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Going vegan

martin thorpe and grace
Martin Thorpe, Head of Nestlé Coffee Partners for Nestlé Professional UK & Ireland, decided to take up the challenge with his daughter to go vegan for a month. We asked him what he thought about the changes he had made to his usual diet, what the challenges were and whether he is ditching meat for good.

I’ve really enjoyed Veganuary. My 16-year-old daughter Grace joined me and my wife and other two daughters became vegetarian for the month which made meals easier to make for us all. We’ve all enjoyed it.

These days there are so many meat substitutes available it was quite straightforward to make the swaps. We made a sausage casserole with plant based Cumberland sausages, with lots of vegetables that needed using up including celery, carrots, onions, garlic, parsnips, potato, tinned tomato, red lentils, peas, with Ras el Hanout spice mix and it was wonderful. I’d also never tried vegan chocolate, but it’s really good.

Cheese was the single biggest thing I’ve missed. I had no cravings for eating meat or eggs, but adding cheese to a dish or occasionally having a slice of cheese would have been great. Though there are some pretty good vegan cheeses available. We ordered pizza delivery last week and the vegan ‘chicken’ pizza with vegan cheese wasn’t great, it didn’t hold up to the heat of the pizza oven, and was very dry.

Ironically I’ve probably eaten more processed food this month than normal. Checking labels is a pain, a lot of items are marked as vegetarian and then if you look at the label some do have dairy components such as whey powder, where others don’t have any animal product in the ingredients but seem to be made in a facility where dairy or eggs are used.

I’m going to stick with the vegan diet at home, I’ve really enjoyed it and I’m sure it’s benefiting my health and hopefully the environment too. I’ll not be strict when eating out though as it could be restrictive on where we can eat.

I think we’ve actually been more creative and thoughtful about our food rather than sticking with old favourites all of the time, it’s been fun at dinner time discussing how much we all like or dislike a dish.