Sandwiches which could have been vegan had been sabotaged with butter or lashings of mayonnaise.
Finally I saw a hand-painted store in a sidestreet with a board announcing 'organic cafe' and so it was that my first vegan meal came from Pete's Hemp Store.
And then there was tofu: this is a form of soya and a critical staple of veganism.
It comes in many formats, most of which are disgustingly sloppy, but the smoked and herbed variety is much sturdier and tastes good.
But the effect on his health was simply astonishing One day I was bemoaning to a female friend that I felt a bit run down and in need of a change of eating habits, while unhelpfully refusing to be drawn into any discussions on faddy diets that she proposed. Maybe I could think of it as an ethical stand rather than a diet, I thought. "No, maybe you aren't as strong willed as Gwyneth," she replied. Scroll down for more My decision to go vegan elicited a variety of responses, but not one was enthusiastic.
I bought a couple of the remaining books and noted that they shared shelf space with literature on nudist beaches.
There are vegan wines but I didn't manage to track any down; at the end of my month I got the good news that Bacardi Breezers were also vegan. It had become apparent that in saying goodbye to old friends I needed to make new ones, so I went to Planet Organic food emporium in London and scoured the labels for acceptable ingredients.
I bought things I had never tried before - linseed, pumpkin and furikake seeds, Japanese seaweed, samphire, biorashers (a distant and I suspect disowned relative of bacon), some demonically titled 'Seitan' slices, Cheatin' mince and vegan sausages, yacob root, miso, tempeh, Cheezly (fake cheese) and nuts to boost the protein levels, even a vegan haggis.
Soya has been of some concern recently due to its phytoestrogens (aka feminising plant qualities) but frankly I was too hungry to care.
I brought enough bell peppers butternut sqaush, rocket and beetroot, fennel and red peppers and enough sprouting stuff to leave a carnivore begging for mercy.