I have now been a Vegan for 16 months and both I and my family and friends have adjusted to this new world.
Since writing the first part of #MyVeganStory things have happened. Both for me and for the world. At least that’s how I feel. I find more and more vegan items. Here in Sweden the food producers are reluctant towards the international “V” for vegan or even writing “suitable for vegans” while listing the ingredients. Ben & Jerry are releasing vegan ice cream, but nothing leans toward it coming to Europe any time soon. But I hope I am wrong. Anyway – reading the list of ingredients on most items in the shops I am surprised to say lots of things are indeed vegan. Puff pastry, also known as pâte feuilletée, is bought frozen and has absolutely no butter in it!! The cinnamon rolls that was so popular when I was a kid in the 70s, and still are (I think as they’re still in the frozen section in most supermarkets). They are vegan. No butter, no milk, no eggs. Weird. People don’t believe me when I say it. The people at the factory are embarrassed when I say it. It’s like the pink elephant in the room that no-one takes about. You can’t make cinnamon rolls without real butter, milk and egg wash. But they did. Since forever. I ate them in the 70s… Findus, the makers, now share the recipe and the eggs and milk are optional. I love it!
But on a personal matter. I am still vegan.
I have slipped twice and had an “accident” once. The first “slip” was a wine and cheese taste a year ago. We had postponed it many times during 6 months and I just couldn’t say no without offending someone very close to me. I told myself I’d just test it, try a little bit of cheese. And a little bit of wine. That is exactly what I did. I hadn’t missed cheese at all. And to think that is what I dreaded the most, what was the hardest to give up. I’ll come to the wine later. But the cheese testing didn’t make me crying for cheese in my sleep, I just didn’t miss it. The 2nd time was in Italy. I wanted a real Vegetarian pizza with mozzarella and veggies and we went to this fancy place. Did I enjoy it? Not really. It was quite a disappointment.
Accidentally I probably have had egg and milk but only once I have been sure – I got halloumi cheese instead of hummus in a falafel roll… One bite and I knew I easily could have finished it all – it tasted so good. But I removed it and went to the counter told them I was vegan and that I had asked for hummus not halloumi and they gave me a new.
Once I have had what felt like food poisoning and that was when I got a home made veggie patty that had raw egg in it. I didn’t know of course but was told during the meal as I asked what was in it… they knew I was vegan but didn’t think a little bit of egg would hurt… “it’s not like you’re allergic”. I got stomach ache like hell from it though. Go figure.
Wine and alcohol has never been big on my agenda and as I am running 4-6 days a week I don’t feel alcohol is a part of my diet. However the times I do drink I experience that I can drink less. I get dizzy and drunk fairly easy. One glas of wine is usually too much for me and Jack and coke is usually coke with a dash of Jack. I don’t mind.
My family was not really on my side before but they have turned quite a lot. The documentary Cowspiracy made one of my brothers cut red meat and my other brother doesn’t cook meat. My sister always been a omnivore with periods of everything and nothing. The biggest shock of all was my husband announcing he’ll go vegetarian for two days a week and he is keeping it! I asked him why vegetarian and not vegan, so that we could eat together, but he said we should eat together so it’ll be vegan dinner for him. My husband has eaten 5:2 diet like forever, that’s the one when you have only 600 cals for two days a week, but he thinks this will be more difficult. I don’t understand either. But I am happy none the less.
Do I struggle? Only when travelling and I haven’t done the homework. Usually I bring bags of snacks but if I don’t, then it’s a real pain. I need food. I have become more conscious regarding what I eat. I like things to be fresh. I haven’t lost weight. I run like crazy but won’t lose weight. I refuse to go back to count calories, but maybe that’s what works. I have a job situation during 2016 that force me to commute for quite some time, 3-4 hours a day. I lack the time to prepare food and I eat at lunch restaurants more than I wish to. I also really don’t have time to eat dinner when I get home, mostly I eat just same as breakfast.
I still find it easy being a vegan – as long as I am doing what I am used to, in the places I am used to. As I said, the trouble starts when I am travelling. I don’t have to leave the country to reach problems, at gas stations they rarely have anything vegan except nuts and fruits. Overpriced smoothies in bottles is what I survive on. Sometimes they have a “bake off oven” meaning they bake deep freezed buns and baguettes in the shop – but even if they are vegan, I wouldn’t buy it. I rather turn to bananas…
Abroad vegan food has been either very easy or very difficult. Travelling in Japan I am sure I ended up with veggies cooked in fish stock more than once. But it’s easy to find vegan food in the supermarket, even 7 Eleven and Lawson has tofu and fruits and veggies.
Sesame silk tofu is the best I ever eaten, by the way. It’s a local specialty in the area of Koyasan and Koyasan is one of the most magic places I ever visited. This deserves a blogpost on it’s own – will do that later!
Thailand was easier. Some of the hotels we stayed in didn’t offer anything but “continental breakfast” which would be toast, jam, butter, milk, corn flakes, bacon, egg, beans. AND fruits. I loaded my plates with fresh sweet pineapple, pomelo, melons, dragon fruit, papaya… I mean, seriously – it was heaven!
So, Asia is good for vegans (I have India on my list – but I am kinda scared that I’d want to stay forever… and my cats wouldn’t want that).
Now, Germany is good too. They are so conscious even Starbucks serves a stuffed vegan pita bread. In UK you can always have oat meal (porridge) made of water and indian curry, you’ll never be hungry. In Denmark I will let the hotel know in advance that I am vegan and wish to have (at least) soymilk and muesli (without choc-pieces). Sometimes they manage and sometimes not so much. One hotel (Western branch) I went to didn’t have anything but black tea to offer. They had milk in the bread, gelatin in the jam and no fruit, no juice. Only bacon and egg.
The best hotel for vegans in Sweden must be Post Hotel Gothenburg. They have the biggest selection of vegan breakfast I have ever seen. And it’s a good hotel. Kinda the best.
So, all in all; it’s good to be vegan. I don’t miss anything and it’s cool to see people coming around. Vegan is definitly the future.