Ben’s Story – The Beginning.
For you long time followers you’ll remember how all this started. For the newbies I’ll explain. On the 1st September 2014, I decided to try my hand at being a Gluten-Free Vegan. I had been Vegetarian for seven & a half years. However, after a lot of research & a lot of telling myself I couldn’t do it, I decided to try it for just one month. September. That way I knew I wouldn’t fail & I would get a kick out of it by blogging about it. As a result, here I am now – still alive – happier & healthier than ever. At the same time I started my GFV month, Ben, my friend of almost a decade told me he wanted to turn Vegetarian. As always, when I hear this news, I’m delighted & offer to help whenever I can. I had my doubts – sorry Ben – but I really did. Nonetheless, time has passed & he’s stuck to it amazingly well – blowing my doubts out of the water & making me so proud. Now he’s living in Berlin so we Whatsapp & Skype on a regular basis because he is one of my dearest friends. So, imagine my delight when we Skyped mid-June & he asked for my help. I thought he’s done something terribly stupid – prison, fraud… Deported? No. He needed help to become a Vegan. Here is the start of his Vegan one month challenge.
1st of July 2015. My first day as a Vegan after being a vegetarian for almost a year. My first look in the fridge this morning made me panic: mayonnaise, butter and eggs. I’d purposely not made a huge fanfare of it or told many people so I was slightly underprepared. I felt the easiest way to do this would be to just naturally slide into it with little fuss. I will confess to a 30th June filled with various cheeses and chocolates though. A fond farewell.
I woke up as usual and had my half-a-squeezed lemon in a cup of warm water – I find it sets me up nicely for the day. Around half an hour later, I ate some Jam on wholemeal toast. So far, so good.
The decision to go Vegan was actually one I’d made some months ago. It’s really an extension of my reasons for becoming a vegetarian. As someone who made that initial change for ‘ethical’ reasons more than any other. I feel that a decision to not contribute to the dairy industry was never going to be far behind. I left it for a while because I wanted to be sure it was right for me. I gave myself a lot of time to think it through and do research. I also thought it would be nice for it to coincide with another big change in my life: moving abroad to live in Berlin.
Lunch on day 1 was a bit of a rush. Vegan friendly pasta – that just happened to be in the cupboard with vegan pesto and tomatoes. I start work (from home) at 4pm and I hadn’t yet done a totally vegan-friendly shop. Therefore I was stuck using whatever I could find. I boiled some rice and shallow fried mushrooms and tomatoes in olive oil. I chucked some chunks of boiled sweet potatoes into the pan and was almost done! After adding some Vegan soy sauce to the rice and chilli sauce to the rest, I presented it neatly to myself on a plate. It could’ve been worse!
When going vegetarian I always assumed that I would miss things like chicken, beef, fish and that it would be incredibly difficult. It honestly wasn’t. So I naturally assume that I will have a similar experience when it comes to things like eggs, milk and cheese. Only time will tell. The one thing I know I will struggle with is my sweet tooth. I’ve found some good alternatives to things that I like so I’m hoping the transition won’t prove too difficult.
Since becoming a vegetarian, I’ve paid a lot more attention to what I eat and how I prepare food. I found myself cutting out a lot of other rubbish from my diet like fast food and other heavily processed stuff. I am hoping that my vegan diet will take that a step further and by avoiding dairy. Ensuring I get my healthy fats elsewhere – I will feel better and healthier than I ever have before.
So that’s it. Just a couple of days in & I know he’s going to smash it out the park. He’ll hit a few walls & find certain days will be tough – for fudge sake I’ve been Vegan for almost a year & some days I wish it were easier. However, he has the same purpose I did – ethical reasons tend to pull on your heartstrings & keep you going when times are hard. Plus, he has me & you lovely people to read his story!