Propelled by a hoard of bougie Instagram bloggers, veganism has been on the rise. This year, I decided to partake in the hype and take on the ordeal of a plant-based diet throughout Lent. My skeptical preconceptions were soon dashed. Veganism has made me increasingly aware of my food choices – not only in regards to nutrition, but also the implications they have for the environment.
The thought of veganism on a student budget may seem soul-crushing, but in saving money from buying animal-products, stocking up on other vegan fantasies is very manageable. An easy, satisfying meal can be made by stir-frying some vegetables – I use the Tesco’s stir-fry pack along with spinach and garlic – and mixing this with rice and chickpeas. The high-fibre content of the vegetables makes the meal no less filling, yet the low carbohydrate and saturated-fat content spares you from a post-indulgence food-coma. Equally important is the exclusion of unsustainably sourced animal products, making this meal guilt-free in more ways than one.
Vegetable produce can be extremely versatile. Try this for a meal plan: start the day with half a banana, sliced to fill up a peanut-butter and jam sandwich. For lunch, mash half an avocado and combine this with coconut yoghurt and lemon juice. Stir-fry some spinach and garlic, and mix this with the avocado-concoction. Serve this on top of pasta with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast as a vegan version of carbonara. As a snack, chop up the remaining banana over some coconut yoghurt topped with granola. For dinner, stir-fry some more spinach with garlic. Add some pan-fried Quorn fajita strips (a chicken substitute), and serve this on top of rice. Mix together peanut butter, soy sauce and sesame oil, and pour this over everything; you’ve made a vegan ‘chicken’ satay. Slice up the remaining avocado to garnish on top.
Veganism isn’t as daunting as it sounds. It comes with health and environmental benefits, and is easy to integrate into your uni routine.