My Vegan Diaries

Abigail Daisy Woods takes us through her recent experience of Veganism.

At the end of January I set out to pursue a six-week vegan diet for several reasons; firstly I had gotten a bit too fond of take-away and wanted to learn some new and healthy recipes, secondly I wanted to see if it would make any difference to my health, and finally I wanted to explore the possibility of maintaining a vegan diet with a busy lifestyle. I’m also a sucker for new experiences, so I bit the bullet and went for it. While I only lasted four weeks on the diet I learned a lot about the pros and cons of a vegan diet.

Overall people were very supportive about it which was refreshing; my friend Heather; who has been vegan for more than a year now was an absolute star for food advice which was great!  I found that I was cooking at home a lot more as opposed to ordering a take-away or getting a something from a deli or café. I tried a huge amount of recipes and got to make some really healthy soups, stews, and fantastic desserts. I started following a page on Facebook called “What Fat Vegans Eat” where people post up their vegan recipes and mouth-watering photos of their yummy vegan meals. Cork is probably one of the best cities to maintain a vegan diet in the shops are well stocked, there are so many restaurants that serve delicious veggie and vegan foods and cater to every dietary requirement (I’m going to give a glowing mention to Iyer’s on Popes Quay here, an absolutely amazing veggie restaurant that serves up some delicious South Indian dishes at student friendly prices).  My absolute favorite part of doing the diet was finding out the “accidentally vegan” foods these include Oreos, Koka Noodles (including the chicken ones which I found rather unsettling), and beautiful, wonderful Lennox’s chips.

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There are lots of foods that I loved that were totally off limits: milk chocolate, Haribo jellies, garlic mayo, honey and seafood just to name a few.

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Maintaining a vegan diet can be difficult in terms of health, especially for ladies who need to keep an eye on their Iron levels and may become quite anemic if they don’t (this is why I didn’t last the full six weeks). You can purchase Iron supplements but you really aren’t getting the same Iron levels as you would be getting from red meat. A vegan diet requires a lot of commitment and home cooking, which may not suit everyone but I really have to admire people who are vegan full time and take the time to come up with new and exciting ways to make meals that are 100% free from animal products. There are lots of foods that I loved that were totally off limits: milk chocolate, Haribo jellies, garlic mayo, honey and seafood just to name a few and I know I wouldn’t be able to part ways with them for good. I’m going to mention the chicken koka noodles again in cons because it made me really uncomfortable.

Overall it was a really positive experience that I enjoyed, I experienced something new, learned some new recipes, lost 4 pounds, and discovered how fantastic avocados are!