“Fuck!”, my heart hit the floor. I believed I’d failed, just approaching the final week of veganism. I was chatting to a vegan friend of mine about Marmite, and how I loved it so, and that it’d saved me in certain moments of weakness over the past few weeks. Confusion over whether it contained animal products ensued. The thought of failing so close to the finish line was scary, it still is.
There weren’t any animal bits in the tarry jar but I think if there were, that would’ve been okay.
Saying it’s okay to slip up isn’t some vain attempt at giving myself an out. I don’t mean it to be. I’ve come to think veganism is aspirational in this day and age. It seems inevitable one would slip up when animal products have god-like omnipresence. It’s found in so many places, it just takes a quick flip of the box to see. A slip-up now and then seems inevitable.
I’ve said trips around the supermarket had become a library session, which they were. However, not anymore, because I’ve decided to stick the peripheries of the supermarket, unless I know exactly what I’m going for, and what’s in it. I’m just too lazy. I’d be interested to see what a lazy vegan eats.
When I was filtering through the food, I was finding milk powder, traces of eggs and milk, as well as the forbidden E numbers. They’re the ones I’ve been told to check, or steer clear from. They come from lanolin, dye from cochineal beetles or edible bone phosphates. I’ve only had to check once though.
While I’ve said being a vegan is an aspirational endeavour, I think it’s achievable if you rid yourself of those boxed, jarred or vacuum-wrapped goodies in the belly of the supermarket beast. Thankfully there’s this thing called the internet, which is often quite helpful if you’re in doubt. But, there are certainly times when it’s difficult.
Cue the barbecue last weekend: ribs, sausages, burgers; cheese, mayonnaise, eggs. I couldn’t eat any of this, so I stuck with my eggplant and vege sausages, which was hard. Cue the next morning’s hangover (yes, vegans can enjoy alcohol): my mates tore into their wagyu burgers and duck-fat fries, while I savoured the taste of quinoa and green beans. The pangs of hunger for meat are often there.
Eating out, or in, with meat-eaters has been difficult. I’ve been rather hermit-like, living in fear of having to say ‘I’m a vegan’. But I did it, and both instances have been fine so far. Both haven’t been terrible experiences, actually rather pleasant.
That’s what I look forward to most, I think. I look forward to being able to go to a restaurant without having to sheepishly ask if they can do something to adhere to my eating rules. Unfortunately, that’s probably the only reason I won’t be adhering to this for the rest of my life.
One thing I may be doing from now on is looking to understand where everything comes from, the processes behind them and whether I’m okay with that. One more week.