How To Go Vegan

Hull Journalist takes a Seven-Day Vegan Challenge and lives to tell the (positive) tale

English Reporter from Hull Anna Riley tests her Vegan Credentials

Are you sceptical about the term ‘vegan’? You’re not alone. Unless you’ve been leaving on a deserted island you can hardly be unaware of the huge trend towards vegan living, particularly by the young. So Anna Riley, a Hull Live reporter, decided to see what it means to go vegan – for seven days. Not only did she survive, but she actually thrived and wrote about her experience in the Hull Daily Mail.

The struggle was real

She understood and relished the concept: completely restraining from using animals for any reason whatsoever. As practicable as it may sound, quitting meat, fish, seafood, eggs and cheese (she was a huge lover) for good was certainly hard. Oh and drizzling honey.

Supermarket shopping became a treasure hunt for her. It was really difficult for Riley to find an aisle designated for vegans as the selections were limited. As easy as it is to find fruit and veg, searching for products labelled vegan at times felt like trying to find deckchairs in Antarctica.

Yummy for her still hungry tummy

Riley found that her strong cravings for meat started to disappear when she replaced her meals with tasty vegan food. She admitted that real cheese is for her better than vegan cheese. However, she loved the variety this lifestyle brings.

One thing the egg enthusiast did not enjoy was missing egg ova! But readymade vegan meals did win her taste buds over as she did not have to worry about using a chopping board. Milk and yoghurt became a thing of the past as dairy-free alternative took the reins. Oh, and she did still feel a little hungry after eating – possibly due to a lower calorie intake.

The tea rounds with the colleagues at work became tricky as she did not feel like carrying dairy-free milk cartons to work. Problem solved with black coffee. Or maybe not: mistakes happened and milk ended up in her coffee as her colleagues forgot her mission. Of course, there were some doughnuts and cakes on the table. Dairy is everywhere, she realised.

Good(bye) to social life?

If you haven’t found it hard to pick a restaurant in your life, then you have not tried being a vegan yet. The ratio of vegan to meat-eating restaurants in Hull is overwhelmingly unfavourable. If you do not like being picky, then you will learn to be very choosy. Vegan menus are still on the rise, but the reporter could not say the same for tasting beers and wines. Some of them include animal products during their production process which meant skipping the pub for the week. Smoothies to the rescue!

The reporter found that her energy levels increased and this inspired to increase her exercise routine. Generally speaking, she felt better physically and morally, her skin got clearer, she lost weight and had some few ‘extra fibre’ trips to the toilet.

Turning into a full-time vegan would be a hard decision and she would highly suggest trying it for a while at least for the experience.

“Even though I found the concept of going vegan for a week quite daunting, and found it difficult at first, I actually really benefited from the experience and would recommend everyone to at least give it a try to see how they get on,” says Anna.

Everybody’s journey is different. This journalist’s journey is very encouraging. She had no particular leaning towards being a vegan, but nevertheless found the experiment to be a positive experience which has changed her, and as she continues she will no doubt continue to change. Whilst she is happy to eat some bacon sandwiches, or have a real burger at a BBQ, or eat a pizza topped with real cheese from time to time, she has learned how much we rely on animal products. For now happily giving up milk, yoghurts and butter Anna is poised to make an effort to help the environment by eating more vegan meals. And so should we all.

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Jacobus Lavooij

Jacobus is an experienced editor and writer whose interest vegan issues began with understanding the environmental consequences of the food industry. He loves vegan food and is a passionate communicator of its benefits. He is a Dutch national and lives in Copenhagen, Denmark. Contact: jacobus@vegansbethechange.com
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