Sunday, 1 November 2015

My First Vegan Shop and Why I Ate Those Eggs Last Night

Homemade cream cakes, scones and egg sandwiches aren't vegan. But I ate them last night anyway. My best friend Simon had made such a lovely tea party for us, gone to such trouble, and I was starving. All I'd had to eat yesterday was three slices of bread with peanut butter. It was all I had in. I figured not starving myself was probably the better option in these circumstances. At least the eggs came from their own well-looked-after chickens. And being appreciative and grateful for the trouble he'd gone to was the right thing to do, especially so early on in my vegan journey. Today I went shopping, so no excuses now. 

I went to Lidl first and bought every vegetable item that was significantly cheaper than a quid, as well as a couple of other staple items like spuds. Quite a haul! 

Fruit items seemed way too expensive, so I kept those to a minimum, but I can't live without bananas and orange juice. Persimmons were on offer. I don't even know what they are, or how to eat them. So I picked one that seemed ripe but not too ripe, and I'll give it a go. It's good to try new things. 

And these are the grocery items I bought from Lidl, including some rather luxurious-looking vegan chocolate! 

I was disappointed in the lack of ready-prepared stir-fries, dairy alternatives and tinned vegan dishes like dhal. So I headed off to Sainsbury's to complete the shop. I spent £20 at Lidl, but had loads of veg, so that didn't seem too bad so far. I figured another tenner spent in Sainsbury's would be reasonable. 

The sweet potatoes were small. This is a bonus when you're cooking for one. Broccoli was only 50p and the beans felt like quite a luxury, but I do like them. Ready-made stir-fries seemed a bit stupid at this point. I already had pretty much everything that was in them anyway. So I just got beansprouts. Disappointed with the lack of fruit in my stash, I snapped up the plums on offer for 50p and headed off to find some dairy alternatives.

Non-dairy milk is expensive. I chose an unsweetened almond milk. It was the last carton and was a bit bashed in, but I took this as a sign that people like it, so it's probably nice. I pulled out the dented corner and shook the carton a bit. No leaks. Felt smug. In the fridges I checked the label of Elmlea, because I was pretty sure it was just made from oils, but my heart sank when I read 'buttermilk' in the ingredients.  Then I noticed one lone carton of soy cream! Just like the milk, I took this to be a good sign. It was sitting in a tiny puddle of cream though, looking well dodgy. I wiped it a bit with my finger and it didn't appear to be leaking. That went in the trolley. If it didn't look any worse by the time I got to checkout I'd keep it. Sainsbury's own coconut milk was on offer; three for a quid. I shook a can and it felt delightfully solid inside. No watery swishy noises going on in there! Good stuff! Got three of those and went in search of dhal.

It's a small Sainsbury's so there wasn't much. I picked up a few tins, including bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. I'm sure I must've spent about 20 minutes reading labels in the crisp aisle alone. Reading labels took a LOOONG time today. None of it makes sense. It's easy to look for 'vegetarian', but nothing ever seems to be marked 'vegan' and it's really annoying. There are some weird things too - like Bisto. I can't find any obvious meat-products in the list of ingredients in Bisto. And not just the onion gravy but the normal red one too. There are quite a few products I'm not sure of. Ingredients lists are full of things I've never heard of, so I have no idea if they're animal products or not. I'll have to investigate some items as I go along. I didn't buy any Bisto just in case. Oreos were always going in! Maybe once I'm used to all this stuff I can wean myself off sugar and processed crap completely, but I really can't do it all at once. 

I was miffed to find I'd spent just over £18 at Sainsbury's! Not going there again. What a rip off! I have resolved to go to the Asian supermarket next time and try to avoid Sainsbury's. So I've spent £38 on one person's food. That's too much. I want to cut that down to £30 if I can. Having said that, this stuff could last me longer than a week so I don't know yet. I have no idea what I'm going to cook yet either. I have no meal plans, no recipes, no idea. I'm guessing I'll be eating stir fries, soups and salads a lot. I do need to make some lunches in advance, to avoid a repeat of the Tesco chips fiasco the other day. 

And without any further ado, here then, is my lunch today. My first proper vegan meal of the journey so far! It's a tinned bean salad with added radishes, cherry tomatoes, cashew nuts and salad leaves. I've just eaten it and it was bloody delicious! Game on! 


  1. Wikid post Sal! Sam and I are Vegan, sam for the last year, me for about a month :-)
    Always good to share knowledge, it seems you have gotten off to a good start, judging by our post! I look forward to the next :-D
    Let us know if you fancy a meet up at some point, Sam organised a Vegan lunch at out local pub earlier this year - the landlady is brilliant! Sam had got load of links and info. My own nuggut of Vegan wisdom... Violife is the best Vegan cheese, the hard block type is like cheddar but you need to sprinkle it with nutritional yeast :-)
    Cheesy pie! Yum! :-p
    Good luck luv!

    1. Awesome! Thanks Peat! I'll look out for that stuff :) It's nice to hear from someone who's relatively new to this too :) A meet up some time would be great!

  2. There are better quality Tofus out there than the Caldron branded one :-)

  3. Good on you, Aldi has some organic veggies too and Morrisons, they go cheap at the end of the day. Its the healthiest way to be, Let your days be long :) x I've got a magazine for ya, but havent got your address :)

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