My Vegan Week

I have reached the end of my trial as a vegan. Do I feel like I’ve changed the world? No. Do I feel full of energy and vitality? No. Do I crave cheese? A bit. Being a vegan isn’t actually as hard as I thought it would be. Yes, it is restrictive but as long as you plan your meals it’s pretty easy to find a wealth of suitable foods to create tasty recipes with.

I’ve realised that veganism, like most radical life choices, can open up a whole load of debates that I didn’t know existed. There’s the whole honey debate, should vegans have honey or not….I didn’t go too far into it in fear that I would get confused but decided to have honey as Deliciously Ella does. If it’s good enough for her then it’s good enough for me. Veganism also largely divides opinion. I had work colleagues trying to tempt me off the wagon with offers to buy me burgers. The office also saw a few heated arguments about the pros and cons of a vegan diet. Thankfully I had support from a real life vegan colleague who helped me along the way.

I should probably mention that I was only fully vegan for 5 full days from Monday to Friday. On Saturday I ate a doughnut which contained milk powder and also forgot about my trial and had chips with burger sauce in the evening, which I presume was not vegan. As I had already blown it I had milk on Sunday in the form of three lattes (yes I missed coffee! – I only have it with milk) and I also had a fried egg with breakfast, but did have vegetarian sausages and resisted the bacon. I don’t think I did too badly.

I shall share with you my thoughts in the form of a good old pros and cons list.

Cons

  • I spent the entire week feeling incredibly tired and very grumpy. Even my cat knew to stay away from me as I was pretty vile to be around.
  • Bowel trouble. I will not go into detail but anyone who has tried a vegan diet no doubt knows what I mean.
  • I couldn’t just grab a snack or lunch from a normal shop and had to spend ages each day cooking all my meals from scratch which I am used to doing for much of the time, but doing it all the time was a bit of a chore. Everything I made also seemed to generate so much washing up too. So much.
  • I got bullied by work colleagues.
  • Tyler often ate a different meal to me and we didn’t eat together very much.

Pros

  • I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my meals as they have been full of flavour, texture and colour. If you think about it there are a lot more types of vegetables than there are meats so you can have more variety in a vegan diet if you put your mind to it.
  • There’s a great vegan community out there and by blogging and using social media to share my journey I have felt really well supported.
  • It was ridiculously easy to get my suggested allowance of 5 portions of fruit and veg a day and I mostly had around 10 servings.
  • Amazingly, I lost 5lbs during my week on a vegan diet which is an amazing amount considering I was never hungry and didn’t follow any calorie constrictions or portion control guidelines.
  • I admit I felt quite good about not eating any animal products and found myself getting a bit preachy towards the end of the week. It’s definitely made me think more about where my food comes from and how it gets to my plate.

So what did I eat?

Breakfast was usually either a smoothie, wholemeal toast with cashew butter and banana or, my favourite, coconut yogurt with fruit, homemade granola and coconut flakes. I had no trouble finding suitable breakfast foods and am in love with coconut yogurt despite the ridiculous price tag.

Lunch was either grain bowls or leftovers from dinner. I consumed a lot of quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato, roasted vegetables and humous during lunch. I made my own humous at the start of the week but my food processor broke in the process (great timing) so I had to resort to shop bought. I found a really nice red pepper version in the Co-Op which is really delicious.

Dinners varied quite a bit. Again, I had lots of sweet potatoes as I just love them, plus quite a lot of other vegetables, avocados and kidney beans. One of my favourite discoveries was a new way to cook kidney beans which I will share with you soon and I became rather creative with the spice rack. I made amazing pizzas by spreading a toasted pitta bread with some red pepper humous and topping it with vegetables. Not exactly Dominos but a girl’s gotta try.

I mostly snacked on fruit but did discover towards the end of the week that bourbon biscuits are suitable for vegans. I’m not yet sure if this is a good thing or not. I’m also going to be giving our a recipe for sweet and salty pecans soon as these are darn good.

PicMonkey Collage2.jpg

So, time for the all important question: will I be a full time vegan?

In a word, no. I have enjoyed my food, am made up with my weight loss and am starting to feel the benefits. However, I don’t like the idea of having to cut out so much from my diet and I hate having to eat a separate meal to my partner. So, I’ve decided to go 75% vegan and 25% non-vegan but to concentrate on eating less meat overall and to keep the focus on plant based products. That means I will mostly continue to eat a vegan diet but allow some flexibility for days when I either can’t be bothered of fancy a treat like a bar of milk chocolate. Some hardcore vegans might turn their noses up at my plan but I still feel like I’m doing good for making an effort to consume less animal products.

I shall continue to share some vegan recipes and ideas on my blog (but the occasional meaty treat will be there too) and will re-assess in the future if I want to go fully vegan full time. For now, burgers.

 

 

 

 

A Vegan Food Shop

So I decided to join in with the current trend and become a vegan. For a week. I love my food and the thought of having to cut stuff out of my diet filled me with fear, but I wanted to try a different kind of food lifestyle and figured it can’t be too hard if I only have to sacrifice some of my favourite things for just a week. Right?

‘Why bother?’, I hear you ask. Well, veganism is on the rise as more people learn of the damage caused to the planet by consuming animal products. There is also a belief that following a plant based diet is better for you health wise. So if we can help the planet, save a few animals and nourish our bodies in a better way surely it’s worth trying. I don’t think there is any scientific proof behind the vegan health claims but if people feel better for eating this way then good for them. I’m trialling it to see if I feel any different from cutting out all animal based products. I keep getting a mental image of a little lamb skipping away from the slaughter house saying ‘Thank you Tania!’ as it bounds into freedom.

The first thing I did in preparation was a food shop to stock up on the right kinds of foods. I’ve already got a huge stash of cooking ingredients such as grains and loads of spices and condiments so it was mostly fresh fruit and vegetables I needed as well as some tinned goods. Tyler, my partner, has decided to meet me halfway and will be eating some of the food I make along with fish and has a few emergency meals planned for if he just can’t take it. I thought about making the cat vegan too but she begged me not to, so she’s eating the rest of the ham that’s lingering in the fridge from last week. Our food shopping, including Tyler’s cheat additions (not pictured) came to just under £80.

20160605_142209.jpg

Here’s what I bought:

  • Mixed leaf salad
  • Baby plum tomatoes
  • Avocados
  • Jersey Royal potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Mixed peppers
  • Spring onions
  • Cucumber
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Courgettes
  • Mushrooms
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Pomegranate
  • Bananas
  • Medjool dates
  • Raw cacao powder
  • Pecan nuts
  • Maple syrup
  • Mixed herbs
  • Gherkins
  • Coconut milk (tinned)
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Butter beans (tinned)
  • Kidney beans (tinned)
  • Chickpeas (tinned)
  • Black beans
  • Beetroot juice
  • Coconut milk
  • Coconut yogurt
  • Bean burgers

So I’m all ready to tackle a week without meat or dairy. I’m OK to forgo meat for a while, I like meat but actually don’t have that much of it, but cheese. Oh God. Cheese. And to be super helpful, my food processor has just broken so I can’t make the raw brownies from Deliciously Ella which I think would have made this week so much easier! Never mind. I will let you know how I find my week as a vegan in a later blog post, stay tuned!