‘Come on then, what do vegans eat?’ I swear I could hear the air quotes going up around the word vegans as she said it. I sighed, rolled my eyes and shouted from the toilet cubicle. ‘Lots of veg and anything else that doesn’t come from an animal’. As soon as I’d said it I knew I should have replied how my husband does ‘bits of cardboard and if I’m still hungry, a few tin cans too’.
I’d been chatting to a couple of women in the changing room at the gym, and as usual the conversation spanned a whole range of random topics. How the house renovations were going, squirrels pinching food from the bird feeders and if any of us had any pets.
As the topic of animals continued, I ended up telling them how I’d ran out into the road a few weeks earlier, stopped traffic on a busy junction – including a double decker bus – to save a squirrel that was injured but still alive.
Even though Ian did his best to get us to the vet while I nursed it in the passenger seat, it died about a minute before we arrived. So, I ended up handing over a dead squirrel to a slightly confused veterinary nurse.
Something else was said and then as a reflex action, I commented how I wanted to save all the animals. And then there it was, do you eat meat? and before I knew it I was answering with something that was about to turn me into the leper in the room. No, I’m vegan.
Apparently, they were expecting the reply. But then came the silence. I immediately walked away to the toilets – which by the way I was going to use anyway – I wasn’t just hiding. I’m not ashamed – far from it. It’s just for some reason, voicing I’m vegan out loud can sometimes turn a rational, intelligent person into someone who – well, isn’t rational or intelligent.
Unfortunately, you can rarely tell which way it’s going to go.
What do Vegans Eat? Sawdust and Twigs?
I’m not putting this lady into that group – I think she was genuinely baffled – but it’s a question I find quite strange. It’s like we all sit around eating sawdust and twigs. Which funnily enough, is what I told someone I was having for my lunch a couple of weeks ago.
Because apparently, meal times can’t exist without some kind of meat on your plate.
A bit like if you exercise and don’t post it to Instagram. Did the workout actually count?
I talk openly about my lifestyle on my blog, because, well – it’s my blog – and I enjoy writing about how to live a healthier and more compassionate life. And as much as some people still don’t understand it, I also talk openly to close friends and family.
But occasionally, I find that some people who I cross paths with don’t always get it. And for some reason, they feel it’s acceptable to start telling you what’s wrong with the vegan diet, even though they know fuck all about it.
Anyway, I digress. That’s another blog post, for another time. One I already have a draft of.
So, What do Vegans Eat?
Well, we can eat a whole range of lovely delicious food, that includes a lot more than lentils. Although, lentils are a very good source of protein. Which is one of the reasons they’re so popular!
Vegans don’t eat anything that comes from an animal. Some even go as far as not eating vegetables that were grown in a field because a cow walked through it once. 5 years ago. Personally, that’s a bit extreme for me.
Vegans can eat pretty much the same food as non-vegans as long as they choose the free from equivalent. This means any food that doesn’t contain meat, eggs, dairy, or anything else that might come from an animal – including honey.
There’s also a bunch of E numbers derived from animals that need to be avoided. The most common probably being E120 (cochineal).
If you’re not sure what the big deal with milk is and why it’s a big no, no. I have a blog post coming on that soon.
But You’re so Limited to What You Can Eat, Right?
Something else I hear a lot, and the answer is no. Gone are the days of living on lentils and vegan sausages. Just like technology is constantly evolving, so is a plant-based diet.
If you visit the free from section in your local supermarket, you’ll find a whole range of foods that don’t contain dairy or eggs. Including pasta and desserts. You’ll be able to find meat alternatives either in the chilled or frozen section.
Vegan doughnuts from Doughliciousss in Manchester
Eating at home is easy, the trickier part is when you want to eat out. But with so many restaurants now offering vegan options, that’s also become a lot easier. And with the amount of vegan cook books on the market, and brightly coloured Instagram feeds to take inspiration from, it’s safe to say limitation isn’t something to worry about either.
You can read my thoughts on vegan options in restaurants here. But I think it’s safe to say Zizzi is still my favourite. Although, after recently visiting Tampopo, they might be running a close second. I think I may need to update that post.
You can find the recipe for these pitta pizzas here.
And the recipe for this quick and easy vegan lunchtime stir fry here.
Because of the lifestyle I lead, and the type of training I do, I don’t shy away from carbs. After a long run, Linda McCartney pulled pork burgers, with homemade sweet potato fries and onion rings does just the job.
My favourite dessert to make are these Ms Cupcake red velvet cupcakes. They taste amazing and I love her baking book.
One of the best things I did last year, was subscribe to The Vegan Kind Lifestyle box. Once a month I receive a box filled with vegan goodies. This has been a really good way to discover new snacks that I otherwise might not have known existed.
I’ll be writing a blog post soon sharing some of my favourite vegan treats.
The Vegan Kind subscription box, May 2018
If you purchase a box from The Vegan Kind through the affiliate link on the right, I will receive a teeny tiny amount of money, at no extra cost to you.