I went vegan for January as a challenge…and I’m not looking back.
This year, I saw in the New Year with just a couple of friends and our young children. I drained my last glass of gin, danced around the living room as the clock struck twelve, sang the wrong words to Auld Lang Syne and cuddled and kissed everyone in sight. I went to bed, knowing that that would be my last gin for a while, my last ham pie, so as hedonism went, it was going to be as wild as it gets for a while.
I woke up on the 1st, resolving to go sober, vegan and take up running. I have been cooking vegan recipes for a long time, long before the release of my first cookbook, as in the rubbish old days of scraping around on mismanaged, delayed and suspended benefits, meat and dairy products were often just too expensive in comparison to their kinder counterparts. I cooked with beans and lentils for protein, always obsessively researching, and got my calcium and iron from bags of frozen spinach and yellow-stickered broccoli.
When I was a child, I once announced to my parents that I wanted to be a vegetarian. I was a sensitive child, quirky, bookish, and was met with ‘don’t be silly and finish your roast dinner.’ So, out of respect for my parents, who worked hard to put that dinner on the table, I did. I have tried to give up meat several times over the last few years, yet like a junkie, I always caved in. Packets of cooking bacon in the supermarket, cans of sardines, the odd roast chicken. I have written recipes for this very newspaper, songs of praise for blutwurst and a macabre ‘bunny bucco’ for Easter weekend. I look back, and try not to regret. I am, after all, the sum product of all of my decisions and experiences so far. I am not going to indulge in righteous self-flaggelation for fulfilling the brief of my recipe column; I was doing my job, as it were.
A few weeks ago, I was reading my old copy of ‘The 50 Greatest Curries Of India’ by Camellia Panjabi, like a novel, as I so often do with cookery books. The introduction on the Indian philosophy of food made for fascinating reading. Regular readers will know that curries are my most favourite thing, and I wanted to go back to the start and really research the history and philosophy of Indian cuisine, rather than just toasting spices, slow-cooking onions, I was hungry to understand this food that I love so much. Ayurveda, the ancient Hindu wisdom on health, is described by Panjabi as the single greatest influence on Indian cuisine. I delved in. “Flesh has the force of violence in it, and the negative emotions of fear and hatred…it has no place in the Satvic diet.” And there, with no gory videos, no statistics, no shock-jock tactics, Panjabi quietly drew my line in the sand for me. I understood myself, the discomfort, the guilt, the addiction, the naughty thrill of a packet of bacon in the fridge, the promises to myself that it would be the last time. I behaved like an addict, with no thought for those I might have been hurting, just seeking my next high, my next slow-roasted pork belly, chicken skin Caesar salad, slow bone broth. I hung out with friends who would indulge me, encourage me, and I needed to stop.
And I did.
I have found my cooking has taken on a whole new life, a veritable riot of colour and flavour and deliciousness. Deep fried spicy kidney beans sit alongside a mushroom rogan josh, heavy aubergine bhuna, and a black bean tarkari. Mushroom replaces lamb in my samosas, and a sweet potato rosti rolling around in a hot dhansak sauce is a beautiful thing. I am writing my third (and bits of my fourth) cookbook, and although it isn’t strictly vegan as it is half written already, it is an absolute delight. Cans of chickpeas and bags of lentils have been staples of mine for a long time, and I’m genuinely excited to use them as the building blocks for my new adventures in the kitchen.
Scratching meat and dairy products off my shopping list gives me extra in the budget to buy luxury ingredients I haven’t cooked with for years; the odd bag of black rice, or even to tick all of the boxes with red quinoa – yes, I know, a sentence for the Guardian if ever there was one. I manage to shop in half the time, as I can avoid most of the aisles in the supermarket, yet my cupboards have never been more varied and enticing.
When friends invited me for lunch last week, and lunch was chicken, I realised in my keenness to blog and Instagram my vegan journey, I had forgotten to tell the real-life people who mattered. I prioritised a friendship over a chicken that was already baked in a pie, and I learned my lesson about warning people far in advance about my oral proclivities.
“Where do you get your protein from?” people ask. From chickpeas, lentils, mushrooms, peas, beans. Iron from tinned tomatoes, spring greens, nuts, seeds, and beans and pulses. Calcium from spring greens and kale, among other dark green leafy sources. “Don’t you miss eggs?” one Twitter user asked. Not really. I replace them with bananas or applesauce when baking, with a dash of vinegar and cornflour in pancakes. Yes, scrambled eggs are lovely, and I’ve eaten them, and enjoyed them, and that was okay. Now I don’t want to any more, and that’s okay too.
Some vegan friends, and online groups, try to stop their friends from eating animal products by sharing gory photographs and videos online. I’ve had aggressive messages on my own instagram feed for reposting a grapefruit curd recipe from before Veganuary, that had a couple of eggs in it. I made those things. I’m not going to pretend I didn’t, nor flail around deleting all of the carnivorous recipes from my blog (though I will eventually have a vegan alternative for most of them, because I cook to live and my blog reflects that.) Unless you live under a rock, you know that geese are force-fed copious amounts of grain to fatten their livers for foie gras. You know that baby male chicks are flung alive into a mincer. But I’m not going to gross you out with more gore and science. In my experience, yelling at people that they are wrong and disgusting rarely wins the argument, nor changes point of view. I’m doing my bit to encourage people to try vegan by making vegan food affordable and accessible and absolutely delicious. No hard-to-find ingredients, no complicated recipes, just doing what I’ve always done, but without the cooking bacon.
I won’t be throwing out my new Doctor Marten boots, or my sexy-as-hell biker jacket, or my tight leather pants that were so 2013 – but I won’t be buying any more. Not now. I won’t be posting gory videos on my social media, nor unfollowing the lush Bleecker Burger, but you’ll all be seeing a lot more curry from now on. And a world with more curry in, can only be a very good thing.
Jack Monroe. On twitter: @mxjackmonroe
Categories: Blog, Guardian Food, Recipes & Food, VEGAN, Vegan Recipes, VEGETARIAN
Animal welfare is a concern, and environmental matters are a concern which make me wonder about my consumption habits as regards meat, certainly. Perhaps even beyond consoling myself with the thought that the place we get our eggs from is so free range the chickens sometimes walk up and greet us when we come to buy. However, I do like my meat and my cheese, and less so vegetable matter. But there are some vegan things I might be able to try that are palatable, and hopefully I might find some here to try that will make an alternative to the usual “pasta Lyniezianese”* I make most lunchtimes. Again, though, when I can be bothered.
*The recipe for which varies slightly every time but is probably far too wasteful for this blog’s mission. Basically think bolognese sauce without the mince… kind of.
I try not to think to a recipe without something, like meat, but with something i.e. aubergines, you can’t do a bolognese without mince, you can do another amazing sauce, not bolognes, a different sauce, with maybe some ingredients of the bolognese sauce? Trust me I’m a southern Italian and my mom accepted more easily me being a lesbian than me becoming a vegetarian. nuts
Actually that’s kind of what I do. I’m not too sure my idea of bolognese is what any self-respecting Italian would consider as worthy of the name anyway, mind you. Largely I tend to just throw in whatever I can be bothered to that takes my fancy and can be bothered to make the effort to include. (I’d probably be too embarassed to describe here! But, if you want…?)
One thing that I would think is how what to replace the meat with to make it solid enough. Meat substitutes vary: Quorn, just about, soya mince really doesn’t work and is pretty disgusting in my view when added to something like that.
That’s great! That’s the best choice ever. At least,for me quitting meat was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Hurrah! Would you mind sharing what you are eating for vegan breakfast, these days?
Mostly porridge, granola with coconut or almond milk, fruit, smoothies, pancakes and socca.
I know a great vegan microwave granola recipe, it takes 3 minutes and tastes gorgeous. Plus it’s vegan!
So glad you are finding you in so many ways recently.
As an avid omnivore I delight in being presented delicious vegan dishes. I trust that even my limited cooking creativity will allow me to find ways to add the products I haven’t yet identified as undesirable to me in to them. And perhaps I won’t want to.
Curries are a great thing to delve deeply into: I look forward to you sharing your knowledge.
And may you find the way to sleep and still accomplish.
Yay, well done you!!!
I love you more and more every day 🙂
Been a veggie for 30 years. Now looking to go vegan myself. I am gonna follow your posts with huge interest 🙂 looking for lots of vegan meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Excellent! I went vegan five years ago and have never looked back, apart from a few occasional wobbles! I was just thinking yesterday that all the innovative vegan cookbooks are from the U.S.A. I think you’ll be the person to write the first definitive U.K. vegan cook book.
Ah check out Peace And Parsnips by Lee Watson while you wait for mine!!
Sorry Jack, you just lost me. Aubergine and Mushrooms are no substitute for meat in my book and you have to eat an awful lot of kale to get the same amount of iron as a steak provides. I have unsubcribed but you do what you feel is right for you
It’s a shame you feel that way – there’s nothing stopping you adding meat to my recipes and I’m not going to be holier-than-thou about it. But to be fair in the four years this blog has been going there has never been a steak in it anyway.
How very odd that someone would unsubscribe because you’re vegan now.
Well done Jack. Keep up the good work. I’m vegan, but like you won’t be throwing out my old leather items. I like the way eating vegan makes me feel and like you I don’t use horror stories to scare anyone into eating the way I do. I don’t need animal products in order to enjoy good food.
One person’s meat is another person’s poison. This person is subscribing to your blog now xxx
Jill, that comment is just rude and to be frank, childish. No one needs to know, nor do they care that you’ve taken issue with something Jack has said. Next time, show a little class and just unsubscribe, close the tab and exit quietly; dignity intact.
Gah so brain-washed by fcbk! Was going to comment (tongue in cheek, a bit) why isn’t there a ‘like’ button – anyway, tjl, I like your post. That is all 😉
You do have a choice, the animals do not.
I have only just found your blog and now I am super excited and can’t wait to read your posts! I have been vegetarian for over 30 years but do try to be mainly vegan so this blog about being vegan is great news. I also love curries but am not much of a cook but I do feel much encouraged by your kind and wonderful decision to be vegan. So impressed! I hope you write a vegan cookbook one day!
I’m so glad. Not just for the animals, but because for some odd reason I always felt that you and meat were an uneasy match.
All I lost by going vegan were my blackheads and monthly miseries. I hope (and expect) that you will be similarly pleasantly surprised. 🙂
well written,not preachy. we live on a croft,2 chest freezers full of home reared and killed meat…and yet…and yet,the three women in this family increasingly eating vegetarian,and vegan.
yesterday I made vegan cheese…me!! who has done cheese making courses.
For me,it is more about the effect meat production has on the rest of the world,and well basically,as an obsessed foodie,I have found vegetarian/vegan ways with vegetables much more inspiring.
i am not going to lie and say meat will never pass my lips,but it will certainly be less often. people will get outraged about anything,and you know by now,you cannot win. You should just do what’s right for you… I love your attitude,life,recipes..you go girl!!
how do you make vegan cheese
This is great news. I’ll look forward to your new vegan recipes. You’ll probably stick to unfussy ingredients on the whole, but if you do use something that’s a little out of the ordinary, let us know where we can buy it. The problem, I find, with many vegan cookbooks is that you look at the long list of exotic ingredients and think: ‘Stuff that. I’m having beans on toast’. There is definitely a gap in the market for a book on quick, easy vegan food that is nevertheless tasty. I’m still on a bit of a journey. I don’t eat meat but I still have fish and dairy. I am, however, gradually reducing the amount of these things that I consume with a view to removing them from my diet altogether.
Thank you Jack for this beautiful and insightful post. I have been vegetarian for 20+ years and only in the last few years started eating fish for health reason (heart health, menopause etc). I have been delving into veganism on and off and loved it, but it never lasted. While I know that I would find it challenging to be 100% vegan at all times, I am increasing my vegan days and dramatically reducing my fish days, already scarce as they were. I am grateful that you are taking such a gentle and considerate approach to those of us who will not follow you all the way into a cruelty free lifestyle. I have frequently been put off by aggressive, in-your-face vegans armed with gory imagery and shouty self-righteousness, as I don’t respond well to imposition, as right and proper as the message behind it might be. So, thank you again and, yes, curries might just lead the way into my total conversion, who knows?
YES that’s the point isn’t it, it might make you think a bit more about how you can increase your vegan, or even ‘just’ vegetarian, consumption and lessen up on the meat & animal prods. I’m not vege or vegan, but most meals contain no meat, and many no other animal prods – but I won’t call myself vege or vegan, nor restrict myself like that because I will fail (starting my own business leaves little time for shopping and cooking, sadly), and I have enough that I’m failing on and feeling guilty about already without adding that! But if you want to try, even just a bit, and can get some good stuff from Jack, then bloody good old way to go, I say! Cheers Jack! x
Always amazes me how aggressive people become over the meat eating issue. I wonder if it’s because they actually feel guilty about eating it & are just trying to justify it to themselves? Anywho, Good for you Jack! Don’t let the arseholes grind you down. I’m vegetarian and proud, I am also a lady bodybuilder with (moderately) big muscles. Getting enough protein has never been an issue.
Thanks for a lovely insightful article that is practical and to the point but not preachy. I’m not vegan myself, but I am dairy free and only eat a small amount of eggs and meat. My partner eats fish occasionally but is also dairy free and mostly prefers veggie food. I’m so excited to see vegan recipes from you as we’re on a budget and live in a rural town with no access to (or money for!) expensive pre made vegan foods.
Thanks for sharing the next part of your journey with us – don’t suppose there are any vegan gluten free recipes on the horizon?
Hi Jack, good on yer! I wish you all the very best with your continued foray into veganism & look forward to some yummy yummy vegan curries!! Sooo flavoursome 😋 Oh & just a tip for your pancakes from my daughter who was vegan for many years, just equal amounts of plain flour & soya milk mixed just before frying ( for some reason it doesn’t work so well the longer it sits..) will make you a very fine pancake, no other ingredients reqd😃 It’s true, they’re yummy, but didn’t really hold together when I tried either gluten-free or coconut flour😕1/4 coconut (b’day pressie from an adventurous friend!) flour & 3/4 ordinary was just about ok with careful handling!! 🤗
Jack, your comment about male baby chickens – what is t he mince used for? I would die of starvation rather than eat it. I cannot change to veggie or vegan for personal reasons, but please help me to avoid this abomination.
Cat food, I believe.
I don’t think it matters…who has the worst fate? The male chicks killed on their first day of life or the females who go on to live in cages, grow 4 times the size they would naturally and produce 5 times more eggs a year than they should? Either way the whole industry is evil…you should think about how silly it sounds to just not want to eat the little male chicks, by eating the eggs you are encouraging more little male chicks to be killed…supply and demand.
I eat everything, but I like vegan food. My favourite vegan version of Bolognese has minced aubergine/bell peppers instead of meat and I’ve recently learned how to make meringues with the water from a chickpea can – easy and delicious! So glad for you, and bonus points for not making a fuss when your innocent friends served you chicken.
I’ve made really amazing bolognese by adding lentils instead of meat (and then putting the Pot in the oven to slow-cook for a good few hours). They kinda break down and add thickness and texture and protein.
I admire this. Not something I could do as I love my meat far too much! You have taught me a fair number of things (black tea in replacement of wine in casserole and slow cooker recipes… Who knew, clearly you did 🙂 ) so I know that even though your going vegan, I can still follow along and make my tweaks as necessary. Bring it on I say 🙂
Thanks for this post, Jack. So many vegan blogs are so aggressive and unaware of the privilege of being able to afford fancy products everyday. I’m really interested in vegan recipes that don’t use nuts or coconut, as I’m allergic to both. Veganism and those allergies don’t seem to mix fully! I eat meat very rarely, and beans, pulses and lentils are the main part of my diet. Looking forward to seeing what recipes you come up with (your beet balls were delicious by the way – great lunch food).
I have a friend who’s vegan and allergic to nuts, aubergine, mushrooms and tomato…so it’s possible to find nut-free vegan recipes! But they are used in a lot of recipes (I know I use them a lot). Depending on the recipe that uses nuts, maybe you could substitute seeds, like sunflower seeds (if you don’t have a problem with those), they’re normally cheaper than a lot of nuts as well.
Ouch, that’s a horrible combo. I bet people don’t take them seriously either when she’s eating out. Good to hear that it’s possible.
I’m a big fan of sunflower and pumpkin seeds – pumpkin seed butter is delish.
What a wonderful post and thank you for it 🙂 I am working my way towards eating vegan for ethical and health reasons and happened upon your blog which i am sooooo pleased about. Eating meat/fish has always been difficult for me and i was vegetarian for many years. Like you i don’t want to judge others – i am in no way perfect so why should i expect that of others – but i do want to find a healthy way of being at peace with myself. Would be fab if you wrote a vegan book and i will definitely be looking to buy your others at it seems there are a lot of vegan recipes in there anyway. How lucky we are to have people like you who have the art of putting good wholesome recipes together for people like me who haven’t a clue!! Warmest wishes xx
I still eat a little meat and fish but find I am cooking more and more vegetarian and vegan dishes. I was shocked when my husband asked me to include more of them as he can digest them better after his recent chemotherapy. I am happy to oblige. I love your blog and recipes, straight forwards and easy to follow. Thanks for all you do. xxx
YAY well done!
I’ve been vegetarian for nearly 30 years and have only recently found your blog, but follow it avidly. Both my teenage kids were brought up vegetarian and, after a brief experiment with meat eating, my daughter has decided to become vegan. Consequently as a family we are eating many more dairy, egg and meat free meals and I have had fun experimenting with vegan baking (I recommend research on aquafaba if you haven’t already done so). Your kidney bean and peanut butter burgers have become a regular and much loved meal for the entire family, so I look forward to benefiting even more from your sensible approach to cooking now that it’s guaranteed vegan.
Great post Jack, love your approach. I’m going to give going Vegan a bash in February. As a matter of interest, have you noticed any health benefits from your vegan January?
So pleased to welcome you to the fold! Veganism is a happy world, though can be fraught with all manner of dangers. At New Year I wrote a wee piece about (easy/cheap) sustainable, inclusive, ethical veganism in the UK. Good luck! I can’t wait for all the new recipes 🙂 [http://spiceboxofearth.co.uk/2016/01/05/top-10-practical-tips-for-very-easy-sustainable-and-inclusive-veganism-in-the-uk/]
Thank you for not being one of ‘those’ vegans! A positive message is so much more powerful than a negative one. I love meat and dairy, but with exciting vegan recipes to follow I have a good reason to eat less of them and broaden my horizons.
I’m happy you’ve made this change, and that it makes you feel so good. I can’t wait to discover your new recipes.
I have a book suggestion, if you enjoy reading: Carol J. Adams, The sexual Politics of Meat. It is a vegan-feminist critical theory, and helped me a lot to tie things that were overlapping in both feminism and antispecism.
I just read it, and I really want to hear about other people who read it.
Whenever I try Vegan I always end up being hungry at the end of a meal. I have been vegetarian for over 40 years but being vegan just doesn’t do it for me. What do you think I’m doing wrong? I love the vegan ingredients but as I’m also trying to lose weight I daren’t go over the calorie limit. Could this be the problem?
I love this post! I have just done the same thing, going vegan for Veganuary and finding there’s no going back. I love the food, and will be searching this blog for more inspiration, but have been really surprised by the nastiness and finger pointing among vegans on the vegan FB groups. It’s quite off-putting for a newbie. I also agree that shouting at people and calling them rapists and murderers is no way to promote the cause. So it’s good to hear that there are other, more peaceful vegans / herbivores out there 🙂
Thank you Jack. Similar ‘Sunday roast’ upbringing, currently carnivorous family, have recently cut out beef for all of us, going meat free some days and am trying to cut out dairy, which I’m finding much harder. I really do see the need to go vegan. I’d do it in a heartbeat if I lived on my own. The thought of bringing the family with me (with the exception of one almost veggie daughter) seems like an Everest of impossibility just now, but I’m committed to making baby steps – your recipes will make some of those steps happen. And thank you for your honesty!!
You are correct: curry is fantastic. 🙂
My family isn’t vegan, but we are moving to a state of “vegan or raise it ourselves”, because we live in the country and the state of the meat industry is horrifying… Plus milk-buying (the Quebec dairy industry standards are significantly less horrifying than the US dairy standards, which is why our milk is also significantly more expensive). Fish come from the pond out back, lamb from the field behind my in-laws, and we’re putting in chicken coop in the spring. Yay country spaces that permit this…
You mention aubergine to add “meatiness” to a dish… Do you know if it freezes ok? Aka: aubergine is currently 5.99/lb, which is ludicrous and entirely unaffordable, but I wouldn’t object to eating more of it in curries if I could freeze it in summer…
I have frozen aubergine before griddle it in slices first. It seemed to be okay. I put it in moussaka
I’ve recently found myself ditching meat, just don’t want it anymore don’t fancy it, I’ve no idea why tbh, I struggle to cook physically but I think a lot of recipes you come up with I can twist enough to throw in a mini slow cooker i’ve just bought,, I’ve got a thing for butternut squash and butter bean stew and Cauliflower and spinach curry atm I want to learn how to create these tastes myself, Patiently waiting for your new book to find it’s way to me lol
If veganism makes you more comfortable with yourself, then go for it.
I became a vegetarian cook as a student for mainly practical and budgetary reasons . I was heavily influenced by the protein-balancing science set out in “Diet for a Small Planet” and underlying the recipes in that and its sequel, “Recipes….”, to which I had been introduced by a Jewish-German vegetarian hosts in the USA, over 40 years ago. It’s an approach also adopted in one of Anton Mosimann’s books – not very recently, either.
Although it includes dairy products, which you can avoid, it would be worthwhile studying this. One obtains much more usable protein by eating at the same time foods from four different categories: essentially grains, pulses and nuts/seeds (plus dairy, for non-vegans), than by eating only from one category. It’s the usability that’s the key; unlike meat and eggs, all the categories of vegetable foods have differently unbalanced mixtures of amino acids and one wastes a lot of those spare amino acids by not combining them.
It would be fascinating to see what you could create using this approach, so I hope that it appeals to you.
Congratulations on the compassionate choice. It is good for the animals, the environment and does wonders for your body and soul. We have been vegan for 11 years and feel really healthy and full of life rather than the death and suffering we used to eat. If you can get some liquid smoke (our local tesco stocks it) it is a great ingredient. We make savoury mushrooms by marinating 200g thinly sliced cheap mushrooms in 1TB soy sauce, 1tsp liquid smoke and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and baking for 12-15 mins at 220. We use them in recipes where bacon would have been used. They add a pop of savoury flavour to a dish like risotto. Best of luck with your journey. I can’t wait for your new cookbook to arrive.
So glad to hear you’re staying vegan and I’m glad to be following your blog again, Jack. I might have to actually make some of these recipes now!
Awesome Jack! Any tips on how to persuade my children to enjoy veggie curry? (or for my daughter any vegetables… last week she announced she didn’t like mash. So that only leaves peas and sweetcorn. She’s 8 and being fussy but she gets no alternative) I have reduced the amount of animal in their diets significantly, but am struggling to break away completely… Now are you staying ginless? I gave in and had a bottle of prosecco this week… I am so looking forward to the new book.
I’m looking forward to some amazing recipes, Jack. DianaW brings up a good point. When I was a student, I became a vegetarian initially just because of the financial aspect and discovered a great book called “Vegetarian Student” by Jenny Baker. Although my flatmates howled with laughter and took the pee out of me most of the time, I discovered the joys of vegetarian recipes from all around the world and many beans and silken tofu-based foods that I would have never tasted otherwise. But the premise was at that time (1980s) that vegetable proteins can only be properly assimilated by eating proteins from other groups such as pulses and grains with dairy foods, or nuts and seeds. Sorry, a bit long-winded, but has this theory been dis-proved now or should we still be careful to incorporate complementary proteins in our meals?
I read a few years ago that the complimentary idea is good but as long as the ‘complementary’ items are consumed within a few hours/the same day, they don’t all have to be in the same meal.
Thank you, Damo.
I remember reading that in my first vegetarian cookbook. I don’t know whether it has been disproved now but as long as you eat a varied diet daily you should be okay I would have thought. Mixing proteins is quite a natural thing to do anyway bean/veg curry with rice, hummus and crackers, pasta and tomato sauce etc
Hi Jack, what is the curry in the photo st the top of your blog please?
Black bean tarkari and the recipe will be along shortly
Thanks, it looks yummy!
Ah so it isn’t up yet! That’s why I can’t find it. It looks… Urid 😛
That’s great news! I’ve been following your Veganuary adventures and it sounded like it was going really well, so it’s not a surprise you’ve decided to stick with it but good news since you seemed to be really enjoying it. Look forward to reading your new recipes you come up with!
Congrats! And hope you’ll want to stick with it. My (Greek) grandmother’s youngest brother was vegan and she had adapted various family recipes for him, most notably substituting ground eggplant for ground beef–excellent over pasta and as a stuffing for grape leaves (with tomato sauce instead of avgolemono). You’ll have fun exploring.
Good on you ☺I don’t think I could go vegan, but I lean towards a veggie diet which is what we mostly eat as a family. They don’t want to go completely veggie but the compromise is we will only have the best reared meat we can afford which, on our budget, means good meat not so often. I am looking forward to your recipes and wish you the very best.
Hi, I was wondering if you knew much about being “pescatarian”, which is no meat or meat based food or no gelatine. not many people have heard of this one. so I’m not a veggie or vegan presay. I was happy to give up meat etc but I do still enjoy fish. like you said about..people still ask..how do you get your protein. that drives me up the wall. mainly because meat eaters can’t see what’s in front of their faces where protein comes from with non meat eaters. not understanding why we give up meat in the first place. I don’t know what it is but so many people try and try to get me to eat meat. (does my head in).
That dish that accompanies this piece looks lush-is there a recipe for it somewhere?
I love the idea of the Vegan diet, particularly that it means you tend to eat far more naturally and have to get creative with cookery. I haven’t ever been able to stick at it very long though! As someone with Cohn’s, I can’t eat anything in the bean family, veg that comes with a hard shell, nightshades or alliums which makes it a real struggle to cook anything that doesn’t come out beige and bland!! If you can create a low fodmap, vegan dish that isn’t tasteless slush, you’re a miracle worker! Good luck with the new books, sure they’ll be a source of inspiration 😊
Some time ago, there was a ready-meal supermarket vegetarian lasagna with lentals instead of meat, it was suprisingly good – I regularly brought it. OK, it probably had dairy cheese. But as a meat eater, choosing this particular meal suggested it was good in more than one sense. It was discontinued.
I was “officially” a vegetarian at college, after I discovered the vegi subsitutes were better than the rotten fare(*) served to the rest. Since we were served by a canteen, pre-paid, I had to eat there or
had to pay for it, and then pay extra for what I would eat, which I could not afford, so I “apparently” went vegi. I was rather surprised that my friends didn’t realise the same and follow suit.
Your choice on Vegan, probably won’t be mine for now, but will continue to follow.
(*) Even the veg served to the rest was bad. “Ratatouille” was just boiled [bell] peppers/Capsicums. No hint of tomatoes or any other ingredient. I also remember feathers on a chicken joint which really pushed me over the edge with that canteen.
this is wonderful news. Veganism is the best option for the animals, for the planet and for our health. There are many misconceptions about the vegan diet being too expensive, restrictive, unhealthy and difficult. If there is one person who is well placed to dispel these myths its you jack! Wishing you all the best j
Good for you! I made the same decision at the beginning of January and it feels right!
I have been trying to get hubby to eat veggie for over 30 years to no avail. But he loves curries so I can sneak a few vegan curries in now and I’m sure he wont suspect a thing. Can’t wait for the recipes. Thanks Jack love your blog.
Brilliant. Anyone can produce a nice meal with a lump of meat or chicken, but good vegetarian and vegan recipes are much harder to find, and most require you to use every pan in the house and start cooking the night before. Really looking forward to your blog now.
PS Am not veggie, but would be much more likely to become so if I could put together a week’s meals of vegan food and not feel sick of sludge by day 3.
You will be such an asset to the vegan community. Many (especially on youtube) are trying to dispel the myth that being vegan is expensive. Obviously some of the items such as ‘vegan meats and cheese alternatives’ are expensive, but they are a niche product.
I would recommend the books The Starch Solution and The China Study, also ‘Forks Over Knives to understand why being vegan/ plant based diet is healthy.
The Starch Solution is a really cheap way to eat, as it centers around starches which are the cheapest foods.
I’ve been vegan for 2 years now, best decision I ever made. I feel so much healthier, and I am eating a more varied diet now than before.
Hi Jack, this is exactly the situation I am in at the moment with veganism. If you love curries, check out this blog – it is vegetarian as well, but all the dishes are easily veganized. http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/
It’s my fave recipe website! I love it.
Once you go Vegan you wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. I found I ate more variety of food than I ever did as a meat eater.
You were always one of my favourite bloggers now we need a vegan book lol.
I really like your approach, Jack. Some of us would find veganism hard – for example, I get the most terrible griping pains from kidney beans and chickpeas. That was why I gave up being veggie, as getting protein more easily became important for health reasons. In the past you’ve offered great alternative ingredient ideas to make your meat or dairyesque recipes veggie or vegan. Any chance that, for a few of your future recipes, you could suggest dairy or even meat/fishalternative ingredients? Or would that be too difficult on ethical grounds?
this sounds so good! 🙂 I have to admit I sometimes struggle with eating vegan when I am out with friends and it’s hard to find any vegan recipe, but most of the time I feel more energetic and healthy and I think this is great, so I’m happy you feel so well with eating vegan! 🙂
Don’t think I could ever go vegan, I was a vegetarian for a few years. Was a disaster mostly due to my boarding school thinking if I couldn’t have meat, grated carrots was a good replacement. So often I would have boiled rice and grated carrots. Not enough vitamins.
Anyhow I’m now a meat eater again, but have introduced three meatless days in the house, which baby blip and I enjoy.
So love reading your blogs and good luck!
Welcome in the vegan club! I’ll be happy to look at your new vegan recipe and copy them XD Thank you!
I’m so excited about the cookery book coming out in May. I eat meat – though less of it these days, and I doubt I will stop completely. However, I do try and source my meat from local suppliers and small businesses rather than the supermarkets.
The people who have got upset about your veganism clearly do not have the imagination to adapt your recipes to add a bit of meat.
I look forward to more recipes and your blog – you have a wonderful way with words.
I follow a few vegan blogs because their love for the food they make is inspiring. I also like the innovation that comes from vegan cooking. All that hate out there is not going to change anyone’s diets but making a positive show-case for vegan food might tempt people to try vegan cooking and eat less meat. I have reduced my meat intake and that can’t be a bad thing.
I’ve been a vegetarian for nearly 30 years and was Vegan for a while but that is difficult to sustain when your partner is a meat eater. I’ve never pushed my views or my lifestyle on others, if asked why I’m vegetarian I tell them the truth, that as a pacifist I can not condone the death of anything for me to live when it’s unnecessary, but everyone has to make their own choices in this matter. As for throwing away good clothes when they were bought or gifted when your lifestyle was different that would be a crime.
Have you found the post punk kitchen yet, theppk.com, and the simple veganista blog. Loads of fab recipes.
Well done Jack!
I’m a long time vegan, but have always loved your omni blog for the way you write about food. This is just the icing on the cake!
So happy to hear this! I agree that with veganism, the proof of the pudding most certainly is in the eating- it doesn’t matter what logical facts or arguments you use, people won’t do what they can’t see being done.
It’s fantastic a mainstream (ie, you don’t market yourself on being vegan) cook has gone vegan, this will influence far more people than some specifically vegan personalities, as many people will not have heard of them, or seek that sort of thing out. I think often vegans focus on ‘winning the argument’ rather than having the biggest impact. Vegan Strategist has interesting things to say about this and although I never want to eat animal products again I support the need for reducetarianism as this could ultimately have more impact than persuading a few vegetarians to make the full switch.
Such am interesting read. I love hearing the origin stories for peoples vegan journeys. For me, it all began when I fell in love with my pet chicken. Then I made the connection and I could not eat Miss Princess Penny Muffits friends. I hope your still sticking with it!
Excited to see a somewhat vegan cookbook from you and maybe in the future a completely vegan cookbook.
I am not a vegetarian but I am eating less and less meat. I am also drawn to veganism as I think the dairy industry is even worse than the meat industry but I don’t know what to do without milk, butter, eggs and, especially, cheese. I need help!
If anyone needs help shopping vegan in the UK, I have a site that lists over 750 vegan products that are sold in normal supermarkets: myvegansupermarket.co.uk. You can search by name/shop/category, and I’m adding more all the time!
Not sure if it is here or there but I’ll put it out just in case. Many people (often the elderly) have digestive problems when they eat beans. This is the chief problem when I make meat free meals at home. So I wonder to what extent diets based on pulses are suitable for the elderly – or are some pulses more likely to offend than others?
Have you tried using aquafaba? (word made up by marketing people for the water from a can of chickpeas or beans). It has a protein very similar to egg white and is brilliant for binding pastry instead of an egg, or to use as an egg replacement in cakes. It has no taste, it comes free with your beans and has no fat – win win! I’ve tried it in a few things and it’s worked really well.
I’m surprised at how many people have commented on Jack not being one of *those* vegans.
It’s a shame the small minority of preachy vegans give the rest of us (non-preachy ones) a bad name…
In the lead up to trying veganuary 2017 I’ve revisited this post and the tone and message still really speak to me, as they did a year ago. I want to reduce my environmental impact in a sustainable way, and a move to try vegan is the logical next step from vegetarianism. With an allergy to nuts and coconuts, some of the vegan staples are out of the question for me, and I won’t be beating myself up if this means I sometimes struggle.
I’m excited to start veganuary and will be utilising many of recipes. I’ll be using variations on this phrase of yours when I’m struggling to explain what I’m doing.
“Yes, scrambled eggs are lovely, and I’ve eaten them, and enjoyed them, and that was okay. Now I don’t want to any more, and that’s okay too”