You’d be forgiven for thinking that I cowardly deserted the start of vegan month, or maybe just went into denial that I had accepted this challenge, in the first place.
Fear not! I just got the flu.
Then daughter 1 got the flu and then daughter 2 got a tummy bug, then… Are you getting the picture here?
I joke not with my longstanding tagline “An ordinary girl on an extraordinary (and often bumpy) journey”.
So I am here, albeit a few days late and I have heaps I want to share with you.
Vegan week one began and I quite honestly didn’t know what to expect.
Could I honestly enjoy a plant based diet? Let alone survive healthily?
It was something I was quite nervous and worried about, mainly because vegetarian month had exposed my disorganised flaws, my dislike for prepping food and my distorted beliefs that “tomorrow I will start being on the ball”. I never found the ball, let alone roll the damn thing!
So entering the week in trepidation, I was immediately struck by how hideous it is, looking for cupboard staples which were vegan friendly. Sure, I could find plenty of vegetarian approved foods, but when I read the ingredients they appeared to be vegan friendly, but didn’t actually state it.
Jeez this was stressful. Did this mean there was something in there, I had not realised did not constitute suitable for vegans? Or is it just not common place to stamp it as an “ok product”.
I have been watching Sex & the City for the first time ever with a girlfriend of mine. We have a marathon night every Monday and I had to miss this weeks because I was poorly, totally gutted as even though I consider myself a tomboy – I am hooked.
I love the way Carrie talks about her articles and for several days I dreamed I was The Sisterhood version of her. Minus the pretty dresses and the meals and the men and.. Well anyway, a girl can daydream?
Back To The Topic: My Vegan Diet
The first day I browsed supermarkets, buying anything and everything that was vegan friendly and that my sisters, was not much.
It rapidly dawned on me that if you want to be a great veganista – you have got to be ready to go whole and by that I mean preparing everything from scratch with whole ingredients.
If you don’t, you’ll find your entire free time consumed, with market research and waving good bye to your life savings that will be spent on niche sauces and dare I say it coconut yoghurt that costs £2 for a small tub and contains a staggering 25 grams of fat! That is over a third of my fat intake for a single day, in 3 mouthfuls of dairy free yoghurt. The next option is soya yoghurt and there lay my next issue.
The purpose of this blog is to give an insight into everyday life and so I don’t want to start delving into the science here, which can happen somewhere else. Last week I had a comment in the Facebook group on a picture of my scrambled tofu and baked beans brekkie, served with sough dough toast. I for one was pretty impressed by my creation, but the comment was that, the tofu was bad for me and what ensued, was quite a debate.
Tofu in moderation is not bad for you and is a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians alike and so it was a non-issue. However I did say moderation and it feels like after one week of being vegan, soya is everywhere.
I mean absolutely everywhere.
Soya spread, soya cheese, soya yogurt, soya milk, soya sauces – At the end of this week, I am all soya’d out!
This most definitely bothers me that so many vegan products are soya based and if they aren’t soya based then they are coconut based and load with fat that just doesn’t fit my macros or comfort level (my gallbladder will start screaming at me).
Next up is the varying palatability of these products. I tried one cream cheese spread and I started chuckling to myself, it was awesome and I really mean that. Even if I return to being non vegan I would by it. You can check it out here and guess what soya free – http://www.violife.gr/#!violife-creamy/cpxp
I quickly snatched up everything else I could find from this company and they products, whilst not as wow as the cream cheese, did not disappoint.
Unfortunately for cocky old me, I was then brought crashing down to earth with a few other brands that left me gargling salt water, trying to get the hideous taste and residue out of my mouth.
Am I going to spend the next 4 weeks eating Violife Cream Cheese??
I found some pasta that I thought I could eat and got excited, only to read up about fatty acids that could potentially come from animals. Ok this is tricky business, read here –http://www.veggieglobal.com/nutrition/non-vegetarian-food-additives-no-e.htm
I then continued to info dump myself with what vitamins I needed to worry about and even though I had already begun a course of good quality multivitamins, I still wanted to make sure I was getting the best out of my food. Getting enough iron was one important thing. Getting enough vitamin C, at the same time to ensure iron absorption, was an added worry and I began to realise how little I know –http://www.veggieglobal.com/nutrition/notalot.htm
The panic quickly passed as I found that many normal dried types of pasta were fine and I settled into a routine. I even created some dishes that would become a family favourite even for a non-vegan lifestyle.
Oat bran remains my staple brekkie and I just switched to almond milk, added chia seeds and fresh fruits, flaxseeds and when I wanted a protein boost, added Sun Warrior Protein powder.
I did seek comfort on more than one occasion, in this little beauty of a recipe I made up –
Vegan Peanut Butter & Chocolate Pudding Recipe
50g Oat bran
25g Dark chocolate (smashed into pieces)
1 tbsp. Peanut Butter
200ml Almond Milk
Place oat bran and milk in a microwavable dish and heat for 2 minutes remove and stir then add the nut butter. Heat for another minute and then remove and add the chocolate. Only stir a few times and then leave to stand for 5 minutes. This will keep some of the chocolate in melted pockets.
Check back for week two of my Veganista attempts!
In the meantime join me in our Facebook community www.facebook.com/groups/sfnsisterhood