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I completed the Golden vegan pledge from TheVeganSociety.
http://www.vegansociety.com/veganpledge/ a couple of days ago. This is the certificate they sent me:

Yay! I found the link within the first days of being vegan, so I thought I might as well participate. They sent quite a useful package of information at the beginning of the challenge, including recipes. However, what really got me hooked was that they promise to put you in touch with a vegan ‘mentor’ that you can email throughout the 30 days, ask questions about nutrition, social problems, anything really. Unfortunately the mentor I was assigned to never replied to my email(s). I guess maybe she’d given them an old email address or something (or she just didn’t like me 😦

That was a bit of a letdown, and I’d pretty much completely forgotten I entered this until I got the email. I’d like to think that this was just an unlucky exception, and that other people were able to benefit from it. I really like the idea of a personal mentor to answer questions, yet haven’t really missed one either since I found plenty of others to help.

They also promised to sent me another book of ‘vegan stories’. I definitely approve of people sending me free books!
Here is the link: Vegan Pledge

Lastly I figured out today that I have been messing up the days. Yes, I was indeed wondering why I am on Day 37 already when Easter is not for another week, but I guess I just assumed that the 40 days of lent is just a rough estimate. But no. Apparently, one doesn’t count the Sundays. So technically I’m only on Day 32 of lent, but since I stayed vegan on the Sundays, I will just ignore this fact and pretend lent has 47 days. 46? Numbers are confusing…

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More or less just a quick update. I am still going strong on the vegan side, and can hardly believe it’s been a month already. I am also thinking more and more about keeping it up after easter, i.e. after the end of lent. It will of course be much harder not living alone (and just cooking for myself) over the summer, so we will see.

I also tried out the first recipe from my new Veganomicon . It was the Cauliflower and Mushroom Potpie with Olive Biscuit Crust. So, so good! I am ashamed to say I almost ate the whole thing in one go. At the end, I found myself panically stuffing the leftovers into the freezer to stop myself from eating everything. For a picture and the complete recipe, check out TofuCrossing.
Basically, it is a potpie of lots of vegetables, tossed into an amazingly creamy sauce, topped with a salty biscuit layer with olives. So. Good. And trust me, although it takes a bit of work, it is totally worth it. The creamy sauce makes for a perfect comfort food in a cold night, or any night really. Yum…
Re: the veganomicon, I found a couple of great sites that help . I love just browsing through the book, but have found quite a few of the recipes to be slightly intimidating to the fresh vegans like me. After having tried the potpie, I am much more optimistic since every little step was explained so well even a very inexperienced cook like me can manage perfectly well. Still, these blogs help figure out where to start in this massive book of vegan goodness:

  • VegWeb offers reviews of almost every recipe in the book, given by many different people
  • VegMuffinMancooks his way through the book and posts the results in the blog
  • CookingForAVeganLover gives a list of people’s favourite recipes from the book.

Also, today I am starting revision for final exams: a whole 5 weeks early! Actually, I will start to revise right now. I mean, now. Yes.

As I come home from work in the early morning hours, I am craving the pancakes that I am hoping my flat mates will have left for me in the kitchen. I do have some twinges of conscience because it is after midnight: some may argue that the period of lent has officially begun. My friend M’s confident encouragement that lent does really only start with the next morning, however, convinces me.

As expected, I find large piles of pancakes, this wonderful creation full of milk and eggs, in our homely kitchen. Knowing that this will be the last non-vegan meal for a while, I truly indulge in my pancakes drowned in Maple Syrup before happily dozing off to sleep.

I had been planning to go vegetarian for a couple of weeks, but hadn’t taken the big step just yet. With the start of Semester Two, the meat completely disappeared from my fridge shelf. I felt good about myself: physically, morally – my conscious was completely guilt-free.  When I went on to do more research to support my new lifestyle, I stumbled upon another even more extreme, more rewarding diet plan: Veganism. Upon hearing more of the facts behind veganism, I was intrigued, inspired and challenged. I began questioning my daily dietary choices. Had I been too hasty in assuming that being a vegetarian was the answer?

I have given up other things for Lent before: three years ago it was chocolate, two years ago, my Facebook account was deactivated for the month. These were – embarrassingly enough – two of the most difficult times I have had to endure, yet very rewarding experiences. I decided that this year to live on a vegan diet for the entire 40 days of Lent. That entails: no meat, no fish, no dairy products, no eggs and no honey.

You may be thinking, what’s wrong with milk and eggs? The cows need to be milked, and the chicken lay their daily eggs anyway, right? Simply said, in order to produce milk, the cow needs to be permanently pregnant. The new-born calves then often get slaughtered right away, since they are not needed. Additionally, hormones fed to the cow to increase milk production cause infections and disease of the cows. Chickens, meanwhile, often live in horrendous conditions, unable to move their wings in cramped spaces. Even ‘free range’ eggs have very loose restrictions on what conditions the farm needs to be provide for the chickens to live in. The male chicks, since they are of no use, are gassed or crunched alive. As horrific as these examples of animal cruelty are, they are admittedly not the main reason I am experimenting with a new diet. Instead, it is based more on a curiosity in recognising my personal dependency on animal products.

The challenge is set. Now, where to start? For the last couple of days I have been mentally and practically preparing for this quest. I have tried my first dairy-free bar of chocolate – surprisingly okay – as well as dairy-free soya milk. One major problem I have already encountered: how on earth do vegans handle the late-night munchies? Free Janetta’s ice cream at the DRA ball is almost impossible to resist. Which makes me think – there’s still a lot to be learnt…