It all began with a duck.
Two ducks, actually. They appeared in the middle of a housing estate and were waddling about outside my front door. I went out to get a photo and they were really friendly. They were curious too. This messed with my mind a little. I mean, ducks with personalities. You can’t eat something that’s friendly. That's just not right.
Suddenly, I felt a bit guilty about the huge block of minced beef I’d bought for bolognese.
The thing is, I've never had much success when I've tried going veggie before. I usually fail when it comes to ordering take-away or going into a pub for something to eat. But this happened in the middle of a sober challenge that was going insanely well. I had the daft idea of doing Dry January in the summer, simply because it's more of a challenge that way, but I was so bowled over by the changes during the first month that I kept going. I ended up doing 72 days and the benefits are amazing. I lost two stone in weight, sorted out a whole load of mental health issues, blood pressure is firmly within the healthy bracket, my productivity went through the roof and I was reading more. I only broke my sober streak to see if I missed it as much as I thought. That was another shock. I was surprised to find that I couldn’t bear the taste of lager or wine. I also hated the feeling of being drunk. Something I thought I loved.
So I’m doing that challenge again. This time I want to let it roll and just see how long I can go. 90 days is the first marker. But, as it's Day 1, it seems a good idea to do a Veggie Challenge at the same time and with the same mindset - to see what the health benefits are. Why not? So I thought I'd kick off with breakfast.
Let's just say it's not a good start.
Yesterday, not realising I was about to do a Veggie Challenge, I bought a load of bacon to go with the black pudding and sausages that are already in the fridge. Unfortunately, those aren't ideal foods for a wannabe Veggie, but I was all fired up for a cooked breakfast. However, thanks to my morality wobble with the cows, I have some plant-based sausages in the freezer.
I got them out and stuck them in the oven. Twenty minutes later, they’re ready to go. Here they are, on brown bread with a squirt of tomato sauce and a side order of black coffee.
Mmmmm.... Tasty eh?
Not exactly. They tasted bloody awful. The pack says they're made from peas. The experience is like eating Weetabix-flavoured cardboard.
Besides, what is the point of veggie sausages? I get veggie fingers, because they're colourful and taste like they sound, but are veggie sausages meant to mimic pork? Does that mean there's some Quality Assurance guy eating both to make sure they do? So Porky Pig is being slaughtered regardless? There's something not quite right about that. I'm not sure that meat substitutes are the way to go.
Time to go shopping.