I have tried this vegan lifestyle thing before, and after three full months of doing it, I crashed and burned over a plate of scrambled eggs. Granted, the scrambled eggs were a dish presented by my mother. I’d like to think that it is her specialty dish. Though, her lamb chops… Even my dad, who has been a vegetarian for the better half of twenty years, struggles to resist the temptations of my mother’s lamb chops.

You are probably wondering: What do you mean with ‘Almost vegan’? How are you going to navigate this? Why are you doing all of this? You probably have that meme face on of the confused little girl. You know, almost the same face I have on when I hear my upstairs neighbor drop something on the floor… I think he is training a pet monkey up there, but I digressed.

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Throughout the last couple of weeks, I have been doing a lot of research on how to do veganism properly. Basically, everyone says drop animal products (you know like my upstairs neighbor just dropped his pet monkey on the floor just now) and substitute it with something plant based. So here is where the ‘Almost’ comes in. I want to follow a vegan lifestyle as accurately as possible, however, I am not going to disrupt anyone else’s lives through my own life choices. When I do crave any form of animal products I am not going to withhold myself from it (there is usually a reason for cravings). This all being said, I am not going to keep any animal products in the house, so I would have to go out to buy it. Usually this prospect alone is enough to put me off… That is what I have not had wine in the last 3 weeks.

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As to the how. I have already made a list of the areas where I will probably struggle the most. Such as finding a suitable substitute for milk, cream, baking butter and eggs. With regard to minced types of dishes, from my previous swing at a vegan based lifestyle, I found that lentils and kidney beans are a fantastic substitute for red meat, whereas chickpeas is a fantastic substitutes for chicken in most cases. Through this round of research I found that the previous attempt had failed, probably because I was lacking key nutrients my body needs to function properly. This time around I have drawn up an eating plan just for the first week to get used to the things that my body needs to take in for it to function properly (You can find a link to this plan below). I have a feeling my Go-Go Blender will be working hard from now on.

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Regarding the why. Now, before every Vegan extremist jumps down my throat telling me that I do not care about the animals, my carbon footprint, the earth or my own life. Let me make this clear, I am not doing this to please anyone. I am doing this for me. If in doing this, one less animal is tortured, my own carbon footprint is reduced, or it allows me to live a healthier, more exuberant life. Bonus. My personal reasoning behind this lies in a health scare in the family due to consumption of animal products, not in the brutal images people post online. If my dad, who once polished off a turkey by himself (that was evidently the last time he ate meat), could turn into a vegetarian. I can do veganism. So, now I know, why not vegetarian? Then you are only limited by meat. The by-products of animals (such as honey, milk and eggs) are not things that I often consume and the little I do consume is easy to substitute by alternative plant based products, so do not see why in-home veganism is not an option for me. Besides, I have no other influences (such as a boyfriend, husband or kids) as it stands, so this is the perfect time for me to venture into an old unknown – again.

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Tonight, I am finishing the last bit of the rice salad I made the other night. It was a shrimp and hake rice salad with split peas, garlic, an onion and Ina Paarman’s powdered vegetable stock. This was the last of the meat in my home. I’m just glad I could put it to such good use.

Finally, if you made it to this line, I want to thank you for reading this long, everything and nothing kind of post. I am looking forward to journeying forward with you. If you have time and want to leave your recommendations regarding other nutrients one would require, please pop your suggestions in the comments below.

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PS: I think the upstairs neighbor may have put his monkey to bed by the time I finished writing this post.

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