[AD] – Gifted
No. Well that was simple. Vegan blog post done, saved you all some time, check out the gorgeous Vegan food I gobbled down on at Revolucion de Cuba here.
That would probably be easier than dipping my toe into the Vegan side of the internet to be honest. Whether its white men called Dave, sweating their meaty balls over ‘that’ sausage roll, or ‘Rainbow’ from Brighton calling you a murderer every time you take a photo of your fry up; the world of veganism has never appealed to me.
Of course, being in recovery for an eating disorder also doesn’t make ‘restricting all animal products’ the first thing on my to do list. The general consensus being that if I force myself to stop eating bacon on a Monday, by Friday I will be a one woman bacon sandwich, covered in bacon rind, whilst smothering half a pig around my chops. I think we can all agree, that’s not an existence we want to live within.
And yet whilst I am fully aware I can never go vegan, I can’t help but notice the veganuary hype and get drawn into it. With all your favourite places providing vegan offerings and the wealth of information about how dairy and meat production is destroying the world, you can’t help but get pulled in.
So why are we all on this vegan vibe? And how can I get my chops around another Beetroot Burrito?
Without doubt, veganism is 2019’s clean eating. There are definite correlations between the two ways of eating, and a general focus on ‘wellbeing’ and ‘health’ which they both deny are achievable in a normal carnivore diet. They intermingle with one another, selling the instagram dream of being lean, thin and positively radiant. They are aspirational ways of living, which are difficult to do unless you have time, money and emotional stability not to get sucked into the cycle of restriction and bingeing. The extreme side of veganism is bitter and cruel and denounces people who just want to dip their toes into the broccoli waters. It’s the sharing of over complex meals with expensive products that aim to encourage a need to ‘buy into’ the lifestyle. It’s a business, a money maker, and there are plenty of 20-year-old women in lycra, ready to sell that dream. And much like ‘clean eating’ there will be people who harm themselves by chasing a lifestyle which may lead them undernourished and out-of-pocket.
Yet, I am constantly intrigued by veganism. You’d have to be hiding under a rock not to have seen some of the practices in the meat and dairy industry that kind of make you never want to eat a nugget again. Spend 10 minute on Netflix and you can find enough evidence to show you how that morning cappuccino is adding to the destruction of the rain forest, and how even your ‘free range’ chickens see less sunshine than your legs in Winter. The ‘millennial’ guilt of being the compulsive consumer who is slowly destroying the world, is upon me but what can we do about it? Add to that the knowledge that shoving a T-Bone down your neck is probably not great for your body, and suddenly being ‘a bit’ vegan sounds compelling.
So if I am not going vegan, but want to not be a terrible person 100% of the time, what can I do? Try and do a little better, perhaps? The reality is, despite what the 90’s taught us, we don’t need to eat animal products at every meal. The time of the ‘meat and two veg’ dinner went out the window with boil in the bag steak and gravy (I mean was that even meat?). We live in a time of choice. Where once the restaurant menus were limited, now you can find vegetarian and vegan options freely. And unlike the Insta models suggest, it isn’t all chia pudding and green juices on offer either. Gone is a bunch of wilting salad leaves and in its place fresh chillis, burritos and whole plates of tapas. You don’t have to feel like you’re going without, whilst nibbling on tortillas and guacamole. It is absolutely possible to eat well whilst not eating restrictively.
What if I tried to eat one meal a day which didn’t include animal products? I’d reduce my consumption by a third without even trying. In reality, I rarely drink milk anymore, having swapped to coconut milk 6 months ago, because holy christ, coconut lattes are genius. I didn’t mean to ‘go vegan’ in the coffee shop, but without even thinking, I have.
I trialled this new approach out at Revolucion de Cuba in Southampton when tasting their new Vegan menu. And holy cow, my little Vegan heart. The food was delicious. Did I miss the meat and cheese in my burrito? I would say the two-hour carb coma I found myself in later that afternoon would suggest that was a conclusive No. Vegan food has the ability to be fun, gorgeous and entirely edible, without feeling restricted in the least.
Will this mean I am stopping eating chips and cheese after far too many Cubra Libra’s on a Saturday night? Absolutely not mate.