Good lord it feels like ages since I last blogged. I think I’ve been putting all my energy into various work projects, dealing with going through a break up (which instantly means drinking all the wine) and focussing on the baby of a beast – Jules and Sarah the Podcast.
BUT, recently I endured a fleeting brush of veganism. It spouted from my time at Wilderness festival where you can barely move for hemp butter and cauliflower fries – that place is a complete vegan heaven. I was partying, shaking the shimmay and wiggling out any bit of dignity at Wilderness with my darling friend Sophie and my cousin Leah. Leah is a vegetarian and Sophie a vegan (check out her vegan blog here). I sit somewhere in the middle as a man who does not eat mammals, birds, reptiles or prawns – I’m also very fussy about where my eggs have come from and will rarely eat fish at a festivals – I mean you just DON’T KNOW. I haven’t eaten meat since I was 10 so when I’m told to watch Cowspiracy etc, I’m like – hun I get it.
I’m the king of cutting out food groups and when I’m on a diet waggon I am ON IT, and when I’m off I’m knee deep in melted sage butter, gelato and pint after pint of beer… kind of where I am now as my laptop so beautifully rests upon my gunt. However, at Wilderness as a group of lionesses would naturally do, we ate together and usually from the same food stand. I found after a whole weekend I’d predominately eaten vegan, ‘this isn’t so hard’ I thought, ‘hemp trousers you say? Gong baths? Rune stones?’ – it was all slotting nicely into a barefooted place.
I returned to London and thought ‘I’m going to give this vegan shizzle a go’. Surely, in a city the size of London this shouldn’t be too hard? If you listen to our podcast you’ll know that I am an avid lover of cheese so I had to keep my cleanse a secret – I couldn’t face the outrage from our listeners (named The Port Salut Crew after the underdog king of cheese). So, there I was, ordering every vegan product possible on Ocado – coconut butter, nuts, seeds, all the fruit you could imagine. I wont lie, I was excited and knew my poor unhappy gut would be glad of a break.
There I was, quinoa on the boil, kimchi poised, pistachios toasted – this is going to be a COMPLETE DODDLE. Working from home, packing my lunches, being organised – I was essentially Mary Berry fuelled by greens. This was it, the start of a new chapter for Jules Von Hep.
I had also wanted to try Farmacy in Westbourne Park for ages – so this was an excuse to drag my friend to West London and eat chiiiic! My breakfast consisted of a chia pot (minus the bee pollen), avocado on toast and activated oat porridge with coconut milk – my friend and I shared. I mean, I could get used to this!
A midweek hangover you say? No problem, vegan sausages, avocado, vegemite and bread. Bread. And more bread. See that’s what started to happen, my life became a walking advert for the devil food. Bread, but bread without salted melted butter doesn’t quite have the same feel – even though I was drenching it in coconut butter, olive oil, salt, pepper…nothing in my mind quite matches up to butter.
Breakfast as a vegan is by far the easiest meal of the day, fruit, nut butter, quinoa bread – it was all easy to attain in London. I visited Rude Health cafe in Fulham London (admittedly on my way home from a friends house still in my pjs looking a STATE) and the vegan breakfast was delicious!
Good news is I was eating much healthier and opting for meals much lower in fat naturally. I already had some favourite cafes to grab vegan lunch from in central London – Raw Press in Mayfair, Wild Food café in Covent Garden, The Detox Kitchen in Soho. All delicious but sadly none of it cheap which is expected considering none of it is mass produced.
Sadly my life doesn’t consist of me lugging Tupperware with me on a daily basis, or staying in on evenings due to the fact that I have one of those jobs and lifestyles where I am BARELY home. The thing is I don’t work in an office – right now I’m typing this blog post in a café with my ear phones on, tomorrow I’m driving all over London doing spray tans with clients, the following day I’m in meetings, thus I’m not near fridges so I have to eat out a lot. Slowly my enthusiasm for veganism started to diminish – the week wasn’t an unusual one – I was eating out at least 7 times that week alone. I had one meeting over a lunch in The Ivy Brasserie in central London, that place drips with glitterati but could they pull together a decent vegan lunch? Could they bollocks. I was served leaves, LEAVES. The dressing had honey it in so I couldn’t have that and they couldn’t for the life of them think outside the box. I had to eat a loaf of sourdough just to see me through the afternoon. This was getting dia’.
I had initially said I was going vegan for three weeks to fully cleanse my body. On my eighth day I had a date cancel on me with the excuse ‘I threw up in a bin in public due to my hangover’ – I don’t tolerate nonsense like that but let me tell you I was not going to sit at home and twiddle my thumbs in self pity! NO. So off I trotted to Chiltern Fire House with my friend to have a fabulous Sunday afternoon. And there they were, oysters, lobster, crab linguine. Flirtatiously wiggling their shells at me from the menu. I tried to resist but my salivating deprived tongue was having none of it. Well, if there’s one way to fall off the wagon it’s with a lobster in a divine setting, am I right?!
So I made it seven days as a vegan. Yes I failed to complete my three week run but I think if I’d had three weeks on the bread I would have popped. But what have I learnt I hear you cry?!
- I have the upmost respect for vegans. That shit is hardcore and if you can do it, what a commitment.
- Financially it can be crushing if you get sucked into the some of the hype.
- Grains can be extremely bloating – I think one person was going to give their seat up for me on the tube home.
- I don’t need as much cheese as I think I do (I mean, I would NEVER resist the Port Salut).
- Restaurants aren’t where we think they are in terms of being vegan and I only committed to a week where I wasn’t travelling – vegans who travel lots deserve medals.
- If you prep at home, being vegan isn’t so hard.
- Vegan deserts are DELICIOUS.
I’m going to try and continue to have at least two days a week where I’m vegan, that way it might help me manage my dairy intake but also just help me move forward with my gut cleanse! But what I know for sure, is I don’t think I could ever, ever give up cheese.