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October 26, 2011

Comments

Gracey

Hello Andrea,
I'm a long time reader and this post has finally prompted me to comment. Congratulations on deciding to give veganism a try, I hope it goes well for you. You expressed some concerns, and I wanted to try and answer them for you. I apologise if any of this is really obvious!

I've been vegan for 6 years, so allow me to give some feedback. If people ask you over for a meal, remember that this is because they enjoy your company and (hopefully) respect who you are and your health/ethical choices. The best option is to tell them that you are vegan and offer to bring a dish for everyone to share. Many people will be intrigued and want to cook vegan for you. I find it's best to bring lots of something that everyone can share, and avoid a dish which uses fake meat, cheese, and any immediately obvious tofu which might scare people off. Sneaky tofu is encouraged, however. Ask that they intend to make and bring something they can have as a side, and eat it as a main course. I have never had anyone refuse to accommodate me/allow me to feed myself.

I would also recommend not talking about your reasons for being vegan while you're eating- people can feel they are being attacked even if they asked you why in the first place(!) Also it gets very boring to have to go through it every time you sit down to eat with a new person. I usually say a variant of "I get asked that question a lot, let's talk about something else for now and if you're really interested ask me after dinner." People are a lot more objective when they don't have their food in front of them and feel the need to defend it!

As to suggestions of where to eat out- I believe you're in the UK? Eating out japanese or thai is usually good, and many places will swap egg noodles for rice noodles of dishes aren't vegan already. Wagamama is a great place to go. Indian is good too, just ask if there is ghee in the creamy curries and if there is stick to things like dahl. Mexican can be good too, and cheeseless pizza. Otherwise you might find yourself eating a lot of beans on toast (no butter please!) and felafel wraps, or hummus with bread. Also ask about the soup of the day, as it will often be vegan. If you're going to a place you didn't choose, try to ring ahead and ask them. Then if they do provide for you, tip and praise the staff and write a letter or email saying how great they did.

For myself my intuitive eating journey is taking me in the opposite direction. I am only now realising that my strict veganism was edging into orthorexia, with a side order of binge-eating disorder. I am experimenting with being only 90% vegan and actually adding some sustainably(as far as is possible) sourced fish protein and eggs into my diet, because allowing myself to eat it when I'm hungry for it seems to prevent my going out and binging on really ethically dubious animal foods which I don't even want/like. It feels very counter intuitive but I am fighting hard to undo years of very disordered eating.

Not that all veganism is eating disordered! I look forwards to settling into a happy, intuitive way of being vegan soon, because I genuinely believe in the ethical effects.

Best of luck,

Gracey

Andrea Wren

Hi Gracey,

Thanks so much for your very informative and thoughtful comment. You have offered so many tips here, for which I'm very grateful!

I'd never have considered to put off questions until after dinner, which I even get as a veggie. Yet, there have been many occasions where once I've started to explain (because someone has asked), I have felt uncomfortable.

It's interesting that your intuitive journey is also meaning you're starting to make non-vegan choices - mine meant that I ate meat for a full three years! I have 'returned' to vegetarianism though, and this is the first time ever that I've decided to try veganism.

As I said, I do overall want to reduce my reliance on anything from animals. But as I was telling a friend, there is a guy who lives near me who has hens (in fact, he rescues them too), which all live out their natural lives with him, and he sells their eggs. I don't have a problem in buying those eggs from him.

So - although in November I intend to not eat any eggs, of course (because I really would like to learn how to build my repertoire of vegan recipes), I think on this level I would never be a 'committed vegan' (I'm happy to go and get eggs from the guy near me with the happy hens!).

Thanks so much again for taking the time to comment - you wouldn't guess how much your comment has helped me feel excited about the month ahead, and my experiment/challenge.

Andrea

Gracey

So, how did it all go?

It's so interesting that you also moved from being vegetarian to eating meat as part of your intuitive eating journey- I wonder if this is a part of the 'legalising all foods' process?

For myself, I feel much happier being about 80% vegan.
I am enjoying quietly breaking some of my unconscious food rules- like eating bread more than once a day, and drinking fruit juice or anything with sugar in. I even ate white pasta which is something of a 'fear food' for me. (I'm not even gluten intolerant, I just have weird rules.) You'd think I was eating babies, the amount of freaking out that has been happening, but it's getting better and I have been binging much much less.

Hope all is well your end.
Here's to a calm, vegan and intuitive christmas season x x x x

Andrea

Hi Gracey!

I'd say that I'm like you now - probably vegan around 80% of the time.

I have a new site, and so I wrote a full update on where I'm at following my vegan challenge on there: http://butterflyist.com/after-my-30-day-vegan-challenge/

Andrea

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Hello!

  • I'm Andrea, and am obsessed with creating fabulous food. After I managed to ditch dieting, the reason Chocolate and Beyond was born, it seemed natural to evolve my site into a foodie blog. More so since I also ditched animal produce to be vegan. Now, I love showing how inventive cruelty-free cooking can be. And sometimes I like to rant, too. I wouldn't be myself otherwise :) x

    PS. This blog LOVES your comments! Especially about the food!

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