We’re one week into our 31-day vegan travel challenge as part of Veganuary. We’ve had ups and downs, we’ve experimented with new foods, we’ve stocked up on 2kg of nuts and we’ve raided Brighton‘s most delicious vegan food joints. Next we’re going to be travelling vegan in Bulgaria.
The first few days of being vegan didn’t really phase us. We cook vegan food a lot at home anyway and transitioning from a vegetarian diet to a vegan one didn’t seem like that big of a leap. Essentially we were just cutting out the eggs and dairy, switching milky porridge to coconut milk porridge, not grating cheese on our lentil bolognese and eating baked sweet potatoes instead of omelettes at lunchtime.
Veganism in at Home in Brighton
Brighton is probably the easiest town in the whole of the UK to be vegan, and lucky for us it’s also Luke’s home town. Being in Brighton has definitely made our first week of vegan travel super easy to transition into. The Laines are like an alternative vegan paradise with vegetarian and vegan buffets, vegan falafel joints, vegan sushi spots, Vietnamese cafes with vegan pho, a Loving Hut and health food shops.
Though there are loads more vegan places we’d like to try in Brighton, we’re frequent eaters at a Japanese canteen called E-Kagen where you can eat vegan sushi, We Love Falafel and FilFil Cafe which are both amazing falafel places that have cool mixes like beetroot and sweet potato falafel as well as traditional chickpea falafel, and Infinity Foods Kitchen. We also really like vegetarian buffet Iydea but it’s always so packed inside that we rarely can get a table to eat there.
What Our Vegan Meals Looked Like
We’ve eaten really healthily this week, aside from the increased amount of bread that has entered our diet as a result of switching to veganism, and stuck to eat a lot of nuts, grains and pulses.
Breakfast has mostly been homemade granola with almond milk, porridge made with coconut milk or peanut butter and banana on toast.
Lunch has been a combination of toast and hummus, rice bowls, and baked sweet potatoes.
We went all out on our weekend brunch when I learned to make kongjang (Korean spicy beans) which we ate with scrambled curried tofu, fried mushrooms and tomatoes, toast and olive oil and fresh avocado.
Dinner has been the meal we’ve put the most effort into. We’ve made dishes like red lentil bolognese with pasta, bean chilli and rice, and green Thai curry from scratch.
I think that being at home has also made the first week much easier for us. Aside from Luke’s mum being concerned that veganism would spell weight loss for the both of us, we’ve generally had a positive response about our decision to try out veganism this month. All of our family and friends have been really open-minded and supportive about the decision, and recognise that there are a lot of bad things going on the in animal agriculture industry.
However, that’s not to say that there haven’t been some challenges for us. While eating vegetarian and making sure we get the right nutrients in our diet is second nature to us, being vegan takes a lot more thought and research. Vegan food sources for vitamin B12 are probably the only real challenge here – but we’ve incorporated fortified almond milk, pterostilbene and nutritional yeast into our diet.
Perhaps the most irritating challenge of all is having to scour the label on any pre-packaged food to see if it’s vegan. Just yesterday I myself googling whether supermarket hot cross buns were vegan (turns out they are), and earlier in the week we found egg albumen on an ingredients list of a product which was branded as though it was vegan on the packaging.
How Do We Feel About Being Vegan So Far?
So far I’m feeling really fine about being vegan. Luke definitely really misses eating eggs, and I guess that I kind of miss having yoghurt with my granola, but that’s what makes the challenge challenging. What’s been most surprising is that although cheese is delicious, now that we’re not eating it, we don’t miss it anywhere as much as we thought we might. It’s definitely still too early to say how we feel about travelling as vegans because we’re not hitting the road until Saturday, but by this time next week we should have a better idea about how veganism will impact our travel lifestyle.
Vegan Travel in Bulgaria
We’ve booked a last minute flight to Bulgaria’s capital city of Sofia. We’re not sure how easy vegan travel in Bulgaria is going to be – it’s certainly not known as a hotspot for vegans!
I’ve checked out vegan restaurants in Sofia on HappyCow and was pleased to see quite a few vegan places listed and have had some good support amongst vegan travel bloggers on Facebook, which is really appreciated, and also booked an apartment on Airbnb with a kitchen so we can make some of our own meals. And I’m gathering some vegan snacks in advance too!
If you’ve got any vegan travel advice (or general travel advice) for travelling in Bulgaria, particularly in Sofia and Bansko then we’d love you to share it in the comments!
We’ll be posting updates on Facebook about how vegan travel in Bulgaria is working out for us and writing again this time next week about how week #2 of Veganuary has gone.