My vegan journey – 5½ months on

Dear me, time does fly by. I can’t believe it’s been a couple of months since I last posted! In that time my girlfriend has jetted off to South Korea for a year to teach English, and after 4 years living just with her I’m now living with a friend, which is novel! I’ve moved from Archway, London (goodbye Loving Hut) over to Hackney, so am excited to try out all the new vegan places around me here. I’ve already been to nearby Bodega 50, which serves vegan sandwiches and toasties, and am eyeing up a trip to Andu – a vegan Ethiopian restaurant on Kingsland Road.

Turmeric sauerkraut, avocado and vegan mayo sandwich from Bodega 50 in Hackney

Turmeric sauerkraut, avocado and vegan mayo sandwich from Bodega 50

So the title of the blog is a little misleading, as 5½ months ago is when I decided that I was going to make a change, and the last time I ate meat. Since then, I was vegetarian for a short time, replacing meat with substitutes like Quorn. As I learnt more about how horrible the dairy and egg industries are, I started to cut these out too (most Quorn products contain egg, although fingers crossed that will be changing). I quickly realised that I had to try to be vegan, if I truly cared about animals.

I’ve now been fully vegan for close to 3 months, having finally finished off the ludicrously large bag of whey protein I had from before, as well as some fish oil capsules. I’ve since been trying out soy protein powder instead but it’s so gross. I’ll probably write something separate about different vegan protein powders when I find one I like, but for now I’d advise avoiding soy protein. It mixes up super thick, and is far harder to stomach than whey. It makes me gag.

Vegan soy protein powder mixed very thickly

Many people ask me how it’s going as a vegan, and my first response is always “it’s been far easier than I thought it’d be”. It really has been. It’s also a good way to get people to think about the possibility of it for themselves. If I led with “yeah it’s good but I’ve missed this and that and wanted to eat that thing but can’t”, they’re definitely not going to want to try it, thinking of veganism as sacrificing their favourite foods. Whilst I have missed certain things sometimes, it’s definitely been a positive change overall. For a while I missed burgers, and sometimes the smell of the grills on Kingsland Road is tempting, but never enough to make me forget why I turned vegan. Also the more I’ve watched and learned along the way means I’ve wanted these things less and less. The bigger annoyance is just the number of products which are non-vegan and the occasional difficulty in getting hold of something good to eat conveniently.

Vegan wrap from Pret - Avocado & Chipotle Chickpeas

After some initial difficulty planning new meals or variations on old ones, and getting out of the bad habit of feeling like I ‘need’ some sort of animal ‘product’ with every meal, I’ve eaten a wide variety of things, and tried plenty of new ones too. I’ve been active on the Instagram profile for this blog, and it’s nice to scroll back through my feed to see just how any different things I have eaten. It’s also what I’ll use to show people if they’re ever interested to know just what I eat as a vegan, to show them that they could do it themselves! I told my vegetarian friend, who wants to go vegan, to take a look at it for ideas 🙂

I starting writing this post almost a couple of months ago before I moved, but things have been too crazy since then to really settle back into it. The friend I just mentioned is now vegan, and another friend I met at work has also started trying it recently too, which is great! If either of you guys are reading this – nice one, I’m proud of you!

I’ve also been asked a few times if I feel any healthier since turning vegan, and despite what I expected, and what I’ve heard from other vegans, I honestly can’t say I’ve noticed a difference. This has been a bit disappointing as I was expecting to feel amazing and much more energetic, however looking through my Instagram account you can probably see why not! I’ve swapped a lot of the old junk for exciting new vegan ‘junk’ (although even this is far healthier). Drinking probably doesn’t help either! Having said that, I stopped calorie counting when I turned vegan, as I just wanted to try new and exciting foods rather than having to worry about hitting a certain number of calories for gym, and I have lost a couple of kilos in the past few months. I’ve lost a little strength too, but can now build back up from what feels like a slightly leaner base.

Vegan junk food collage

Most importantly, I feel happy. Happy with the choice I’ve made and how it impacts animals, my long-term health, and the environment. Happy that I’m no longer contributing to an industry which does horrible, upsetting things to animals. Happy that my continued existence doesn’t come at the expense of others’. And happy that I no longer feel like a hypocrite animal lover!

So, that’s it for this time. I’m definitely going to try to blog more frequently, but do keep an eye on the @nowiseeclearer Instagram account for the most immediate updates. I went to Berlin last week and checked out a number of vegan places there, which I’ll report back on soon! And here’s to finding new vegan places and vegan options in Hackney! Let me know if you know of any good places for me to try 🙂

Beers at the Berlin Olympic Stadium