Accidental Veganism – Grace O’Neill

As a non-vegan myself, and a serious Nando’s enthusiast, I too have previously voiced my skepticism on veganism. I live at home where none of my family are vegans or vegetarians, and as a recovered anorexic I generally don’t want to put any form of restriction on my diet.

I am a firm believer in food love and freedom. However from my (almost) whole day as an accidental vegan, I have learned that veganism doesn’t have to mean restriction and despite cutting out some aspects of the average diet, the love of food can still prevail!

So basically, my day started with me waking up late and having to make a quick decision between a shower and breakfast…considering I actually like my classmates and didn’t want to drive them away from me, I chose the shower. I know I made the right decision but my two absolute necessities in the morning are COFFEEEE and food. In that order.

So after speeding out the house, jumping on the train (then falling asleep on the train), and finally arriving at Piccadilly Station, I stopped off at my usual morning location; Pret!!

Initially I needed caffeine. So I went for my usual filter coffee…but instead of skimmed milk I went for a little splash of coconut milk. I’m not really sure what made me make this decision but it was a good choice! I could barely taste the difference as I only have a thimbleful of milk anyway, but just can’t quite hack black coffee on account of the fact that I’m not a psychopath.

Next I jumped quickly onto the breakfast stage. Now I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced Pret porridge but I’m telling you now…it is the QUEEN of all oat creations. I would usually opt for the standard milk porridge but for whatever reason this particular day I fancied a change, so I went for their vegan coconut milk porridge. I was not disappointed.

And here you have my first phase of the accidental vegan process. Also cheeky side note about porridge; the reason it’s a super breakfast choice is that not only do oats keep you feeling full, but the slow release carbs will set you up perfectly with energy for a delightful 9am lecture AMIRITE.

So now I was nourished and ready to flourish, fuelled and caffeined and ready for the day.

My first class of the day was Carbon Literacy training where we’d covered everything on the topic of global warming and sustainability. We also had learned during this session about how environmentally friendly veganism and vegetarianism can be! Super interesting stuff!!

Halfway through we had a little breakie for lunch so I dashed off to get some beloved MMU soup (highly recommend) and some popchips; a daily fave!! So quick little bit about MMU soup if you’re not already on board with this…its sOO good. Not only is it souper healthy (lol) its a great way to get in a load of nutrients from veg in one meal, and its also super sustainble as it creates minimal food waste!

Also there’s 2 different soups everyday and as we know variety is the spice of life. Anyways, I digress but this my friends, is the point in my day where I made the realisation that so far all day I had in fact been an Accidental Vegan. SHOCKK!?!

So for the sake of an experiment (even though I was now aware of my accidental veganism), I decided to carry on the theme for the day to see how available and easy it was to make vegan choices.

Fast forward to the end of the uni day and I’m heading back towards the train station to go home. I grabbed myself a snack for the journey, which consisted of some popcorn (stuff of the Gods and a much healthier alternative to crisps!) and some mango; both of which are vegan and again another usual set of nibbles for me!

Here is where I ran into a hurdle…

So I live at my Aunty’s house (yes like Sabrina the Teenage Witch), where I am fortunate enough to have my own chef a.k.a. my aunty. As great as this is it meant I couldn’t continue my day of veganism because she’d made chicken stir-fry for tea. The end.

Psyyyyyyych.

But here we come to the moral of this short story. My overall point is that one common misconception is that veganism is super hard, time consuming and a major lifestyle change for people who are always on the go and live busy lives. And while the latter may be true, it is a lifestyle change, it seems it doesn’t actually have to be super hard.

In a world where more and more people are opting for the vegan lifestyle, vegan options in restaurants, cafes and shops are fast becoming more readily available! And the day I’ve just described is a prime example! I unconsciously made vegan choices because they were right there in front of me.

Even if you don’t want to be a full time vegan or vegetarian, having one meat free day a week can be super easy and do wonders for the environment without you even really noticing a difference. PLUS, I guarantee you some of your favourite snacks are already vegan!

So even if you do something as super simple as maybe opting for a plant based milk in your morning coffee, I challenge you to make one small vegan change in your day even if you only do it once!

Grace x