Vegan for more than 10 years and still alive

The best thing about having all our belongings back is that I’ve got all my cookbooks again. I’m not that good at just making recipes up and I also like flipping through cookbooks for inspiration. We had visitors over last Sunday and so I really needed some inspiration. I ended up making four vegan dishes: Moroccan Chickpeas, Chewy Indonesian Rice, Revive-Dorf Salad, and Honey & Soy Tofu Steaks. They were all delicious and I think our visitors enjoyed them too as they went back for seconds and thirds.

Here’s what we ate:


These are all recipes from The Revive Cafe Cookbook. It’s a cafe in Auckland (which we never actually went to) but their cookbook is fantastic. I’ve shared a recipe from this book once before, the Vegan blueberry and cashew cheesecake.

Having visitors over and cooking yummy dishes is a great way to share vegan food with other people and dispel the myth that you need to eat meat to eat well. I should do it more often.

Every year I have a blood test to test for diabetes. It’s called the HbA1c and it gives an indication of blood sugar levels over the previous three months. This is because I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with Daniel and I’m at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes. I didn’t have it with Elizabeth which is unusual because it tends to be something that gets worse with age. But I changed my diet during my pregnancy with Daniel as a result of this diagnosis and completely gave up orange juice and other sugary drinks. I’ve never been someone who consumes fizzy drinks but I used to like the odd gin and tonic. I haven’t had one for 8 years now.

My HbA1c test result was 34 which is within the normal range of 20-42. I was quite pleased because last year it was 39 and lower is better. Perhaps it’s all the cycling on Busby I’ve been doing? I’m running less here than I was in Auckland but I’ve got stronger muscles in my thighs now from peddling a bakfiets with two children, uphill. Strength training is supposedly good for managing blood sugar levels. This is because lifting weights develops white muscles which help to lower blood glucose, according to this study –

My iron levels are 21.2 which is on the low side of normal and not surprising given that I don’t consume red meat or take regular supplements. My B12 is 561 which is great and my folate is >24 which is very high because I eat plants rich in folate like beans and lentils. So despite everyone telling me when I first went vegan about 10 years ago that I’d get ill and die (ok, I exaggerate a bit), I’m in very good health.

21 thoughts on “Vegan for more than 10 years and still alive

  1. Very interesting Rachel. Although I’m not vegan I have all of Jeremy Dixon’s books and really love them. I so enjoy your posts and love hearing about your life over there.

    1. I’m so pleased to hear you’re enjoying reading my blog!

      This cookbook is the only one I’ve got of Jeremy Dixon’s and every recipe I’ve tried is really good. I must get his other cookbooks as well.

  2. I love making vegan food for my non-vegan friends. And my one friend will make sure that what she makes (usually) is vegan. So in a way, I’ve introduced her to vegan cooking too. And I love it when people say, “This is really good. Are you sure it’s vegan?” Only been vegan for two months but really starting to get the hang of it. 🙂

  3. I have been vegan/vegetarian for almost 40 years. I was raised as a meat eater but because of a persistent infection was advised to switch my diet. I don’t miss miss meat, fish or poultry. In fact, love the variety. I don’t think my health has suffered although my B12 levels are low.

    1. That’s so great! Did switching diets help the infection?

      I don’t take B12 supplements but I drink soy milk which has B12 in it and I also eat a lot of marmite which also contains B12.

    2. You can also get B12 in nutritional yeast. Most health food shops stock it and we add it to things like mashed potato and scrambled tofu. It adds a subtle cheesy texture to things.

      Loved the post Rachel. As someone who has only been vegan for just over a year, it’s great reading this kind of thing. I’m also intrigued by the book, although I’m amassing a stack of vegan cookbooks!

  4. Not a vegan, but have been a non meat eater for 40+ years. Noticed a huge difference in attitudes over that time. We were looked on as a bit freaky when we started. Our decision was kicked off by some animal husbandry practises and amounts of drugs used. I have had a very active and mainly healthy life so far, so works for me as well.

    1. Oh wow! Another vegetarian cyclist. I now have an hypothesis that vegetarianism turns people into cyclists 🙂

      My decision to eat plants was also based on what I feel is the unethical treatment of animals in livestock farming.

  5. Your vegan spread looks delicious. I’ve recently celebrated just over a year of veganism. Went to a vegan lunch about a month ago where about 20 people contributed to the meal. Absolutely yummy. I need to pull my finger out and start expanding my repertoire. Your recipe book will come in very handy. 🙂

      1. If you’d like an example of lazy one-pot cooking then try wholegrain rice, wholewheat pasta and red lentils pre-soaked for 20-30 mins; bring to the boil and simmer, then add pre-cut cherry tomatoes and/or peppers. Quick and cheap vegan scran.

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