Preparation and improvisation

So I found myself in Edgware on a sunny Saturday afternoon, and as I have taken a week off work next week I didn’t have a long list of chores to get through, and as on top of that Ben is staying at mine tonight, I didn’t need to worry about getting home to pack gym clothes and provisions before meeting up with him – so plenty of time to wander around aimlessly and explore.

I haven’t done that in a long time, and I’d forgotten how fun it could be! Especially as I stumbled upon a little health food shop called Panacea, tucked away in the Boardwalk shopping centre, which actually had loads of good deals and a clearance section.

Ok, I didn’t go nuts, but I did decide that I would buy myself at least one treat, one that I really wanted. So I bought my first tub of nutritional yeast since my final year of university (which, terrifyingly, was over two years ago now!). Then I found some half price agave syrup in clearance section (surely agave nectar doesn’t actually go off?!), some half price turmeric capsules for Ben, and then as I was paying there was a half price açai and blueberry raw chocolate bar winking at me from the counter – just would have been rude not to! So that was 4 items for about a tenner – all super fashionable superfoody things from a health food shop – who said being vegan is expensive?!

Which brings me to the point of this post: preparation is key for a successful vegan diet.

OK that seems pretty obvious, and even Ben and John, who are going to try a vegan diet for a fortnight in October (stay tuned for updates!), realised how easy it could actually be if they prepared properly on the weekend beforehand. Actually, what started with them dreading it and asking to “do it as soon as possible to get it over and done with” actually ended with them getting quite excited about the prospect of shopping and finding delicious foods to get them through the week. So the argument I’d like to put forward, instead, is that the element of preparation in a vegan diet is actually the best thing about it – for anyone wanting to stay fit and healthy, that is (which I’m not saying everyone has to want, but this is a blog about the marriage of veganism and fitness).

Pretty much every word of advice I can give on leading a successful vegan life, or on sticking to any healthy diet or training programme, would relate to the importance of preparation. Yes, read that again, I expanded that so it’s not just applicable to vegans.

I have lost count of the number of times that I have been tempted by some nasty cheap junk food just because I’ve been peckish/other people have been eating/it smelt good/it was there, then I’ve checked the ingredients, realised it wasn’t vegan, and (upon further reflection) been relieved that I hadn’t wasted my money and health on it. I genuinely don’t know any more whether I prepare my food in advance because I’m vegan, or because I want to be healthy, or because I want to save money. But I get to do all three at once so hey, it works for me! It makes me laugh when people look at me like I’m some sort of demi-God and say “Gosh, you’re so organised!”. Nobody has ever turned around and said, “HAH you’re vegan? Your life must suck!”, because it clearly doesn’t.

So really, every time you go shopping and get yourself some bargain vegan goodies, every time you cook something delicious for a non-vegan to try, and every time you tap-out/knock out/out-lift/out-run a non-vegan, you’re winning on so many levels. Surely that’s worth just a little advance preparation?

(PS after all this talk of preparation, I had planned to take a photo of my haul of vegan goodies when I got home to liven this place up a little, but I got way too excited about putting them all away in my cupboard, and totally forgot. I never said I was perfect.)