Preparations for Vegan November

Again a slight diversion from the initial intended use for this blog…After introducing myself as a vegetarian only yesterday, I am now preparing to go vegan for the month of November and therefore this blog will follow suit…

I can’t really remember what made me decide to try veganism. For years now I’ve understand why people choose to be vegan and fully admired them for doing so but the thought of giving up cheese and butter just seemed too hard! More and more over the past year or so I’ve thought about it though and I must have been Googling something vegan to come across Animal Aid’s ‘Go Vegan’ website (http://www.govegan.org.uk/). I absent-mindedly signed up to the ‘Great Vegan Challenge’ and (half)committed to give up eggs and dairy for the month of November to tie in with World Vegan Month (if that’s actually a thing).

I say half-committed because I was dubious I’d be able to do it, I imagined it would be costly and complicated and I didn’t know if I had the will-power or drive to actually stick it out. Anyway, a few days later I received an unexpected package in the post….a little welcome pack with lots of info, help and recipes from Animal Aid.  By this point I had mentioned that I might be going vegan to a few people at work and was talking myself more and more into the idea. The more people recoiled in horror or told me it was a bad idea the more I wanted to do it. So here I am, tomorrow is my last day of dairy and eggs(and the rest) before I start my vegan adventure on Saturday.

I don’t want to ramble on about veganism but I think I will quickly outline some of my main motivating factors.

Animal Welfare: This might shock some of you but I’m not exactly an animal lover. I mean I don’t mind animals but I’m not one for giving £100s to the donkey sanctuary – obviously they do a good job but I prefer to put people first. However, industrial farming is disgusting and seeing the way animals are reared and kept would put Ronald McDonald off his Big Mac. But it’s not only the meat industry that contributes to awful animal welfare – countless male calves are killed because the dairy industry has no need for them and similarly male chicks are killed at just a day old because they don’t lay eggs. If I can opt out of this industry, even if it’s for my own peace of mind then I will do.

Environment: The food industry as a whole is out of control. Farming so many animals for meat, eggs and dairy puts huge pressure on the environment; from growing crops to feed the animals to the methane produced from all the cattle we rear, to transporting all of these animal products around the world. This is a hard one because in some ways I think we’re already fucked but I don’t think I’d be a very good human to just give up on the world.

Health: I don’t really know what’s going to happen with my health during this month but I do know that the majority of the saturated fat I have consumed throughout my life has been through cheese! I’m planning on not using too many cheese/milk/yoghurt alternatives and really cutting back to pulses, beans, vegetables and nuts….surely that’s got to be good for you! And if I’m really honest I’d love to lose a bit of weight during this month.

So preparations so far have included purchasing this lovely looking recipe book; ‘Keep it Vegan’ by Áine Carlin. I’ve flicked through it and some of the recipes sound delicious. I also really enjoyed reading about Áine’s conversion to veganism. She has such a positive outlook on veganism and reassured me that going from a full-blown omnivore to a vegan really wasn’t that hard. So hard can it be for me? As and when I get round to trying her recipes I will let you know….

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In addition I went shopping tonight. This weekend is busy….I’m out straight after work with friends tomorrow evening then have to get up Saturday morning and jump on a train to Reading for a Halloween party. I will no doubt be hungover and in need of immediate food Saturday morning and didn’t want to fail on 1st November so I have been and got a few easy to grab bits and pieces which should keep me going until I’m ready to start cooking lentils and what-not.

vegan provisions

vegan provisions

Overall I’m excited! I love food and I’m seeing this as a new challenge. I’m interested to find out how easy/hard I’ll find it and what meals I will come back to  (the blog won’t be very interesting if I have peanut butter on toast everyday). I don’t know how I’m going to feel when November is over but regardless of whether or not I remain vegan I hope to take something away from it.

For more info on veganism see http://www.vegansociety.com/

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Toby Carvery

This first post might surprise you…but sometimes I just get excited at the prospect of not being the odd one out. And after mocking my ex-boyfriend and his family for going to a carvery for their Mother’s Day meal a seed had obviously planted in my head somewhere and the thought of stuffing my face with Yorkshire puddings and as much Sunday dinner as I could physically manage was too much to bear…

The problem is most carveries (the proper plural of carvery) aren’t particularly catered to vegetarian customers and I guess the most you could expect is a plate of veg and gravy. Little did I know how well catered for us vegetarian folk are at TOBY CARVERY!

After a little google search brought up the current menu and revealed not just one veggie option but a selection of vegetarian (and vegan!) delights I headed down to my local in Stockport.

Vegetarian

I went for the Nut Roast Wellington and was pleasantly surprised! It wasn’t exactly as I had imagined; more of a tart as the nut roast wasn’t fully encased in the pastry but overall it was really tasty. The puff pastry was cooked well (no soggy bottoms) and the filling was mildly spiced and warming.

I was allowed to help myself to the rest of the carvery along with everyone else and heaped on mashed potato, roasties, cauliflower cheese, cabbage and broccoli (I could have had extra but I HATE peas and carrots) and then covered the whole thing in the very clearly labelled vegetarian gravy.

I want to be clear here I’m not saying Toby Carvery is a fine dining experience but for a hungover Sunday it definitely fits the bill and as a vegetarian provides more choice (and interesting choice at that) than most other restaurant chains. YES the veg is overcooked and soggy but people don’t go to Toby Carvery for al dente veg they go for warming, stodgy food and lots of it!! and that’s exactly what you get….even as a vegetarian!!

So don’t go expecting sautéed Chantenay carrots with chestnuts and a red wine jus but for a satisfying veggie Sunday dinner I’d recommend it… I’ve since been back and tried the broccoli and brie parcel and was similarly satisfied 🙂 3/5

Sorry about the lack of photos, I’m a novice blogger at the moment…next time there will be photos