The End of Veganuary…or is it?
So, here we are at the end of the month – how did I make out?
As I was hoping, I’ve been able to try out some new recipes and hone some fresh techniques – the increased use of tahineh, especially that sauce, was revelatory, breaking down my reticence to work with tofu is going to come in handy, and the triumph of the injera is something I’ll be returning to regularly.
Well, as noted at the half-way mark and, really, throughout, this hasn’t been that large of a change for me, starting as I did from a near-vegetarian diet. The restriction throughout the day made for some tight moments – even just today, come 11:20, my empty stomach was making its presence known. Much to the enjoyment of my most proximate colleagues. I’ve certainly been getting enough to eat at meal times, but the absent inter-meal grazing is still a lack sorely felt.
Regrettably, I didn’t weigh myself at the start of this whole thing, so it’s difficult to say whether I indeed lost weight. What with only really starting into exercise half-way through, and fairly light-on at that, I suspect that there wasn’t a whole lot shifted.
In the same vein, I’m afraid I can’t comment on what the drain on the purse has been, comparatively. Also, it’s not as if I was approaching this sustainably – in an effort to try new recipes, I was buying ingredients to fit the meal, rather than working in a more economical mindset. I was making heavy use of specialty stores and bodegas, notorious for inflating costs. I don’t usually make extravagant purchases, so I’m content to keep a fairly loose handle on the finances – so long as I’m in the black come the end of the month, I know I’m doing alright. I usually am.
Having to take the time to actually think through meal-prep and ingredient acquisition has brought an unexpected focus on the passage of time – so often, a month slips by, I wake up and it’s the 26th or later, and I wonder how it all went so quickly. Not so here – I don’t know if it was the recognition that the month, as a unit, was something distinct and unusual, or it it was that greater attention to the moment, but I feel like this January has been a bit more…thoroughly experienced? It’s difficult to articulate.
All in all then, a positive experience, with qualifications. There are still recipes I want to try, limits that I want to push. A month isn’t really enough for (slight) diet adjustments to make themselves felt. But…what about two months?
Having done a crash course, I now know what to be looking out for, what to improve upon. I should be able to back track and get a rough estimate of how much I spent, and the average before that, too – it’s been something I’ve been intending to do for a while, so the excuse is a convenient one. I’ll be approaching my weight in a more attentive manner, as well, which will actually give me some numbers to work with, rather than the fuzzy concept of ‘feeling.’ Also, having an idea of what is available locally, food-wise, I should be better equipped to really push the margins on recipes.
Thinking this through earlier today, I was reminded of this piece in (you guessed it) the Guardian. No doubt taking advantage of the New Years Resolution season, the article is written by a fellow reflecting on his former problem-drink habit. Sobering stuff in itself, but what really came to mind was his description of the ability, for a while, to turn off the desire to drink. For a period of ten years, he would spend the first three months of the year teetotal, until his birthday came in the Spring, from whence he would increase the consumption of alcohol throughout the rest of the year to Wakemanesque levels. But, during those first three months, he didn’t have any problem with it at all – was social, in pubs, at parties, you name it – without any desire for a drink. Speaking to a neuroscientist who specialises in this sort of thing, the author discovered that there is a known behaviour in play here – once convinced that something is off-limits, the temptation for it dissipates. Obviously, I’m not comparing my desire for the odd biscuit at work to someone’s alcoholism, but it’ll help to have something to stiffen my resolve, beyond the normal.
To that end, I think I’ll take up a version of the ‘Daytime Vegan’ diet. This will keep me away from the chocolate during the day, whilst giving me some more felxibility for socialising. My mate has a gallon of home-made mead that’s just come of age, and it ain’t going to drink itself. Plus, we’ve a growing collection of comestibles gifted to us by friends that have sat sadly neglected this past month. No longer!
It’s obviously not going to be a whole-sale forsaking of veganism – that would kind of defeat the purpose. I’ll still be trying to cook to a vegan diet, but, just, little things – a slice of cheese here, a litre of wine there. Nothing big, nothing regular. Still mostly vegan. Right?
Though the pace at which I report on my progress will slacken, I’ll still put together the odd post should I come across a worthwhile recipe, or if I’m noticing a big change weight- or energy-wise.
In the spirit of that, then, I offer up this – another from the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ‘River Cottage Everyday!’:
Keeping to the appreciation of tahineh, we have a recipe for beet and walnut humous. Beyond the pre-cooked beet (about 200g) and walnuts (50g), there was also a recommended 1 tbsp tahineh, juice of one lemon, salt, 15g stale bread, one garlic clove, and 1 tbsp toasted cumin seeds. Obviously the tahineh amount was too little, so that was doubled. I cheaped out and just used ground cumin, though, the next time, I’ll do it properly. All in all, a nice twist on the usual!