This month I’ve been more aware of shops and restaurants efforts to attract people to try Vegan-January than previously. As a teen I decided to become vegetarian, a move which no doubt caused my Mum a lot of stress in the kitchen especially as in the 80’s there wasn’t a huge raft of simple meat substitutes. I fondly remember having a love of cauliflower cheese and chips, possibly not the most balanced, or healthy, meal, but delicious regardless.
In my 20’s I wavered between being vegetarian and pescatarian, with the odd chicken korma thrown in the mix. In my 30’s I reverted to eating anything I wanted, including red meats and processed meats.
And now I’m in my 40s and since my cancer diagnosis I’m veering back towards vegetarian/pescatarian (again with the odd bit of chicken thrown in the mix). Over recent years my allergy to shellfish has become more problematic to the point where I don’t eat any shellfish and if eating out will advise them of my allergy as other fish products may be cooked in the same oil.
Yesterday afternoon I went to The Works (fab discount book/stationery store) with my older son; he likes doing wordsearch puzzles and had finished all his. They had a whole table of Vegan cookbooks and if there’s one thing I like buying (apart from notebooks), oh and craftbooks, is cookery books. So for the bargain price of £1.50 I came home with, just the one book; 30 days of Vegan written by Catherine Kidd, a dietician with a Masters in nutrition whose dissertation focused on the effects of a vegan diet on the heart.
Now this book wasn’t the prettiest in the shop, by which I mean lush foodie photographs accompanying each recipe, but it has an extremely simple to follow 30 day plan. Together with a list of store cupboard essentials each week’s plan includes breakfast, lunch and dinner and a shopping list. It also looks to batch cook to freeze or to use for meals later in the week. Also, if on Tuesday you need to cook with something that should have been soaked overnight, it tells you this on Monday’s plan.
This book really makes me think that veganism is an achieveable option. At this moment I have no intention of going full on vegan as for mental health reasons I’m sticking to a more flexible approach; one which won’t cause me undue stress, or give me a reason to think I’ve failed. I am, however, going to include more vegan meals into our diet (which from a simple perspective means eliminating eggs, cheese and butter as I already use non-dairy milk and non-dairy spread/margarine for cooking).
Today, I have made a tea loaf from the book, packed with chopped dates and apricots and vegan cowboy hotpot (not from the book). I’m now going to do my Tesco order with a vegan focus, and then I might just try a slice of tea loaf.