It’s my 100th post! Finally! I know I took a long time to reach 100 but I’m glad I’ve reached it! It was also my 1st bloganniversary about 2 months ago but I totally missed it; I been so busy lately! Becoming vegan is the best change that I’ve been able to introduce in my life so far and starting this blog is the best thing that happened after that. I’ve come across so many other interesting blogs and made some cool friends with so many other bloggers. I love the blog world and thanks to you, my readers and those who inspired me, this blog is still going good! 🙂
This post is also a reply to a comment I received on my previous post from someone anonymous who signed as Pipo. I made this into a post instead of just a reply to the comment because I feel there might be other readers who might have the same questions or concerns regarding how to make the shift to and maintain a vegan lifestyle or for those who might just be curious on the subject.
It’s difficult to be vegan
I turned vegan when I was living in London in 2007. And I have lived in Mauritius for 1 year as a vegan. (This is when I started this blog as a motivation to help me through).
To adopt a complete vegan lifestyle in Mauritius is a bit hard, if not practically impossible; a lot of products are not available and hence I didn’t have a choice for certain things. I tried to use herbal products whenever I could but I could not guarantee they were vegan. It’s not as easy as it is to be vegan in the UK for example. London is a very vegan-friendly city by the way. However, in Mauritius, you can be a dietary vegan quite easily though, with a bit of planning (I’ll come back to this a bit later).
At the beginning you will definitely take time to adjust. I did not suddenly become vegan. It was a gradual process where I started cutting all the meat first, then milk, then fish and eggs followed by honey. Then I moved on to other products like beauty products, clothing, footwear etc.
It is practically very hard to be 100% vegan as we live in a totally vegan-unfriendly world. Sometimes you will be gutted to find out you’ve mistakenly bought/consumed something non-vegan (well, at least I do. At restaurants that just put non-vegan dressings on salads for example!). But you can try your best like every other vegan is.
There are a lot of food products that are starting to emerge; there are quite a few brands of soymilk available in Mauritius. You can also make your own soymilk if you buy the grains in bulk at grocery shops. (While in Mauritius I used to buy it in Port Louis near the market, in London and Dublin, any supermarkets or Chinese stores stock them. Google for homemade soymilk or this video gives you a good idea how to make soymilk at home (you’ll need a blender):
Not many places where to go eat outside?
Even over here in Dublin, Ireland, where I currently am, there are not that many places that I can go to. But I’ve never found food from outside that tasty anyway. Food prepared with love at home taste far better.
Although I do not recommend the consumption of overly processed foods, sometimes to save time you can buy vegan sausages and burgers in the Frys brand that are available at most supermarkets (any Way supermarkets in Mauritius usually stock them). These are very handy for bread fillers.
You will find your products around once you start being vegan. I found that when I started to become determined to get through this in Mauritius, things/products/whatever I needed were coming to me like I was a vegan magnet! And I was so happy!
And if you want to eat out from time to time, there are restaurants who might want to cook only vegetables for you. I even had a pizza without cheese once at Panarotti’s in Beau Bassin (Mauritius). Ok, they were a bit shocked at the thought of having to make a pizza without cheese. I said I was allergic and Pizza Hut usually makes it for me (that wasn’t true! haha!), and so, they made it! lol!
I know it’s kind of cheating to say that I’m allergic, but most people don’t have a clue what veganism is about and restaurants are more worried about making a profit rather than being ethical. But for me, as long as I am not contributing to the suffering of animals in my food, I believe I’m helping (even a little bit) to make this world a better place for every species to live in. We all have our ways of contributing to this world. I try my best to buy, consume and wear cruelty-free.
Always plan your week ahead to maintain a healthy diet
If you are going to rely on food outside everyday, this might not be the healthiest option. For example, like Pipo mentioned, dhal puri (dhal puri is a typical Mauritian style Indian bread made with dhal) and roti (Indian bread, usually served with vegetable curry in Mauritius) contains too much fat to be consumed daily.
A bit of planning will certainly help. Plan your week ahead – make a list of what you intend to cook for each day of the week, then do your shopping.
Make your own lunch
Make some humous ahead of time; it keeps for 4 – 5 days in the fridge. You can use this as a spread in bread with salad. Humous is not popular in Mauritius and yet is so easy to make and so tasty. It is basically like a chutney made with boiled chickpeas.
Cook extra the day before for dinner, then take leftovers for lunch. There are a lot of vegan blogs out there that have loads of ideas for lunch and other meals. Vegetables with pasta / couscous are easy meals to prepare.
Some sites to browse for easy recipes:
And for easy plus sensational recipes go to Jessi’s (Happy Vegan Face) recipe index. It’s impressive, so don’t be scared, most recipes are easy to follow. I particularly like the patties and burgers section! Yum!
Invest in a vegan cookbook
You can invest in a good vegan cookbook. Ok, for this one, I’ll have to rely on the advice of my vegan readers who own vegan cookbooks.
What would you recommend to new/aspiring vegans?
I only own Now Vegan by Lynda Stoner and it is pretty good. There’s a good variety of recipes and of course you don’t have to follow them exactly. Recipe books are mostly there for inspiration then just use what you have on hand and create!
If you are not allergic to nuts (I am, unfortunately), they are quite handy wholesome snacks to eat anytime during the day. Not too much though, because they have a high fat content.
Always carry some fruits in your bag with you. I find bananas are quite good for hunger pangs! Grapes and mandarins / satsumas are great at any time you want some extra energy!
Well, any fruits you like will do.
It’s expensive to be vegan
If you plan and are willing to make the effort, a vegan lifestyle is no more expensive than a non-vegan one. Buy in bulk if you have space. Food stuffs like grains, pulses, potatoes keep well for a long time. Buying them in bulk will reduce the cost. If you have a back garden or balcony, think about growing some vegetables and herbs.
Being vegan will certainly improve your health which means less trip to the doctor’s and less money spent on medical treatment and medecines. Turning vegan doesn’t mean you won’t need any medical attention at all. However, medication will help treat the problem on a short term basis while being vegan is a long term option to target the cause of diseases in general. For me it’s long term and constant health improvement!
Need some inspiration (to help end animal suffering and reduce environmental pollution)?
I was often very much bugged by people who were trying to dissuade me from being vegan at the beginning. This happens even until now. I watched this ‘Meet your meat’ video (and many others that you can find on Youtube, search for vegan videos):
Warning: this video contains disturbing scenes
I cry every time I watch this! I recommend you do watch it completely, and you will never need more inspiration than this to be vegan! This is what I think of every time I’m been ‘attacked’ about my vegan lifestyle. Then I know I’m doing something that makes me feel right about myself.
Happiness and Health!
After being vegan for 2 years, I don’t regret anything at all. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. My family is now also trying to reduce their meat consumption. BoyfriendLovlie (also vegan) and I, together we’ve influenced quite a few people who are now very happy and thankful!
My health is so much better. My cholesterol (yes, although quite slim, I had high cholesterol level at the age of 26!) has considerably gone down to a normal level without the use of any artificial methods like pills.
You can still be social
When I go out with friends and I know there won’t be anything I can eat there, I just eat something in advance, then just have a drink with them.
The first thing that comes to people’s minds when they hear that you are vegan is that you must be super skinny! We all know this is not true. The rules are the same, to lose weight eat less calories that what you spend and to gain weight eat more protein and exercise.
If you think it’s difficult to gain muscular mass on a vegan diet then, this is Boyfriendlovlie before turning vegan and then after turning vegan with 16 months of training:
I wanted to keep this short but I guess I did not want to leave out anything I wanted to say either. So I hope I’ve answered to some questions that most people interested in veganism generally ask themselves. By helping to end animal suffering and reduce environmental pollution, what you gain are personal satisfaction, achievement and great health!
One last advice I would give to aspiring vegans is to document themselves thoroughly on veganism and how to eat healthily on a vegan diet.
I wish you all a healthy vegan lifestyle!