Vegan Week update: In which scrolls save our souls

Covering Climate Now: A midweek update from the Spinoffers who have ditched dairy (and eggs, and meat, and fish…) for the week.  

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Read this for the background on what this plant-based palaver is all about, and this for some final thoughts

Three days in to our vegan week challenge and we’re absolute lean, mean, plant-powered machines, lording it over our weaker-of-constitution animal-product-consuming colleagues in both mental and physical pursuits. 

My biggest challenge came on Monday evening when I attended my weekly te reo class. During paramanawa (snack) break I was presented with a veritable cornucopia of temptation. Toffee pops! Mallow puffs! Pineapple lumps! Hundreds and bloody thousands biscuits! None of which, sadly, were vegan. My Malaysian-Chinese classmate Tess brought mooncakes – I knew the ones with egg yolks in the middle were off limits but wasn’t sure about the others, but thought I better play it safe and avoid.

I had brought along a pair of vegan dips and two varieties of crackers (vegan, natch), but at one point absent-mindedly stuffed a marmite-flavoured bagel crisp into my gob. I checked the ingredients and found there’s milk powder in the flavouring. Goddammit! 

That’s been my only lapse, though, despite getting home from class and really feeling like destroying a whole block of cheese while standing at the kitchen bench. It’s been fine, really – I’m getting used to oat milk, mainly because I like imagining that oats have tiny nipples.

Tina was struggling a little yesterday afternoon. “I’m hungry as and my pasta wasn’t as nice as I thought it would be!” she cried when I asked how she was going. (She’d brought pumpkin pasta for her lunch.) But today she’s feeling more positive. “I had vege burgers last night and they were the bomb, I was sad ’cause I couldn’t have mayo though and I love me some mayo.

“It hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be and TBH I have been feeling less slobby and have a lot more energy than usual, I don’t feel like a grump in the AM and don’t find it as hard to get out of bed, which is mellow as heck [that’s Tina for ‘really good’].”

Alex Casey’s veganism has cured her of her lurgy, a vote of confidence for this way of life if ever there was one. “Honestly loving my vegan journey so far,” she says. “I would have normally been furious at my partner coming home with butter chicken and cheese naan last night, but I was too busy imagining the many hectares of Amazonian rainforest, sprouting in real time, all because I ate a bowl of vege stir fry and half a bar of Whittaker’s Dark Ghana for dinner. That’s how this works, right?

“I also ate breakfast with a climate activist. She had eggs benedict and I had granola with soy milk… just saying.”

Josie’s delicious scrolls and Alex with her beloved dark chocolate

Jihee has been taking veganism in her stride until today, when she accidentally ate pancakes (made with eggs) for lunch. “My biggest downfall is that I have a terrible memory.”

Yesterday I offered to buy treats, then went to the plant-based cafe next door and realised my meagre journalist’s wage would not support this kind of vegan extravagance. I purchased two items and cut them into tiny pieces. They were good, albeit the biscuit was a little dry. A debate about vegan baking followed, during which I said I found most of it a bit shit. “The problem is a lot of vegans try to be healthy,” was the insight from full-time vegan Josie Adams. “You just need to use heaps of fat.”

I’ve been planning to do some baking but am reluctant to invest in the weird shit needed when I will no doubt return to my wicked butter and egg-consuming ways next week. If I ever resort to margarine, please shoot me. On that note, readers, hit me up with your best vegan baking recipes!

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Josie proved her point by bringing in a delightful tray of vegan pesto scrolls for us this morning, which are genuinely tasty. Lord knows what she put in there, but I’m impressed. 

She and the other FTV (full-time vegan), Alice Webb-Liddall, expressed disappointment in our colleagues who failed to take part in this challenge. “What is the obsession with dairy? Is it addictive or are they just really patriotic?” Good question, guys, good question.

Onwards and upwards – keep an eye out for our final update at the end of the week, when I’ll report back on how we go tonight at the opening of a circus-themed bar (free alcohol + free snacks = inevitable lapses in commitment and concentration), and whether our workmates riot when the vegan Nando’s arrives. 

The Spinoff’s participation in Covering Climate Now is made possible thanks to the contributions of Spinoff Members. Join The Spinoff Members to help us do more important journalism.


The Spinoff’s food content is brought to you by Freedom Farms. They believe talking about food is nearly as much fun as eating it, and they’re excited to facilitate some good conversations around food provenance in Aotearoa New Zealand.


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