It was the first day of being a vegan for Concrete Collar’s Karter Byrne, and it might just have gone to his head a little bit…
Guess who turned vegan?
As I look down on all you flesh-eating cannibal murderers from the moral high ground, I thought it would be best to tell you all how my first day of actual virtuousness went…
Now of course, you can all forgive me for having a Nandos yesterday. And a Chicken and Bacon sandwich meal deal. And, in an act that I now regard as similar to that of a Texan murderer a few hours before execution, I did have a last supper of a Burger King Bacon Double Cheeseburger (an act that in itself, probably could’ve turned me vegan regardless of this little challenge)…
On reflection, it’s probably best that that was the week I went vegan, after that little day of excess. I’m not obese I promise. So when I woke up (technically), I had it all planned out; I’d pop to the nearest vegan food shop, pick a few little bits of produce up, whip up some fresh cuisine, and go on social media to post some dead cows on your Facebook feeds. Unfortunately, I was foiled in my plans. Now I don’t want to say Big Meat, after hearing about my plans, tracked me down, bought my student house, got maintenance to change the locks on my house, and gave all the keys to another housemate who wasn’t back from work until 6, holding me back from going to a proper place to buy food, but I don’t not want to say it, if you know what I mean. WAKE UP SHEEPLE.
To keep me going before lunch, I popped over to the garage to get myself a little snack to keep me going, and came across this…
And I have to say, the Trek Cocoa Oat Flapjack was really rather nice. The bitterness of the dark chocolate combines ridiculously well with the sweet flapjack, which of course is 100% vegan.
Anyway, after that, and an lunch of (wheat) pasta in tomato sauce, which now made me feel slightly smug despite having had it hundreds of times before, I toddled off down to Tesco to see what the craic was, and here’s what I took away from it…
1. Labels are shit.
Surely, it wouldn’t be hard to just put “Suitable for Vegans” on every pack. 3 words. Thats all. Instead, you have to pore down the list of ingredients, half the time nearly missing obvious animal products because it’s in that small of a print that you wouldn’t notice it. Although I suppose there is the plus side of actually having to know exactly what you’re eating, as opposed to the usual ‘just chuck it in regardless of whether it contains any traces of plutonium’ routine that I’m usually used to.
2. There’s a few surprising things you can’t eat.
Why would Frosted Wheats, the Japanese Mercedes of the cereal world, not be vegan? Beef gelatine, that’s why. I don’t know why it needs it, considering the whole premise behind it is frosted sugar on shredded wheat, and it’s kind of put me off them for good. Maybe.
3. Every cereal seems to have honey in.
Now I can’t work out why vegans can’t eat honey (maybe someone could enlighten me? Tweet me @karterbyrne), but as I was now a militant vegan of the highest ethical standards, I couldn’t eat it either. Now obviously, it’s considered a healthier alternative to plain sugar, but surely, a brand like Nature Valley, which appears to be quite green and ethical, if only from the marketing (I haven’t looked into the company behind them, so I do apologise if they have a tobacco business on the side), could have more freely-available vegan products on sale. It was quite a big Tesco, and their granola looked good; its a shame I wasn’t able to have any.
4. Vegan meat substitutes haven’t quite hit the big time yet.
Sadly, Quorn isn’t vegan (yet), and although Linda McCartney sausages are actually alright, the non-existent meat substitute selection at my local Tesco was a tad disappointing. Admittedly, it’s probably because, lets be honest, it isn’t the nicest stuff in the world, even when you’re not vegan and can bang 15 Oxo beef stock cubes in it in a doomed attempt to make your spaghetti bolognese taste vaguely nice, and no-one bar cash-strapped students, vegetarians and Mo Farah goes near Quorn, let alone a vegan alternative.
5. The Alpro Soya range is solid.
I’m not even joking, I’ve eaten it since. Their chocolate soya drink is on a par with Yazoo, which is high praise indeed from a connoisseur of UHT milk drinks like myself. Trust me, try it, you won’t be sa-a-ad. Sorry.
6. Tesco actually has quite a good range of vegan ready meals.
Surprisingly, I managed to pick up quite a selection of ready meals. Now I know it was cheating a bit, but I’m not a particularly great cook apart from (proper) sausages, which of course was no use to me, and also I was a busy busy man, and thus time to cook was at a bit of a premium, sadly. No rest for the formerly-wicked.
7. It was a touch more expensive than my normal shop
, but that’s probably because, like the total noob i am, I stuck to the brand names, didn’t pick up a great deal of (cheap) fruit and veg, and instead stuck to the ready meals. I did manage to pick up some more fruit and veg since, however.
Anyway, this is what I ate on my first day of my Vegan Adventure.
Lunch: Pasta in tomato and chili sauce
Dinner: Falafel and spinach wrap
Dessert: Alpro soya chocolate dessert
Snacks: Trek cocoa oat protein bar snack and Walkers ready salted crisps
Drinks: water and Alpro soya chocolate drink