Going vegan while hampered by a gammy knee and while trying to conquer a PhD is arguably not one of my smarter moves. The knee injury was unavoidable. (I was mown down by an opposition player.) The veganism is, arguably, unavoidable too.
It’s always where I’ve been heading—some 23 years of vegetarianism were really aspiring veganism except that Australia wasn’t ready. Something’s shifted recently (maybe hipsters are to thank/blame) and veganism is starting to become (shudder) cool. It means there are marginally more options for me when eating out and more places to buy food for when I’m cooking in.
That said, it’s still face-palmingly hard. Rather than a graceful segue into veganism, I’m more akin to a fat man trying to scale a bootcamp wall—red-faced, hopelessly entangled in the netting, trying to haul my wobbly butt up the scaffolding enough to enable me to flop over to the other side.
Suffice to say I’ve spent the past few weeks a lot frustrated and perpetually grumpy. That’s partly because my knee isn’t healing the way it should be. I’m going to take a punt and say that I don’t think it should be getting red and egg-fryingly hot from me walking around my apartment while talking on the phone. I’m also going to issue an aside that all knees generally, and my knees especially, are exceptionally ugly.
The knee niggles combined with going vegan mean everything’s gotten exponentially and exhaustingly hard. I can directly attribute the latter to the exasperating fact that meat consumption and its related unsustainability and cruelty are entrenched and feel insurmountable.
I can also attribute it to the fact that I’m a rubbish cook and haven’t yet sorted out my menu. I’m getting hungrier sooner but am eating things that, though healthy, aren’t low enough GI to sustain me. Then I’m eating more to fill this grump-inducing, concentration-skewering hunger and ultimately gaining weight. None of this is helped by the fact that I’m not able to exercise (see above re: gammy knee).
Still, there’s hope.
I’ve found a podcast that’s doesn’t require me to go bunk and live off the grid. (I’m a pragmatic vegetarian and vegan and can’t stand the personal hygiene-challenged alternatives I invariably get lumped with.) It’s by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, an English major who almost pursued a career in academia before deciding instead to pursue a career writing books about veganism. (Parallels much? Except that I will be finishing this PhD if it kills me.)
Patrick-Goudreau has a bunch of books—The Joy of Vegan Baking, The Vegan Table, Colour Me Vegan, Vegan’s Daily Companion—and lots of complementary resources. These include a fantastic podcast, which I’ve been listening to non-stop, back to back, and in which Patrick-Goudreau delivers wise, measured, practical, applicable wisdom. She knows her stuff, mixing information with punchy topics, memorable soundbites, and even literature and etymology.
I’d recommend fast-forwarding the first five minutes of every podcast, though—it’s a very American thing to do to ask for money and to talk up your stuff, but it grates my Australian ethos exponentially. I reckon if you want to support Patrick-Goudreau, buy her books.
That’s what I’m doing, although I’ll confess that her baking cookbook is my number one priority (weight loss here I don’t come). Once I work out my menu and properly adapt, being vegan will be fantastic. No, really. This is my third attempt at making it across the line, but this time I’m certain I’m going to make it. Until then, be warned that I’ll be vaguely hungry and a little bit grumpy.