The Ball family are collectively now two weeks into a dietary experiment. We’ve gone vegan.
[Cue much laughter, eye-rolling, and comments along the line of 'That's two years in Brighton for you', from our friends and family].
Hear me out.
You know I’m training for an Ironman, and in the short-term I have Brighton marathon in April. As part of that process I have been reading loads, listening to podcasts, and surfing the web on subjects around training for these events. Ask any endurance athlete and they will tell you that one of the most important components of performance is nutrition.
I’ve been influenced by Scott Jurek (7 time winner of Western States 100 mile race) and Rich Roll (voted one of the worlds fittest people) and their books. Rich also has a great podcast about vegan nutrition and the illnesses that a Western diet, including meat, is responsible for.
So after much prevarication, discussion, and a Christmas where I drank heavily and ate like a man condemned Laura and I decided to give it a go.
Laura is now working full-time, and my work means that I can collect the kids from school and cook, so the responsibility for pulling this nosh together falls on my shoulders. Without a doubt Laura is the superior chef in our household so the pressure has been on.
Every time I plonk a dish of grub in front of Laura and the kids in my head I hear Les Dennis on Family Fortunes (I KNOW, I CAN’T HELP IT, PLEASE MAKE IT STOP), saying, “And the survey said..?” followed by the machine replying “Ur-Urrrrr“.
But that hasn’t happened. Even the kids like most of the food I’ve been creating. Even a dish made with black beans which no-one in the right minds would look at on one of those picture menus and think to themselves, ‘Ooh that looks lovely, I’ll try some of that.” They loved it.
Not only that but Erin has a new-found interest in cooking. I’m not sure if it’s about spending more time with me, or if it’s a genuine interest, but I’m making the most of it.
Here’s Erin working on a veggie chilli, which she did most of the work for. Note her ingenious method for avoiding ‘onion-eye’.
And the end result:
It was absolutely lovely, and is a new house favourite. Instead of beef mince we used quinoa – a very tasty protein-rich little fella that doesn’t clog up your arteries like red meat does.
Don’t get me wrong, the kids still like pizza, and we still let that happen. It’s just less than we used to. Plus they are still having the occasional bit of cheese for their school lunches but we will be slowly edging these out of their diet, assuming we stick to it ourselves of course.
And the weird thing is neither Laura nor I miss meat – at the moment.
Oh, and one other thing. I haven’t had booze since the 3rd January. Not that long ago I know, but it’s a start. I’m planning on being booze-free in January.
The Executive Summary:
Teetotal. Vegan. Wannabe Ironman. Midlife crisis victim.