By Angie Jacobs
It all vegan when we watched a documentary on Netflix called Vegucated. It followed three meat and cheese loving New Yorkers who agreed to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. “We could do that”, I challenged my ‘I like a bit of bread on my butter’ husband, Tony. “We could do it while the kids are away in August, just for the two weeks, obviously” I continued. “Ok,” he replied, “but can we still have chicken on a Friday night?”
As with making other lifestyle changes, it’s always a good idea to tell people you are doing it. You feel committed and less likely to wimp out. I opened my big gob, both on Facebook and in real life. When people asked why we were going vegan for two weeks, I explained about the positive effects on our health, the peace of mind of knowing that no animals were killed to feed us and the reduction, however small, our efforts would make to the carbon footprint. When people asked Tony why we were doing it, his answer was more simple: “Angie thinks she might lose weight.”
I do love my food. As a family, we’re all about supper. I love cooking, too, and this challenge would be about making more recipes from scratch rather than getting processed convenience food out of the freezer.
What’s more, I had a week off work so could have some really quality time with my new vegan cookbooks that I had bought from Amazon with my birthday money. (Don’t tell my mum. Ever since I can remember, the cheque has been given to me with the words: ”And get yourself some new clothes!”).
But before I started cooking, I turned to Facebook and made a page called “Angie & Tony – The Vegan Fortnight.” As is always the way, I found myself far more amusing than my readers and spent lots of time answering my own requests for famous vegans. Quinoa Reeves, I quipped, Kale Machlachlan, Lasoya Jackson, Nut King Cole. I moved on to songs: Pearl Barley’s a Singer (Elkie Brooks), Pasta Duchie on the Left Hand Side (Musical Youth) and Love Me for a Raisin (The Osmonds). No? Them neither.
So back to the gig. How difficult could it be? I mean, as Jews we’re used to all this dietary regime stuff. Veganism would be just like eating constant parev … oh, but no eggs, ouch. In fact, it would be a little like an inverse Pesach (okay, so potatoes sit in both camps).
Indeed, the night before the challenge was a bit like erev Pesach, with lots of yogurt and cheese finishing off.
It was a tough job and we had to do it.
The day arrived and we kicked off with cereal and that nice coconut milk we’d had at the V Delicious Day at Olympia. Hmmm, it tasted different. I’ll have cheese on toast instead. Er, no. Eggs?
Breakfast really was rather tricky and ended up with toast and non-dairy spread – every day. But I got into my stride for lunch and supper and with the help of my recipe books, made some top nosh.
So what did we eat? It’s got nothing tofu with you. (Sorry, that was meant to be a joke). Tofu, despite having a bad press, is really quite good when it’s part of a Thai curry. We made our own paste using fresh lime juice and basil and it’s even been eaten without complaint by our offspring since we’ve been carnivorous again.
Homemade mushroom burgers have also gone down a treat as have lots of interesting grainy salads. Freekeh, bulgar, spelt and couscous. Who knew?
And what of my chicken loving husband? He didn’t get his roast, but there was some fowl play. Despite having parev chocolate in the house, he still took a packet of Maltesers up to bed with him every evening.
I felt like a woman cheated. His defence was that it wasn’t a religion and he could do what he wanted. I let him believe it.
We broke it after 13 days as the kids were home from their vegetarian camps and chalisching for a bit of flayshik. (Also, our butcher had thrown in a piece of lamb with a deal on a barbecue won in a competition, but that’s another story.) A moral, moral victory.
Did I lose weight? Did I heck.
After all, nobody said you can’t have wine and tortilla chips.
One more famous vegan? Sean Bean.