The Veganuary website claims that after Veganuary, almost half of participants will continue eating a vegan diet, do you think I am one of these?
Well actually, I haven’t decided to continue with veganism, because it’s difficult in China and that might sound like an excuse, but it really is hard to eat a vegan diet here. You have to carefully choose dishes and then check that they don’t add any strips of meat, an egg or a meat based sauce to it, which is tricky with the language barrier and because veganism isn’t commonplace in China.
I felt reasonably healthy when eating a vegan diet, and although it made me eat much more fruit, try new vegetables and eat more nuts, I did feel hungry between meals and I missed snacking on biscuits and Chinese sweet bread.
Veganuary has made me change my breakfast habit of guessing in the canteen and usually getting disappointed as I ended up eating something greasy, to eating a healthy bowl of oats, fruit and nuts each morning. This has been a positive change and it’s a great way to start the day, especially as mangoes and strawberries are in season right now.
I would describe my diet now as pescatarian, I eat fish about four days a week, but have cut my meat consumption right down, for a few reasons – food safety, animal cruelty, and environment. I’m currently reading Doing Good Better, and I learnt that in comparison, chickens actually suffer more than other animals, so I’m trying not to eat chicken at the moment. I also read about chemically made eggs being prevalent in China, so am eating less eggs, as I’m afraid they will be the chemical type and unnatural.
There are exceptions though, when I went to Hangzhou I ate a paella with chicken in it, and when I went out to eat with my friends, I also ate a pork dish. I’m surprised how easy it’s been to continue not eating meat, I thought I would crave meat as soon as Feb 1st came around, but I didn’t.
So am I still eating vegan? No, but I have cut down my meat and egg consumption and am eating more tofu than ever before – I really like the Japanese style tofu a nearby restaurant does. I eat fish because I like the taste of it and I think it has great health benefits. There are lots of fish in the canteen, some with bones, some without – it’s a bit tricky to eat with chopsticks but I’m getting there!