Venturing into Veganism


Date and nut bars


So, I’ve taken the leap and decided to participate in the Camyoga 14 day Vegan Challenge – 2 weeks of harm free eating and living awaits me!

I’m sure some people reading this might be wondering how come I wasn’t vegan already? And if not why on earth the decision to give it a whirl now?

I’ve been a pescatarian for maybe 4 years now although things have kind of taken a ‘flexitarian’ turn over the past year. I never was a massive red meat eater anyway, and then when I moved to Kuala Lumpur I really went off meat – I always felt that the quality wasn’t that great, even in restaurants and you really had no way of knowing where your meat had come from when buying it in the supermarket. A newsletter from a Malaysian Yoga society with a picture of battery hens and an article on why vegetarianism was a good idea was the final straw and I said goodbye to being a full on carnivore. It was pretty easy to give up meat living in Asia – the vegetarian food there is so good and there are often many choices available. Tempe and tofu of every variety imaginable were readily available to buy and very rarely did it feel like a hassle. I kept eating fish because it was the one thing I missed and when I ate it I felt like I needed the nutrition it was giving me. So I maintained my fish consumption, but would only eat it maybe once a week. And I guess I gave up meat more for my lack of interest/enjoyment in eating it rather than moral principles.

And so I happily continued for a number of years. Until I took my Advanced Forrest Yoga Teacher Training in Denver in April 2013. I don’t know if it was the intensity of the training, the altitude or what, but by the 8th day I was overcome with a craving for bacon! (I didn’t even eat that much bacon even when I was a meat eater! Especially not in Malaysia where pork products are not so readily available as other places I’ve lived) I didn’t now what to make of it, but figured I better follow my nose (or taste buds) and give it a try. My friend was like “are you really going to eat that?” and proceeded to watch me with curiosity as I tucked into my  non-vegetarian breakfast wrap; I can’t lie I really did enjoy that bacon whilst at the same time a part of mind was telling me it was all wrong. From this point on I have been known to indulge in a few pork products every now and again – my Mum had to laugh when I responded to her question about what I was going to eat at Christmas lunch – I told her I would make a nut roast, so no turkey for me please, but to make sure there were enough pigs in blankets and sausage meat stuffing as I would be having that!

So whilst I have been eating meat on occasion over the past year (mainly Serrano ham, prosciutto and bacon!) I have to be honest and admit that it hasn’t always made my stomach or digestive system feel that great.

So – why the challenge now? Do I have a case of FOMO? Fear of missing out? I do sometimes feel like everyone else is following some special diet – detox, juicing, raw, paleo and so the list goes on. But there are a number of reasons I decided to do the Vegan challenge. I had the privilege of staying with two lovely vegan friends a while back, and I have to say I never ate a boring meal once in their house – they always cook up a delicious storm in their kitchen and there is not a sniff of animal products involved. The Camyoga vegan challenge seems a good way to shake up my feeling of being stuck in a rut in my kitchen of late. I also have been having issues with my stomach since coming back from my trip to Asia a month or so ago, and am interested to see if this makes me feel any better. I like the idea of the fact that lots of other non-vegans are trying this at the same time – the sense of support helps, along with the delicious recipes which keep appearing on the Camyoga website! 🙂

It’s funny though – this past week I have to admit to consciously indulging in all the foods I know are going to be off limits for the next fortnight. I found myself making a mental list of all the things I won’t be allowed to eat, and that little dissuading voice telling me that maybe I just shouldn’t bother. Which is pretty ridiculous really because the number of items on that list was hardly extensive and I’m sure not having a cow’s milk cappuccino for 2 weeks is hardly going to kill me. I’m interested in investigating the influence of this little voice further – how many other things does it try to surreptitiously persuade me are not possible? Am I always alert to it’s sneaky restrictive perspective…? I shall keep you posted!

As for how day 1 has gone so far – delicious fruit smoothie for breakfast, a perfectly ripe avocado smooshed on toast made me with fresh bread with kalamata olives at lunch and a batch of date and nut bars made and ready for consumption. (See photo above) I have to confess to having done a fair bit of quality control testing on them already…The verdict?Yes they are good, no I’m not sure I want to share them! I overcame cappuccino issues by having a soya milk latte – and I remembered why I don’t like soya milk…. so back to the drawing board on that one. Maybe I will just stick to black americanos? Maybe I will give up coffee? Maybe that might be too much with the vegan thing too? And there goes that little voice again – gotcha!

I’m now off to the supermarket to buy a trolley full of veggies to get cooking something yummy and harmfree for dinner! 🙂

For more information on the Vegan Challenge check the Camyoga website and their blog for some amazing recipes!



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