism to leather or anything like that. (I’m not planning on buying any shoes or handbags in November anyway tbh). I will not be getting into any discussions or debates about the ethical side of veganism. It’s beyond the scope of this blog series. Please trust that I am a decent person, I care about the environment, I love animals, and I won’t even kill a wasp 😉

Phew!

My initial thoughts as my first day of veganism comes to a close.

These are in no particular order; I’m really tired and want to get this post up.

  1. If you haven’t prepared for veganism, you won’t have much to eat. Obvious, perhaps, but I discovered this by lunchtime today. Breakfast was barely different to normal (my usual “protein porridge” but without the splash of liquid egg whites, and with a vegan blend protein powder instead of whey. I use this vegan protein powder from Bulk Powders – who kindly sent me it in support of this blog series. I will do a review another time). If you’re going vegan, go food shopping first, and cook up some beans and pulses!
  2. It is more of a challenge to eat protein (than on a non-vegan diet). This is because vegan proteins are all “connected” to other macros. So if you just ate chicken (say), that would be mostly protein with a tiny bit of fat. White fish would be basically pure protein. Egg whites are also pure protein. But there seem to be very few pure protein sources from plants. Most of them are also quite carby. This is fine, it just means you need to think a bit differently about meeting your macros.
  3. Food shopping is an eye opener. I dashed to Tesco after training tonight, because I had no vegan food ready for dinner. Shopping for vegan food really made me realise how people might feel when they first start “eating healthy”. You have to think hard about everything. Read labels. Compare things. My subsequent vegan shopping trips will be much faster, but this one took ages! And even things you assume are vegan – like Quorn – are not, unless specifically labelled as such. There were vast areas of Tesco that were totally irrelevant to me as a vegan shopper. Most of it, actually, apart from the fresh fruit and veg part.
  4. Thank god I really like vegetables, salad, and fruit.

Here are the questions I hope to answer by the end of this vegan month:

  • did I feel any healthier eating 100% vegan?
  • am I sleeping better?
  • has my body changed at all (composition and/or size?) I’ll be weighing myself and taking waist measurements
  • is my training performance affected at all (better/worse)?
  • do I feel hungrier?
  • how easy (or not) is it to hit my normal macros? and, if I can’t, how do I feel/perform/look on the new macros?
  • what kind of recipes/meals do I end up cooking, and will I keep any of them in my regular diet?
  • will I carry on with all or any of my vegan food choices after 30th November

Right, I’m going to bed!

I hope you’ll find this interesting. If you have any questions, or want me to focus on anything in particular, please leave a comment (or contact me on Facebook or Insta).

Also… if at any point you realise that I’ve totally screwed up and eaten something that’s not actually vegan, please for the love of God tell me gently. I don’t think I can take it! 😉

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 13 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.


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