You hear about veganism more than ever nowadays – from alternative menus to diet plans to plant-based patties that literally bleed, there’s never been more information on this lifestyle choice.
But for most people, it’s still too much of a hassle to really consider trying. Why marinate tofu for 24 hours when I can get six chicken nuggets delivered to my door? Why find plant-based alternatives to food classics when the actual “real” thing is readily available?
What even is tempeh?
Fair questions, all.
So when Veggy Malta asked me to try going vegan for seven days ahead of Malta Meat Free Week, I had to consider.
As someone who cooks most, if not all, of his own meals, I’d need to experiment with new foods, textures and flavours, especially if I wanted to hit all my macros and keep a steady diet plan going forward.
Researching online, some initial questions came to mind. Will I be hungrier all the time? Will I be getting enough complete protein from plants?
With the internet giving mixed answers, I decided to take the plunge, cut out all meat and dairy products from my life for a week, and go vegan.
1. There’s a vegan alternative for pretty much everything, including your favourite food
In 2022, most supermarkets have entire aisles and fridge sections dedicated to items from vegan fish fillets and vegan chicken goujons to vegan cheese.
And even quicker, I realised there’s a clear hierarchy within these alternatives. If you are jumping into veganism for the first time, most things from Linda McCartney or Quorn are going to do the job, while nearly all vegan cheese is going to make you sad and question your choices.
2. Herbs and spices are your best friends
The difference between a bland dish and a dish you proudly post to your social media stories is whether you made a stop in Flavourtown. Do not go lightly on the seasoning – hit the veggies, tofu or plant-based proteins with all you got, and then a bit more.
You’ll soon realise that any vegetable can develop a flavour profile thats delicious, interesting and making you come back for more.
3. Watch out for friends baring potato salads
Midway though my vegan week, I attended a BBQ with friends. Explaining that I’d only be eating vegan foods during this time, my supportive friends propositioned bringing their own couscous salads, mango salads, and potato salads.
As I was snacking on one friend’s creamy mayonnaise salad, I realised how I had been lulled into a false sense of security. With betrayal in my eyes, I asked my friend what type of mayonnaise he’d used (mayo typically includes dairy products), only for his crestfallen face to say it all.
This incident taught me that nearly any and all foods you haven’t prepared yourself could include animal products, so constant vigilance is key if you want to take it seriously.
4. Mushrooms are more versatile than Eileen Montesin hosting shows
If there’s one food item that can take on the textures and flavours of anything from bacon to fish, it’s mushrooms. The simple fungus is a blank canvas waiting for you to turn it into something great.
Brown and white mushrooms are classic and great – but it’s when you start playing around with the more interesting variants, like oyster or portobello, that the magic really happens. Don’t be put off by how simple they seem – they can become one of the tastiest tools in your vegan arsenal.
5. The vegan community is just trying to make the world a better place
There are endless jokes about vegans being unable to not remind you they’re vegan every five minutes. What I discovered however, is a supportive and passionate subculture of people who are ready to give tips, share recipes and ideas whenever you need.
Empathic to the world and the suffering of animals, it’s worth hearing out what they have to say, instead of just pigeonholing them and ignoring them because you like bacon, or whatever.
6. You do actually feel pretty clean after a few days.
Maybe it was all the curried vegetables, spices, or return-to-the-earth type of dishes I was consuming, but one does begin to feel lighter and less bloated and heavy when all they are eating is unprocessed, natural foods.
7. And in Malta, you could actually win a prize for going vegan for a week.
In an effort to take the community to the next level, MMFW are offering one person a chance to win a weekend break for two at the Radisson Blu Hotel in St. Julian’s. You can find out more in the link above – but the fact that you could actually win a prize for a personal healthy lifestyle choice in Malta is one final perfect reason to take the plunge.
Conclusion: going vegan for one week is probably something you should try this year.
From digital detoxes to boot camps and so many more modern remedies to modern malaises, trying a vegan diet in this hyper-processed, packaged meat world we live in can only do good for your soul.
Be it just for a bit of a break for your body’s digestive system, or because you genuinely have empathy for the animals who are born just to be slaughtered for your hamburger, there’s a whole laundry list of good reasons to try veganism, at least for a bit.
Just don’t let your friends bring you any salads.
Check out Lovin Eats’ vegan food episode below:
Would you consider going vegan for one week in Malta? Sound off in the comments below