Day two of my week of being vegan and I’m learning a lot – and finding animal products in unexpected places.
I start with an easier breakfast today of cereal, almond milk, fruit and coconut yoghurt. It’s not as high in protein as my egg-based breakfasts. I feel full until about 11, when I need a pre-gym snack to keep me going. I have a couple of bliss balls.
Shopping as a vegan is slightly more of a thinking exercise than regular shopping. I eat minimal processed foods, but even the ones I do eat require extra checking. Dark chocolate, for example, which I’d thought would be vegan, varies a lot between brands. Some contain milk solids and some simply contain that frustrating phrase: ‘may contain traces of”. I’ve always taken this to mean that the food has been made in a plant where the potential allergen (eg, dairy, egg, soy) has also been processed. I don’t buy any chocolate but check with vegans on Instagram, who mostly say they don’t worry too much about this.
Wine is another tricky one. How can wine contain animal products, you may ask? It’s actually a processing issue. Egg white is sometimes used in clarifying or ‘fining’ wine. And sometimes they use something called isinglass, which Wikipedia tells me is ‘a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish’. Vegans on social media are divided on the wine issue. Some don’t worry about it and some are okay with egg white but not isinglass. There are lists of vegan-friendly wine online, though, so I can check my favourite brands. Interestingly, expensive French champagne is vegan friendly. Local, inexpensive bubbly is not!
Lunch: I often have bowl-style lunches where I throw together grains, veges, protein and a topping. Today I stir-fry some marinated tofu and add to a bowl containing brown and wild rice, rocket, carrot, capsicum, tahini and kimchi. It’s colourful, spicy and good.
Dinner: I’m at a friend’s place for dinner. He makes salads full of crunchy veges and cheese. Except mine has no cheese. At the movies, there are no vegan snacks (I assume the popcorn involves some kind of butter). I eat one peanut M&M from my friend’s packet. It tastes like sugar and guilt.
*Follow Niki’s journey on her Instagram account @nikibezzant