Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Is Vegan Food Weird?

Is Vegan Food Weird? What do vegans even eat, anyway?

I was chattering with a non-vegan friend on Facebook the other day. Not about veganism specifically but, as it is something that has significance in multiple areas of my life, it tends to pop up organically in many everyday conversations that I have. Most of the time the omnis take it in the context of the conversation and respond accordingly, but this time the person wrote back "I don't know how you can eat all that weird vegan food". I was perplexed for a moment, I considered his reaction and then I just giggled. Just for fun, I thought I'd write this post to showcase some of the weird, bizarre and downright unappetising food I eat on a regular basis (cue freeflowing sarcasm)...

Violife original cheese on toast
Violife Cheese on Toast? How bloody dare you?!
100% plant-based bolognese - no meat substitutes
Spag Bol? Made from vegetables? Blasphemy!
Delicious Vegan Tempeh BLT
Tempeh BLT Sammich *Shock Horror!*
Vegan options at Papa John's
Is it actually legal to order a pizza with no cheese?

I know, bizarre right? Here's me suffering on with all this damn rabbit-food. I'm not entirely sure what it is that non-vegans think vegans eat? Possibly, due to the fact that many of the non-vegans I know cannot fathom one course of one meal without some form of meat or dairy product on their plate, they think we must subsist on 'fake' meats and cheeses made from toxic chemicals, pumped full of vitamin supplements. Milk made from beans? Cheese made from coconut oil? Steady on, there... 

The majority of my meals are things that I have always eaten, be it as a meat eater, vegetarian or vegan (I've done all 3). I just choose to make these meals from vegetables. A curry is still just a curry whether it's made from chicken or chickpeas. Some of the meals I make on a regular basis could even be considered 'boring'. I eat lasagne, stir-fries, curries, soups, roast dinners and all the regular stuff. Not every vegan meal has to be a culinary experiment. Give me a huge plate of simple spuds and veg and I'm a happy girlie. I eat the foods I've always loved, I just make them without animal products. I shop at the same supermarkets I've always shopped at, I just skip the meat and dairy aisle (trust me, the veggie aisle is prettier and cheaper).

Vegan chana masala curry with potatoes, chickpeas and spinach
Chana Masala Curry with double the carbs (because carbs)
Pret Supergreens Sandwich and Chocolate Almond Shake
Nipping to Pret for a butty and a chocolate shake - Who does that?
Vegan Banana Ginger Muffins
Muffins - because nobody ever praised baked goods for being 'eggy'
Tesco Free-From Strawberry and Vanilla Cones
Dairy-free Cornetto - because Tesco (you're welcome)

It's a miracle that no tofu has snuck into this post because I eat an obscene amount of tofu. I can kind of understand non-vegans being cautious about stuff like tofu, tempeh and seitan (and admit it, we've all had a negative, bland tofu experience in our distant past before we knew how to actually cook it). I still wouldn't class these foods as weird though. The Chinese have been eating tofu for hundreds of years and they're thriving pretty well on it. I'd choose tofu over any meat substitute any day of the week. It's not trying to be anything it's not and it's a wholesome, nutrient dense protein source. It's also bloody delicious! 

I guess the moral of the story here is that you shouldn't knock something until you've tried it. It is possible to enjoy all the foods you're used to eating as a vegan, with the same flavours and textures, without having to resort to processed substitutes. Fruits, veggies and grains have never been 'weird'. It's just that our mindset when it comes to food is so warped by outside influences, marketing and behaviours we've repeated since birth screams at us that no recipe or meal is complete without meat and dairy products. 

There's no real solution to offer here. I think the best thing vegans can do is just to coexist and lead by example. I'd never refuse to eat with a non-vegan (that would be rude) because I want them to note what I order in restaurants and how good it looks when it arrives at the table. With vegan options in restaurants popping up all over the place and more and more meat and dairy-free products appearing in supermarkets, I dearly hope that vegan foods become more normalised in years to come. Curiosity is going to get the better of people eventually. Until then, I'll leave you with a favourite of mine from our awesome friend, Vegan Sidekick....

For more of the oddities that this vegan eats on a day-to-day basis, you can follow my foodporn adventures on Instagram 

What do your non-vegan friends think about what you eat? Are vegan foods becoming more accepted? And why the hell would anyone want to eat pizza, anyway?


  1. What a disgusting post. How can you eat ANY of those foods? Haha. When people find out my eating habits they're always like 'What do you actually eat then?' so I think they are pretty shocked when I cook up curry, bolognese, chilli non-carne etc etc. All 'normal' foods. Delicious.

    Tea in the Tub

    1. Haha this is true. Also, when you cook up a big batch of chocolate brownies and EVERYBODY wants one until they realise it's vegan and they're suddenly inedible. Because everyone knows you can only make brownies using hen-periods... *Head-desk*

  2. Love this post Lisa! Really made me smile :D I asked my sister if she'd be up for testing some of the recipes for my up-coming cookbook. She said "sure, but I'll need to make sure I do the food shopping myself as I can't expect your brother in law to pick up your weird vegan ingredients". After all these years AND my blog, they still think I eat "weird food". I couldn't' help but chuckle to myself. I guess veg, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, soya/almond milk will always be weird to some people ;)

    1. So true. My family don't seem to realise that my dairy-free milks and spreads are edible to non-vegan humans. When I come to stay, my mum will throw a 3/4 full tub of sunflower margarine away as soon as I leave. Like anything that doesn't contain cow-juice was sent by aliens or something haha. I daren't tell her that her Heinz baked beans are vegan. Her brain might implode