The Reluctant Vegan

It seemed appropriate to touch base with a mate of mine doing Veganuary before the month was up, particularly one who is vocally in favour of eating meat. Enter Dan, Owner of Union BBQ restaurant chain, telecom entrepreneur and also an executive at a jetpack company.

I’ll give him his due – Dan is up to the challenge and has been committed to a fully vegan month, inclusive of toiletries. If you are vegan you will become increasingly tired of the naysayers quips and pokes, but Dan has seemed to be holding his own with an open and inquisitive mind.

The main benefit of going for lunch with Dan is that Dan owns a car, and is able to scoot us up the A3 to tick off the top of both our vegan-dining bucket-lists: Earth Restaurant in Petersfield.

Earth boasts a comparatively giant selection of burgers, wraps, milkshakes and all the delights you’d expect from a fast food diner – with the reassurance of being 100% vegan.

With minimal deliberation, we ordered a Big Earth and a CBC burger (getta load of this menu!) air fries, popcorn chicken and onion rings. The service was speedy and soon we were compromising a conversation with the stuffing of faces.

Dan is a busy chap. He rarely cooks and eats out constantly. For that reason he’s found real hardship with finding food at the drop of a hat – especially when out and about or at anti-social hours. I really feel for him, I have always worked odd hours and all over the show, and whilst I had it good in foodie-progressive Bristol, I’m not sure how I’d hold up in Southampton. Do we need more fast food options?

Other Veganuary-experimenting friends have really revelled in the act of incorporating new ingredients into their cooking, switching up their techniques and in many cases trying foods they’ve never had before. A month with an unchanged schedule has stripped Dan of this pleasure. With the limitation of only eating out, the experience has been lack-lustre, uncreative and – whilst the options have been particularly plentiful this month, and wonderful as a treat, I can imagine they become quite heavy-going as regular meals.

That said, Dan has made a pretty heroic effort, only faltering once accidentally. His main takeaway (other than the lack of just that), has been the experience of receiving his friend’s harsh opposition of his choices. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, playing out on my Facebook feed. Swathes of criticism – nothing new to us seasoned vegans.

So as of today, (literally 12:20am with the delivery of a pizza) Dan will be going straight back to his usual diet (boo). Nevertheless, whilst we were enjoying a whipped-cream-topped Oreo milkshake to round up our Earth visit, he did admit that the lack of dairy in his diet has definitely agreed with him and he will be significantly lowering his meat and dairy intake for better all-round health. He reckons he’ll consider vegan and vegetarian meals as viable options on a menu where he would have previously glazed over them, assuming every meal had to include meat.

Reflecting on the bigger picture, a positive outcome of Dan’s trial month is that as an influencer in the food trade, he has seen the merit in offering a wealth of options on a menu, and has learned how frustrating a falafel option is in EVERY. DAMN. JOINT.

Have you done Veganuary? What were your thoughts and how has the month affected your approach to your diet? Do let us know 🙂

And if you can find a friend with a car – get down to Earth. It’s (ironically) out of this world, and totally worth the petrol.

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