This past month has been an interesting one on the food front. My Da, for reasons that have already been lost in the mists of time, undertook a bet that he couldn’t be vegan for a month. I have a vague recollection that it arose from a discussion we had on the sustainability or otherwise of an omnivorous diet, especially one that relies heavily on animal products.
Neither he nor I are vegetarian, let alone vegan so this was going to be an interesting challenge. I decided that I would be pescetarian (vegetarian plus fish) for the month in solidarity, and would explore more vegan meals too. Yeah, I was too half-assed to commit to going fully vegetarian, let alone vegan. So bite me. (Not you, vegans! That woulnd’t be, well, very vegan, would it?!)
I’m am wholly impressed to report that Da won the bet, sticking to his vegan diet for the whole month. I’m not in the least surprised that he has decided that he would not be carrying on with his vegan diet beyond the month (though it should be said that his diet beforehand wasn’t particularly carnivorous)
My lessons from the month are:
- Nothing makes a vegetarian diet appear to offer a cornucopia of unrestricted options like trying to stick to a vegan diet! Pescetarian felt positively indulgent.
- There are some great vegan recipes out there. They don’t even involve ‘fakin’ bacon’ meat-impersonating foodlike substances (which I abhor). The secret is often in a few ingredients that might not be found in the typical non-vegan store cupboard. Nooch, anyone? Bragg’s Aminos? These magic ingredients add the umami that would otherwise be missing from vegan dishes.
- The Thug Kitchen cookbooks were my source of the most consistently reliable and tasty vegan recipes that I’ve tried so far. In fact I’ve found them some of the tastiest recipes, full stop. It was from the Thug Kitchen books that I learned about Bragg’s and nooch. At first I borrowed the books from my public library. I love my library! And I highly recommend borrowing cook books to try some recipes before committing to buy as not all cookbooks are created equal. I was so impressed I’ve since bought all the Thug Kitchen cook books (no, I’m not on commission!) and I have continued to explore their recipes even now the challenge is over.
To celebrate the end of my Da’s vegan month I invited the family over for a vegan feast (not an oxymoron 🙂 ). The menu was as follows:
Curried Squash and Lentil Soup from the ever-reliable BBC Good Food (I used full-fat coconut milk and doubled the quantity of lentils)
Home-made No Knead Bread with Hummus and Antipasti (grilled peppers, olives, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes) (I cheated and bought the hummus and antipasti)
Black Bean Burger in a crusty bun with home-grown cos lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup and French’s Mustard with oven-baked Maris Piper chips
Vegan plain yogurt over Thug Kitchen Blueberry Sauce with granola served layered in a glass (again I cheated and bought the yogurt and granola)
Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Bars (to be honest, though I’m a sucker for anything with peanut butter, I wasn’t mad about these. I prefer a crunchier krispie treat and the coconut oil meant the chocolate melted very easily in your hands)
His prize for completing the bet? A steak!