‘I roll with couple pescetarians, Vegans and vegetarians
Man don’t wanna see no dead meat on their plate like some barbarians’
Alright. You got me. Starting an article throwing shade via some JME lyrics is an unacceptable way to kick this show off and believe me, I really do want us to get on so I can show you a side of veganism that’s far from the negative and preachy stereotypical brush we get slapped with. So, let’s start where most cool stories do, from the beginning.
If you read my last article about Self Worth (and you better had) you will know that about two years ago, I made the gut-wrenching decision to attempt to give up meat and go full time veggie (my taste buds have never forgiven me – JOKING). I started slowly to begin with, cutting down the quantity of meat I consumed daily until eventually I was having one whole meat free day a week, which turned into two and so forth until I gave it up altogether, which happened a lot quicker and easier than I had anticipated. The best bit, contrary to a lot of societies opinions, is that I’m still alive, healthy and overall pretty damn happy with my choice.
Conversations on vegans be like…
Most of the time if I get into a conversation with anyone about this subject I’m met with absolute total resistance in the form of the following, ‘Na I couldn’t not eat meat, not even for a day, like ‘How do you live?..How do you get protein from grass (EYE ROLL)…How do you survive???’. Yes. People really say this. I know. I just rolled my eyes again too.
GUYS, this isn’t Call of Duty, you will not die from a flesh-eating disease if you fail to have a KFC Bargain Bucket for dinner. I think, like a lot of topics in this world, the hardest part about being a veggie for me is being met with this level of negativity every time I want to share a part of my life that means a lot to me. If it wasn’t for my bulldozerish – lack of fuck giving mentality, I think the constant backlash I have to listen too would almost make me want to keep my dietary choices to myself, which is sad. People should be able to feel comfortable expressing themselves without the fear that others will tar them with a certain brush.
Observations from one too many conversations
The most common and slightly concerning habits I notice when I broach the subject normally are: A) People attaching such negative connotations to such an important and kind cause B) People having extremely strong opinions on a cause, usually with very little knowledge or reason to justify said belief system and C) People not even willing to hear you out as soon as you say that kryptonite-like word – VEGAN, I mean come on, we all claim to hate ignorant people don’t we?
One of the most beautiful things we can possess in life is the ability to be open minded and as much as I grow weary of hearing these silly remarks I do also appreciate that once upon a time I was where you are now. In fact, not only was my diet extremely poor and made up of burgers and such things but I was one of the worst for mocking people that had made this choice in life, which looking back on now, I’m very embarrassed about. For example, for Halloween I always thought it would be great to dress up as a sausage and chase a vegetarian, that was my dream which was incredibly ridiculous and actually kind of horrible.
Be open and explore
The point is I totally get it but I’m just asking you to explore your options, be a little more open to change and get to grips with real facts about why people like myself willingly choose to make this sacrifice. If afterwards, you still want to eat meat, then that is completely your free will and choice, but if nothing else maybe you’ll understand us vegans a little better and that has to count for something.
There’s many myths about a vegan diet but one of the most common is that if you don’t eat meat and/or dairy then you’re confined to eating bland food and home-made leaves from your Tupperware container for life whilst your pals chow down on Pizza Hut in front of you. Ok. This simply isn’t true. I’ll be honest, one of my initial worries was that my dietary change would affect my social life, stop me going places and leave me isolated from important occasions but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Like most things in life it just takes a little compromise and anywhere on my list below would be a good starting point for anyone looking to try a tasty vegan alternative and still have fun with their nearest and dearest.
COOKDAILY (Vegan Asian Food Bowls) – Located within Box Park in Shoreditch COOKDAILY is some of the finest vegan food I’ve ever had with each dish comprising an array of South Asian punchy flavours within, colourful as ever and all for under a tenner.
This was one of the first vegan joints I went too since making the transition and I adored it! Why? Well…..why not? Not only is BOXPARK/Shoreditch one of the nicest, fun and varied parts of London to eat but COOKDAILY itself just brings such a vibe with it’s incredibly intimate and unpretentious setting. It’s real, it’s authentic, it’s raw…you can even purchase T Shirts there too emblazoned with the slogan ‘No blood, No bones’, not to mention you can regularly spot the founder/owner (who’s kinda a celeb in the food world now) of the restaurant humbly cooking up dishes out the back.
As an example of what a dish may include, my favourite named High Grade is made up of stir fry veggies with hemp oil in a smokey sweet n sour BBQ sauce, topped with green herbs & hemp seed crumbles. Served over brown rice or quinoa with a choice of tofu, veggies or chickpeas. Don’t forget guys, it’s normally not the flavour of the meat you love, it’s the seasoning and this dish has seasoning for dayyyyys! The COOKDAILY bug has evidently caught on too judging by the celebrity clientele the shack of spices attracts. Amongst others, JME and Professor Green have officially endorsed the eatery and are huge fans, both being regular diners there. The restaurant has also been featured in Vice, NME and The Evening Standard.
If that sumptuous dish isn’t enough to entice you and you’d rather stick to chain restaurants to be safe, then you’ll be just as excited as I was when I discovered a new website called vemand.com. The site lists all vegan options at UK eateries and you can make a menu search either by restaurant or location. So, if for example your friends invited you out to Wagamama you can view their menu and it’s already been tailored to suit your dietary requirements, saving you time and making life a lot more convenient all round.
Last but most definitely not least, if you fancy trying your hand at creating a vegan dish either for yourself or a loved one then check out thugkitchen.com. Enticing the reader with their down to earth, no fucks given approach at a cookbook, these guys not only supply tasty recipes by the dozen but they do it with a laugh. The humour injected into these cookbooks makes the whole experience that bit more fun and it’s a great way to learn about what’s going in your dish and why it’s good for you.
Do what works for you.
The most important thing though of course is that you do what works for you and what you feel healthy and comfortable with. Going vegan/vegetarian is a huge step for both your mind and body to adapt too so it’s imperative that if you’re interested in seeking out a new lifestyle and incorporating these elements into your daily diet then you do so with knowledge, support and confidence. There’s lots of books and information on the Net if none of the above appeal to you and if you want to explore some of the reasoning behind these life choices ….well I’ll save that for another article but in the meantime I can recommend watching Earthlings, a wonderful documentary that may just change your life, it sure did mine. What are you waiting for? Go out and try new things, for variety really is the spice of life.
Words by Liz Lyne