Why? tl;dr: Because I can.
As you may (or may not) know, I lived strictly vegetarian for about five to six years. More recently, I’ve been eating dead animal again, mostly because I was fed up with my food allergies AND being vegetarian making it hard to find nice stuff to eat. My main motivation behind #veganweek (besides trying out something new) was to see how much of a difference it makes in my diet, and how I cope with eating vegan.
Lessons I’ve learned:
- Shopping vegan is… interesting. If you have a new food restriction, you usually spend the first couple of times shopping reading lots of labels and after a while, you know what you can eat and what you can’t. Been there, done that. But there are hardly any products which do not contain dairy products or eggs. The women at the cheese counter were very friendly and eager to help me when I asked for vegan cheese. (They also told me “We advertise not selling [Analogkäse].” when I explained that I don’t mean tofu.)
- Coffee without milk isn’t quite as horrible as I thought. (It was work coffee though.)
- Soy milk curdles when you pour it into coffee. It was even worse when I poured coffee into soy milk. Then I did some research. Apparently, there are two main issues: a) Temperature (soy milk curdles more quickly if it’s warm) and b) the coffee’s acidity (which causes the actual curdling). If anyone knows about proper scientific experiments on this – please tell me. ;)
Also, vanilla soy milk also tastes pretty nice with work coffee.
- Food labelling in Germany sucks. Vegan stuff is usually declared as vegetarian on the packaging, if at all. Have fun reading ingredient lists…
- Induction without a sound step doesn’t work any better in real life than it does in mathematics. Just because all meat replacement products you’ve ever seen weren’t just vegetarian but also vegan, this doesn’t mean that all of them are.
- Thinner/smaller waffles are nicer than having to clean up afterwards if you use too much dough. (Oops…)
- Broken handmixers sound horrible.
- Vegan waffle dough sticks better to the waffle iron than to itself, so you need more oil. Eggs really help here.
- Too much soy makes me sick.
- Vegan cheese is almost impossible to find in Kaiserslautern.
- Dried tomatoes are really really salty.
- My favourite curry recipe is actually vegan. :3
- Being a vegetarian at the university Mensa is ok(ish), but being a vegan is really hard. The same thing goes for eating out in general. There are no vegetarian or vegan restaurants here, and even if you just meet some friends, most snacks you could nibble on aren’t vegan.
- It probably gets easier once you get used to just carrying some food with you wherever you go.
- Interestingly, people gave me a lot less shit about this project than I used to get for eating vegetarian. But then that may just be because they knew it was only temporary. Some were really supportive, too – @starlightCircus even surprised me with vegan muffins! ♥
Stuff I’ve tried:
- Vegan waffles. (OMG, so. damn. good.)
- Soy yoghurt. I’ve always loved soy pudding (chocolate!! ♥), but I was very hesitant trying yoghurt because in my mind, soy and yoghurt didn’t mix well. However, I really liked it. (Now, that was only one kind, so I’ll have to try some more soon.)
- Vegan cream cheese. We’re not going to be friends.
- Coconut water with mango. Interesting but not really my thing (expected that much because I don’t like it fresh, either).
Stuff I wanted to try but didn’t:
- Vegan cheese (slices). Didn’t find it.
- Vegan feta. Found it but didn’t have much use for it right away. May do that during the barbecue season.
- Vegan milk chocolate. Didn’t look for it.
What did I eat?
- Monday: Lye pretzel, Pasta with Tomato Sauce (Mensa; no parmesan on top, and no salad or soup for me), pretzel sticks, soy yoghurt with mango, bread with salami and cream cheese alternatives (the first of which I had to find out is actually not vegan since the proteins come from eggs), tangerines.
- Tuesday: Banana, bread with jelly, chocolate pudding, waffles, muffins, even more waffles.
- Wednesday: Waffles, tangerine, Pasta Aglio e Olio with dried tomatoes, muffins.
- Thursday: Chocolate pudding, tangerine, Wraps with Falafel and Veggies.
- Friday: Bread with sausage and cream cheese, tangerine, muffins, Chickpea Curry, banana, chocolate pudding.
- Saturday: Banana, Best Fried Potatoes I’ve Ever Made (with dried tomatoes, rosemary, onions) and Salad with impromptu dressing (and I was so sure I had balsamic vinegar!!!), rolls, chocolate pudding, rice waffles with chocolate.
- Sunday: Bread with sausage and cream cheese, Thai Curry, rice waffle with chocolate, some Indian food @Nirzaree made for me (veggies in a tomato sauce, and pan bread), chocolate.
Where do I go from here?
This was a very interesting experience for me, and I would (will) certainly do this again. However, I really really missed chocolate (or at least some more variety) and cheese. What I didn’t miss at all: Meat. I expected that much since I never found it hard to be vegetarian from a psychological standpoint (it just sucks in some restaurants), and I’m considering going back to eating mostly or exclusively vegetarian.
I’d also prefer to buy dairy products and eggs from a place where I know the animals are treated well, so if you know something in (or very close to) Kaiserslautern, I’d love to hear about it!