So last week I embarked on the challenge of going Vegan. My last blog post details a little more as to why I wanted to give this a try and what encouraged me to do so. On Sunday last week, I’d done my research and written my shopping list. I headed to the local supermarket and stocked up the cupboards with lots of fruit, veg, beans and grains.
Day 1 – Monday
Most Monday’s I am in Brighton for a number of Project Meetings with one of my current clients, so always have to make sure my meals/snacks are prepared the night before to take with me. In the morning I had my usual coffee and switched the dairy for almond milk. The colour of the coffee was much darker and although the taste was different I think it could be something I got used to in time. Breakfast was oats with almond milk, cacao powder and blueberries. I was hesitant about not adding protein powder like normal but the taste was sweet enough and filled me up most of the morning.
Lunch on the go between meetings was a spinach, chickpea and avocado salad. I didn’t miss the usual chicken in this meal although I think for other salads I could research some vegan dressings to add some more flavour. I snacked on fruit on my journey home and didn’t think much about my meals as they were pre-packed and I had no other option with me.
On Monday’s as I’m working away and often don’t get home till around 8pm (darn Southern trains) Barry usually cooks us dinner and has it waiting on the table for when I’m home (lucky me). Barry is now in his third week of working away and this luxury is no longer available. I came home to an empty flat and the prospect of having to cook dinner for one! I had found a bean chilli con carne recipe and was interested in what the dish would turn out like.
It was so easy to make and took around half hour. The final result is below, voila…
It was super tasty and I had to stop myself from getting a second portion. Despite this I did miss the heartiness of the meat that chilli con carne usually has. I’d be interested to try a non-meat substitute to see if this would bridge the gap for this meal?
Day 2 – Tuesday
Back in the office today for the hottest day of the year! Morning breakfast was the same as yesterday, oats, cacao powder and blueberries. When you’re in a rush in the morning to get to work, breakfast isn’t something I always can spend a lot of time making. That’s why I love the weekends so much, more time to prepare and enjoy breakfast without having to rush off anywhere. I tried coconut milk with my coffee this morning which I enjoyed more than yesterday’s almond milk. I remembered to take the rest of the carton into work with me so that I could also enjoy a coffee or two throughout the day. Black coffee is NOT my thing!
Lunch was left over dinner and I even managed to sit outside for half hour in the sunshine.
Dinner was a peanut stir fry with courgette noodles. Again despite the meal being tasty, I still felt it was lacking something to bulk out the meal.
Day 3 – Wednesday
Another day in Brighton which was slightly unplanned and a 5am alarm clock – ouch. For a change up at lunch I had a pitta filled with chickpeas and salad. After a very busy and full on day, we ended up back at the train station for the journey home. The early start had meant my metabolism was at an all-time high and needed some snacks to get me through the travel back to Milton Keynes.
I headed into the M&S in the train station to find some fruit and all of their fridges were broken and trying to clear up from all of the mess and unrefrigerated stock.
There was a WHSmith’s next door and I was sceptical as to what I could find to eat. I did not want to be ‘that person’ who was checking the back of packaging to count calories. I purely was trying to find something with a Vegan stamp approval. Success! I managed to pick up these spiced chickpea puffs and a nakd bar. A great substitute to the crisps and chocolate snacks. A definite recommendation.
Dinner was a bed of kale with an avocado, tomato and sweetcorn salad. I threw in some of the leftover veggies from last night’s meal to enhance the volume of the meal.
Today I was really missing the variety in food and felt a little restricted to what I could have without buying a tonne of different ingredients.
Day 4 – Thursday
After porridge for the last three days I wanted something different Thursday morning. I used my trusty Nutribullet and blended a banana, strawberries, blueberries, peanut butter and oats.
The amount of fibre was starting to play havoc with my stomach and today had felt a little bloated. The amount of vegetables and fruit was apparent and I checked a few articles and studies online to see if this was usual. I’m used to a higher protein intake as well so I think my body was trying to adjust.
Another stir fry type dish this evening, but I made my own avocado pesto to mix in with the courgetti. I blended a frozen banana, ice and some cacao powder to make my own Vegan ice cream. This was great for dessert and quite light!
Day 5 – Friday (The Final Day)
This evening I was heading out for an Engagement Party so picked up a mushroom stir fry pack from Morrisons and added paprika and soy sauce for additional flavour. I hadn’t given much thought to this meal and therefore wasn’t the best of the week.
I’d found a Vegan prosecco in Morrisons so had a glass before I headed out. I’d read some alcohol isn’t Vegan friendly and was conscious about what drinks I was ordering. As soon as midnight struck the 5 days was up and I could order my drinks without having to contemplate if they were Vegan or not.
All in all I’m proud that I was able to stick to the 5 days experimenting with a Vegan diet. I’m sure 5 days won’t be enough to see any benefits to my body and it did not allow enough time to adjust. I try to incorporate a lot of fruit and veg in my diet anyway so didn’t see much difference here either.
I found the week pretty easy to follow, but I had prepared all my meals myself and never ate out. I have looked at a number of restaurant menus and there’s a lack of Vegan friendly restaurants in and around Milton Keynes at the moment. If I’m being honest, following a Vegan diet made me more conscious of what I was eating and also made me feel like I was restricting myself in some ways. In my current diet I try to eat as balanced as possible (although I must admit since being injured and back off of holiday, means I’ve been lacking consistency recently) but I never feel restricted on what I eat. If I choose not to eat something, it’s because of my own personal choice and not because I’m following a Vegan, low carb or 5:2 diet.
The one thing I did miss most was meat. The main reason wasn’t the flavour, but the variety, flexibility and the additional volume it gives to my meals. Over the weekend I also had a lot of social events to attend with it being Barry’s birthday and I think I would have had to say no to a lot of things we were invited to if I had carried this on? That’s not something I am in favour of at all.
It sounds like I have quite a negative attitude to this, but I feel 5 days may have not been enough to fully test this out. I would encourage others to try the Vegan lifestyle to see how you get on, perhaps to include more plant based foods in your diet, however, unfortunately it just isn’t for me.
Some of the meals I’ve been able to enjoy since, mmmm… BBQ!