After a very encouraging start yesterday, I spent yesterday doing my research, downloading recipes and mentally planning where I could buy everything. Working full time, it seems like a lot to fit in cooking and preparing lunches for the week, although I know in the long run it’s going to cost me less- both financially and time-wise.

I got a two week vegan menu plan from PETA.org, but it was from the American site so a lot of it’s gonna be either hard or impossible to find- or I wouldn’t want to use it anyway (canola oil, anyone?). Most of it looks like a case for clever substitution though, so I’m hoping it won’t be too difficult. In any case, who ever said a challenge was easy?

Armed with a plastic folder full of recipes, I headed to Asda and was pleasantly surprised at how cheaply I managed to pick up what I needed. I’d found this tex mex bean recipe on Domestic Sluttery but, as it was dinner time, wanted something a bit more substantial. I also wanted to practise my tofu making skills and add a kick, so I got a block of Cauldron smoked, firm tofu and substituted black beans and olive oil for kidney beans in chilli sauce. I usually douse most dinners in a healthy glug of chipotle sauce, so any alternative is entirely welcome.

I’d been dismayed to find out that two of my favourite cheeky weekend treats- Kopparberg cider and Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer- aren’t vegan, and Kopparberg isn’t even vegetarian. Apparently they use gelatine in the filtration process, which made me hit the absolute boak. Thankfully Rekorderlig cider is fully vegan, and I found a plentiful supply. It can never be said that I don’t know how to prioritise!

It was with a heavy heart that I had to walk by a lonely Camembert in the reduced to clear section (weep) and the smell of the boy’s meat feast pizza in the oven was almost too much. And I didn’t even eat meat in the first place! The preparation process took my mind off such things though. I think if I were doing it every night, with stock piled ingredients, it’d be fine. After all, this was just a practise run. I actually think it turned out pretty well, and my pizza cravings were banished when I saw our dinners side by side!

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It was far more filling than I thought and there was still more than half left over. It might even taste a bit better now that the tofu has had time to sook up all the added spices. I’ve had it before, but I always expect it to taste like Quorn chicken and I’m always a little disappointed when it doesn’t.

Major food shopping is going to have to wait until the weekend when I have access to the car, so today I decided to give my system a wee break and ease up on the full-on fibre and protein assault. I found Alpro Soya yogurts for the same price as regular yogurts, and picked up some Nakd bars for a sweet treat. I was already a fan of them, and as long as I drop any pretence that they resemble chocolate in any way, I think we’ll get along fine.

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I’ve always had an on/off relationship with eating meat. I was never a huge fan even as a wee yin, hiding mince in my juice cup to be disposed of after dinner. I swore off pork for a while as a teenager, after I read about the horrors of pig farming processes. Somewhere in my late teens I picked it up again because I was too poor/lazy/unimaginative to bother with anything else, but a bad experience with pulled pork hoisted me back onto the vegetarian wagon again.

OK, I confess- I was more of a pescetarian type. Mostly for the variety of pre-packed sandwiches: I hadn’t got over my food laziness, and when the scent of egg and cress makes you physically gag, your only easy veggie options involve all the cheese. Which, as much as I love it, isn’t the best for an everyday choice.

I hit a stumbling block on my first day... apparently Quorn steak strips contain eggs. Although this was after halfway through a day which involved milky coffee and a cheese roll, so...

I hit a stumbling block on my first day… apparently Quorn steak strips contain eggs. Although this was after halfway through a day which involved milky coffee and a cheese roll, so…

I’d been toying with the idea of veganism for a while. It seemed like an awful lot of work and preparation- and a great big fat expense, too. Plus… no cheese. I wasn’t sure how I’d fare in a world without pizza or brie (occasionally both at the same time). Still, I’d made good on my new year’s resolution to work out more and start getting into shape, but felt my diet wasn’t really helping.

A lot of my job involves sitting down, and my worst fear was of getting into the habit of staying sedentary but eating convenience junk. I’d also been reading up on farming practices and how harmful they were for both animals and the environment: not just for meat production, but dairy too.

So today's desk lunch wasn't so inspired, but yet again I left myself without time...

So today’s desk lunch wasn’t so inspired, but yet again I left myself without time…

While scrolling the internet on a quiet work day- umm, I mean my own time- I found out about Meat Free May and the 30 Day Pledge. As I was already mostly meat-free, this felt like the kick start I needed to give veganism the old college try. I should’ve maybe waited until payday and after my Easter eggs were but a distant memory, but what’s a challenge without a little temptation and hardship to make it interesting?

This was utterly disgusting. I can’t even describe how rank it was. Thankfully smooshing it in with a whole mango and some bananas disguised its awfulness.

I signed up, like everything else, headfirst and without thorough planning. Which may have been a mistake, but still. I’m waiting to be sent all the information on how to ease myself into it- or not, as the case may be, but a little advice wouldn’t go amiss. In this day and age there’s a blog for everything, so I figured that by documenting my experiences, I could track my progress and see in black and white how I’d got on. I will very probably regret this at some point, but who knows- after a month, I might not even miss cheese.

Oh God, I miss cheese.