“Sorry I can’t, I’m vegan” can seem up there with the top most used phrases I say on a day to day basis. You can’t indulge in a cake at your cousin’s birthday, or get an ice cream in the park on a hot day or share a box of chicken nuggets after a night out with your friends. I get it, it can totally feel like you are missing out on the little things in life that add enjoyment to your day.
I’m very fortunate that a lot of the people I hang out with are vegetarian and vegan. The majority of my best school friends growing up are now vegan, so any time we arrange to meet we are all very conscious of eating somewhere with vegan options. However, that was not the case when I first went vegan around 2 years ago. But let me tell you, when you learn the tricks of the trade, maintaining a vegan diet is a piece of cake (but vegan cake, obviously!).
Eat a hearty breakfast before you leave
Walking along Oxford road to University everyday can be absolute torture when I haven’t eaten my breakfast. Everywhere I look is a coffee shop with buns and bagels begging me to devour them. That is why you need a stomach full of filling food to engage that willpower back into action so you can say no to the temptations. I recommend porridge with lots of fresh fruit and finished off with a sprinkle of cinnamon. If you are feeling extra fancy, add our homemade sugar free rhubarb jam to create a comforting winter breakfast!
Pack your damn lunch!
Finding vegan snacks is a lot easier than finding a vegan meal while you are out and about. You look at every meal deal and the sandwich either has butter, meat or mayo on it. I believe Pret A Manger do a lovely salad boxes but you are going to need an extra full time job to fund your expensive eating habits! So, my advice is to pack a big lunch so you are not starving and have to pig out on whatever you can find. I tend to pack a tub of pasta or sandwich. Basically, something that is easy to eat on the go! I know it might mean getting up 15 minutes earlier but it can be a life saver!
Take tasty treats while you travel
I always find that keeping a few snacks in your back pocket can be really helpful. Sometimes you can feel fatigued throughout the day and that hunger can kick itself back into gear, so you just need a little something to keep you going. I recommend anything from the ‘Naked’ brand. The bars are all made of natural ingredients like nuts, fruit and cocoa. So, that means you can indulge in what tastes like your nanas lemon drizzle cake but don’t have the food guilt after!
Always remind yourself why you do it
If you ever find maintaining a vegan diet difficult, try to remind yourself of how much of a positive impact you are having on the world. I know people get into the pessimistic thought patterns of ‘how can one person make a difference?’, but you totally are! I promise you! The environment, the animals and the people of earth are benefiting from your acts of compassion. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
When people transition to veganism they are sometimes unsure of what they should be eating. You may just be opting for obvious salads and fruit, which if that is all you eat, you are going to constantly feel peckish. Remember all the amazing foods you can still eat which will leave you satisfied! You can still eat all the foods you used to like pasta, rice and potatoes which you can smother in beans, lentils and veggies! And hummus tastes good on anything!