It has been more than two decades since I last ate a sausage. Around 246 months since I sat down to a roast chicken dinner. Over a thousand weeks since I last tasted a ham sandwich. I gave up eating meat when I was a teenager after reading about the environment, and working on the meat counter at the local Co-op. Full disclosure: the final straw was watching the movie Se7en on video. Ugh.
It was the right decision. I felt better about the impact I was making on the environment (ie it was a lot, lot smaller) and finally I really began to enjoy my food. I ate more heartily, rather than pushing my food around the plate. Vegetables were my friends. As a student I embraced the lentil and ate frugally; when I started working in London I expanded my culinary repertoire, and even visited fancy vegetarian restaurants.
Big whoop. I’m not vegetarian. Not really. I am a pescetarian, I guess. When I announced my plan to go veggie, my mum, understandably worried about my vitamin and protein intake, asked me to keep eating fish. I was happy to agree – after all, I didn’t know whether a vegetarian diet was healthy either. And while I was a student, it was largely irrelevant, because fish was too pricey for my shopping basket, but after graduating, once I moved in with my omnivorous other half , who swoons with delight at a fishmonger’s window, I began to eat more and fish – not just anchovies in my puttanesca sauce, but tuna sarnies, roast salmon, prawn curry …
Searching my heart, and my tastebuds, I reckon I could give up the fish just like that. [fingersnap] I should have done so years ago, although it would have been a shame not to be able to share those meals with my partner, and it does make dinner parties easier … Heck, there’s always an excuse.
That’s not the thing that’s worrying me. It’s all those articles about the dairy industry, and the problems with poultry farming, that I push to one side. Forget the fish, I have a niggling feeling that I need to give up eating all animal products entirely.
In short it’s time to give veganism a whirl. So I have signed up for Veganuary.
As of 1 January 2017 I will be going vegan for a month. Thirty-one days without cheese, eggs, milk, butter, honey, fish and yeah, meat.
So if I falter I am going to set myself a forfeit. If I crack and eat a slice of Welsh rarebit, I will do something I have never done before. I’ll eat a Big Mac.
The thought of eating this makes me feel genuinely sick. I really don’t want to do that. I mean no way on this green earth would I ever want to taste that muck. So this is my insurance policy – steer clear of the dairy and eggs and I don’t have to contemplate the putrid patty punishment.
How hard can it be? It’s just breakfast, lunch and dinner for 31 days. Ninety-three vegan meals. Starting … soon.