CW: food, diet.
Welcome back to my Baby Steps series! Today, I’m going to be talking about what I’m doing for Lent to try to be more sustainable. I know Lent is already underway, but I took a bit of a break while I got caught up on university work. Still, I’m back now, and we’re only a few days into Lent. If you want to check out my broader goals for the year, you can find my most recent post in the series here.
Two years ago, for Lent I decided to give up meat and give a pescatarian diet a go. For anyone who isn’t sure, the difference between pescatarian and vegetarian is whether or not you eat fish. Vegetarians eat nothing that requires a creature to die, whereas pescatarians still eat fish/fish products. My decision to go for pescatarian and not vegetarian was purely down to the fact that I had fish in my freezer that I didn’t have time to get through before Lent began. Since then, I’ve been pretty solid with this diet, and have cut out fish as well in the last few months.
Last year for Lent, I didn’t really bother doing anything. I’m not a very religious person, so I don’t feel a need to come up with something to give up. I do still enjoy the challenge of giving something up, however, and as it’s for a set period of time, there’s an end goal in sight, which for me makes it a lot easier to say goodbye to something I enjoy. So last year, when I didn’t have any particular ideas for things I wanted to give up, I chose to just not participate.
This year, however, I did have an idea. Since I’ve been trying to cut down on my egg and dairy consumption, I decided I was going to try nor buying anything with egg or dairy in during Lent. I decided against trying to go fully vegan for Lent because again, I still have some egg/dairy products in my fridge that I don’t want to go to waste, and I also won’t say no if someone offers me free food. As the majority of the products I buy are egg/dairy free already, there wasn’t a lot of products that I needed to replace in my weekly shop, but I am being careful to buy the vegan meat alternatives rather than the vegetarian. This may prove a bit of an issue as the supermarket that I use doesn’t carry the vegan versions of things like Quorn pieces or fillets, so it might require a bit more of a Grocery Expedition to find the things I need. The other big thing I needed to replace in my weekly shop was yoghurt, as I have yoghurt almost every day for breakfast. I was specifically looking for a vegan product that was high in protein, which proved to be a bit of a struggle as lots of soya yoghurt products have more sugary carbs than protein. I found an ASDA own-brand option (to clarify: I am certainly not sponsored by any of the companies I mention in this post. I just buy and enjoy their products) that matched what I was looking for and bought a couple of pots. Sadly as I don’t live near an ASDA and won’t be doing another delivery order this term, I’ll have to find a different product in a week’s time when what I’ve got runs out.
The other product I regularly buy that doesn’t have an obvious, easy swap like the Quorn pieces is cheese. While I know that vegan cheese is out there, I don’t generally like it. It also tends to be massively more expensive than dairy cheese, which is already pretty pricey. Rather than giving in, or spending a lot of money on a product I won’t enjoy, I’ve decided to just not buy any more cheese once my current block runs out. A pretty big decision for a cheese-lover, but then it’s only for a month or so.
So, how have I done with this so far? As you can probably tell, so far my food shopping has been pretty successful. As long as I’m mindful in choices like which crisps I pick up (salt and vinegar all the way), or which Quorn products I buy, it’s not too much of a challenge. The problem has been when I’ve been eating out, rather than at home. Last week, I slipped up a couple of times in London. The first time, I didn’t even think when I bought a cup of tea and it came with dairy milk. I also ended up buying a lunch that contained dairy/egg purely out of lack of willpower, and I ordered the wrong dessert at dinner, and got a chocolate brownie instead of the vegan chocolate pot. Aside from my trip to London, however, I have been successful in my goal. I don’t think being upset at myself for these slips is at all useful, so instead I’m going to focus on the ways I’ve succeeded. I’ve not bought any egg/dairy products from a supermarket, and I’ve eaten in cafes a couple of times since then, and always ordered oat milk in my drinks, and made sure to choose a vegan food option.
Overall, I am happy with how I’ve done. Posting this will hopefully hold me accountable to continuing to follow this goal. Are you giving up anything for Lent? Let me know in the comments!