Fake bacon that tastes like shoes insoles. Meat-free hagggis and turkey made from tofu. When a devoted carnivore agreed to live as a vegan for a month, he was deeply apprehensive. But the effect on his health was simply astonishing
One day I was bemoaning to a female friend that I felt a bit run down and in need of a change of eating habits, while unhelpfully refusing to be drawn into any discussions on faddy diets that she proposed.
Maybe out of desperation, maybe revenge, she suggested I become vegan. I laughed, thought about it, and laughed again.
"Gwyneth Paltrow is a vegan," she said. Maybe I could think of it as an ethical stand rather than a diet, I thought.
"I couldn't," I said. "No, maybe you aren't as strong willed as Gwyneth," she replied. But I am. My decision to go vegan elicited a variety of responses, but not one was enthusiastic.
Meat eaters thought it ludicrous, even vegetarians weren't convinced it was possible, and one person told me he'd rather eat his arm.
With ill-disguised glee they ran through lists of things I wouldn't be able to eat.
It was a depressing list - basically vegetarianism without the eggs, milk, cheese, butter or cream. And for a man whose culinary art could be summed up by 'pierce film and microwave for three minutes, stirring once', how would I deal with ingredients that actually required cooking?
But first, to find out what all this was going to do to my body, I went for a health check at the BUPA Wellness centre in London's King's Cross.
After a thorough, hitherto assiduously avoided blood analysis, body mass indexing, cholesterol and weigh-in, I was informed by the doctor that I was overweight and had a cholesterol level of 6.5 - the recommended upper limit is 5.
The doctor was deeply sceptical that four weeks as a vegan would be enough to see a difference and said he wouldn't recommend veganism as the body needed meat to function.
However, he wished me well and I left, vegan for a month.
I started looking for something to eat. None of the fast food eateries cater for vegans, nor the chain shops unless you count a pot of hummus with a couple of sticks of broccoli as food, which I do not.
Sandwiches which could have been vegan had been sabotaged with butter or lashings of mayonnaise.
Finally I saw a hand-painted store in a sidestreet with a board announcing 'organic cafe' and so it was that my first vegan meal came from Pete's Hemp Store.
The shelves heaved with all the things I would normally eschew - lentils, grains and beans - and had that dreary pall which is endemic to health shops.
Source - Daily Mail