So it is the end of Ramadan so ends my month of veganism, and in the last 30 days I have learnt some interesting things about the lifestyle but here are my top ten take aways from the challenge:
1. Prepare yourself for the jokes and the questions
Everyone will make them, every single person you know will question what you eat, where you get your protein and suddenly everyone becomes a nutritionalist, “you know you need to eat more x to get more vitamin y”, “you know you get protein from beans, you should eat more beans”. It is constant. People will make jokes about you becoming a rabbit and not eating “real food” and will poke at what ever you are eating in both intrigue and distain.
2. You’re going to need to eat a lot more
I didn’t even consider my potions when I started this but I found very quickly that I was eating more than I normally do, not lots more but there was a significant difference.
3. The temptation to live on french fries becomes almost unbearable
Going out is tough, especially in Dubai where the question “is it vegan” evokes looks of complete confusion like you have just grown a second head, so more often than not the easiest option is to just go for a portion of fries. Everyone thinks that being vegan is super healthy but in fact it’s actually easier to be just as unhealthy as the omnivores among us, maybe even more so when your easiest option is pasta or potatoes.
4. Giving up meat isn’t the hard part
Cheese. Cheese is the killer. Every vegetarian option has some sort of cheese or milk involved and the amount of stuff which contains milk proteins or something else derived from dairy is ridiculous. I was quiet happy to not have meat, but I really missed cheese.
5. You will feel lighter
You might not loose weight but you will feel strangely lighter, it’s an odd feeling and it’s not just after you’ve eaten, it’s all the time.
6. Invites will stop comming
People will stop inviting you over or out for dinner because you’re “too much work”, if they aren’t eating a vegan diet themselves they will struggle to think of stuff to feed you and so they just stop bothering.
7. Drinking is hard
Most wine is not vegan friendly, nor are beers or ciders, even spirits while they themselves are fine most of the juices and soft drinks you mix them with are probably not vegan. You might just have to discover a love of neat vodka.
8. Snacking is a mission
When your options are nuts, fruit or vegetable sticks things get a little limited, you can’t even enjoy crisps with 90% of dips and while I love hummus there is a limit. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’re going to have to get creative because remember, refined sugar is not vegan.
9. Prepare to get gassy
No word of a lie, the vegan diet is going to mess with your digestive system, your first week will be the worst but it’s not going to get any less gassy.
10. There are many levels of veganism
When you start out you think there are just regular run of the mill vegans, those who don’t eat animal products and don’t wear leather but you’d be wrong. Even vegans are super judgmental of one another because some vegans just aren’t vegan enough for the others. There are the raw vegans, plant based vegan, the junk food vegan and the paleo vegan to name a few, there are those who cheat, those who wont touch anything that has been within 2 meters of an animal and those who just eat vegan cause they like it. There is no safety within the vegan community, someone will still judge you for what you eat.