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It’s been a weekend of feasting on a wide variety of delicious food, much more of a variety than I’ve been accustomed to eating for a long time.  It’s been great, but it’s been quite intense too (and that’s before you factor in last night’s curly kale affected sleep…)  I think it’s fair to say that, at the moment, my body doesn’t know quite what’s hit it.  Things are being flushed through.  I won’t go into detail, but I’ve spent a bit more time than usual in the loo today, and have also found myself quite emotional and having a cry as well.  In the middle of the afternoon I had a lie down and a nap.  Despite this, I’ve felt mentally alert, cheerful and in touch with my appetite.  These are all good things.  I’ve worked hard for my food this weekend, but I’ve enjoyed it (it was great to enjoy a cooked breakfast this morning) and I’m pleased that there are enough leftovers for me not to need to worry about Monday’s meals.

People continue to be curious.  Dan tells me it’s making him think about trying not to be “a lazy vegetarian” and look at how he can get more veg variety into his meals, not rely on the same old staples.  At church this morning, I chatted with a friend who is vegetarian but is going to eat Vegan during Lent.  We’re going to collaborate on a food consciousness evening: a shared meal, prayer and discussion.  There was more talk about shoes.  People seem to be very concerned about the shoes and handbags issue.  Handbags aren’t really an issue for me personally, but shoes, as I’ve mentioned previously, will require some thought.  This evening I was offered some Mead and declined, which led to a chat about honey and bees.  I didn’t want to be a bee-bore, so I avoided lengthy explanations, and stuck to the “Vegans don’t use anything at all that’s derived from animals” line.  It seems that choosing to eat Vegan brings with it some ambassadorial duties.  I’m not entirely comfortable with these at the moment.  The acute focus of it all is taking a lot of energy and I’ll be glad as time passes and it becomes more ‘normal’ to be doing this.

In the evening, I baked some Banana Oat Date Cookies.  Sweet treats to last through the week.  It was another recipe from ‘Colour Me Vegan’.  Very quick and simple to make.  They contain lots of my favourite things, including coconut, and smelt enticing while they were baking.  The taste is less sweet than I’m used to, but the texture satisfying.  A friend who tried one said, “Mmm. Interesting. Tastes very…. healthy” which I don’t take as a whole-hearted endorsement, and I found myself fantasizing about dipping them in chocolate.  (That would be allowed as long as it was pure, dark chocolate, without dairy, so I’ll bear it in mind for the future.)  I guess we really are used to things which are very sugar-ed up, and nature’s sugar is gentler than that.

I’m going to end by crediting the ‘Colour Me Vegan’ recipe book, since it’s seen me off to a really good start, not just this weekend, but in preceding weeks as I’ve tried out new recipes.  The format – eating by colour – is seductive and the nutritional advice sound.  The enthusiasm of the book’s author – Colleen Patrick-Goudreau – carries you along and encourages you into a feast of the senses as you explore Vegan eating.  Here’s a link:- http://www.compassionatecook.com/publications/color-me-vegan.

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I’m sleepy on a Saturday night, after a feast of Tamale Pie and Colcannon, as prescribed by the ‘Colour Me Vegan’ cookbook. (I think I’ll be using this book a lot more.  Its format, pictures and ideas are so encouraging.)  The meal was delicious, satisfying, and had both me and my two fellow diners holding out our plates for seconds.

This is great, but it’s been a lot of work.  The last 36 hours have been all about food: talking about it, shopping for it, preparing it, looking up items on the internet, thinking about it…  I feel like I’m using up extra calories in brain processing.

So, how has the first day been?  Well, Friday at the office was fine.  I’d stocked up in advance with non-dairy milk, seeds and apples to nibble on and get me through the mid-afternoon craving for “a little something”, and I’d prepared a lunchbox, so that was fine.  Colleagues were curious, and generally supportive. “Will you be throwing out your shoes then?” asked one.  I replied that I wouldn’t, but, if this becomes a commitment to a permanent lifestyle, I’ll be thinking carefully next time I need to buy a pair of shoes.

Vegan shoes.  Now there’s something else to think about.  If they’re not made from animal derivatives, what are they made from?  If they’re made from fossil fuels, that’s not very sustainable, is it…?  I have so many questions.  Like I said yesterday, I’ll work on getting the food bit sorted out first, and then see what follows.

After work, I took part in a local protest event.  We’re trying to save our local library, which is threatened by government cuts.  Standing outside in the January cold was the first point in the day when I felt a craving that I would normally satisfy with chocolate, or cake.  I munched my way through a few handfuls of pistachios, savouring each one as I prised it out of its shell.  I love pistachios, so this didn’t feel like a sacrifice, but I was conscious of how this food choice was different from normal.

The Day One shout out goes to Dan, my lovely boyfriend, who had improvised a Vegan soup and placed a steaming bowlful in front of me shortly after I got in.  He told me he had looked up at least 3 food ingredients on the internet to see if he could add the Sweet Chilli Sauce from the cupboard to the soup.  Dan’s a Vegetarian, but doesn’t eat Vegan because he feels it would be very restrictive. (He also thinks Almond Milk tastes “like wallpaper paste”.)  I can understand his point of view, realising how much thinking and checking I’m having to do about food at the moment.  The soup was delicious and I ate it with a grateful heart.  Having support on this journey feels brilliant.

Today, Saturday, has been all about food.  It began with reading recipe books, making a list, and shopping.  The local greengrocer is a good one, with shelves well-stocked with all manner of everyday, and more exotic, fruit and veg.  I found all the vegetables I needed and a lovely box of dates (rich in Vitamin B).  Supermarkets, for the dry goods, proved more problematic, and we had to visit two before I’d found what I wanted.  The visit to the second one was for non-dairy margarine and dessicated coconut.

After a break for a walk in a cold, but sunny, woodland nearby, I spent the afternoon cooking.  I think it took about 2 hours overall, and I’m aware that I won’t have this sort of time available on week days.  I feel a bit anxious about this, but I’ll be trying to cook large quantities so there are leftovers, and won’t be splashing out with new recipes every day.

The results of my work were a spicy bean pie, topped with polenta, and steaming mashed potato with garlic and curly kale.  The pie, taking it’s inspiration from a Mexican dish, was colourful and enticing, and the Colcannon, an old favourite, but embellished with fresh touches from the ‘Colour Me Vegan’ recipe, was as delicious as ever.  When food is like this, abundant, creative, sensual, eating is a pleasure.

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