I have always been a little lazy when it comes to food. I frequently grab foods that are ready-made or easy to cook and snacks that are accessible, but often sugary or fatty. With the help of Veganuary, I have become more aware of my food choices and I am adapting my diet. I am eating foods that are healthier; I’m loading up on vegetables and salads, but without denying myself snacks, I’m just trying to pick healthier ones. By participating in Veganuary, as well as engaging in healthy living and exercise, I have already lost three pounds! So begins Veganuary – Week Two.
Veganuary – Week Two is already here. So what did week one teach me? That preparation is key, especially since I am considered a ‘constant craver’ according to Horizon’s, The Test: What’s the Right Diet For You? This means that I am hungry, most of the time and find it hard to lose weight. I will be the first to admit that I am not the healthiest person. My bio honestly reveals that my favourite food is Chipotle. It has an addictive lure, which highlights my lack of will power. So, my cupboards need to be equipped, but with the right kind of food. If I stock up on healthy food that is filling, I will snack less. I am guilty of scanning the fridge or the cupboard for inspiration, multiple times, hoping that my fairy godmother has added something new and exciting! I can’t grab the chocolate or the crisps that my boyfriend so kindly flaunts in front of me! I must make time to prepare my own food, which is fresh, so that I know exactly what the ingredients are.
Veganuary has been a little frustrating so far, due to the complete change in my diet, but I think that once the ball is rolling, it will become a lot easier with time. It has also been educational and exciting because I am more aware of the contents of the food I buy. I feel healthier, despite a few sugary snacks, such as ‘VegeBears Cola Koalas’ or quick meals, such as a baked potato with salad and beans, but I am getting there.
Day 8 – Today was the first day, since Christmas, that has not been hectic! I was able to eat my toast and fruit, feeling relaxed and not rushing about. I had a vegetable packed stir-fry for lunch, but cheated with dinner – still Vegan, but not homemade; I had, Amy’s Mac ‘n’ Chesse. I added some truffle oil and pepper to it and it was pretty good, despite the Sponge Bob Square Pants colour! Although I didn’t cook this from scratch, I needed a day for me, not spending time preparing, but rather getting outside for a walk in the park. After all, diet alone will never work; exercise is an essential ingredient!
Day 9 – My family came and visited me today, so we went out for lunch. I, like so many veganuary participants (whom I’m sure must feel this way), had a feeling of dread overwhelm me; not because my mother was visiting, but by the prospect of an interrogation and having to explain my diet to the table! Menus are a nightmare too! Most vegetarian options have cheese and are not prepared for a Vegan. Awkwardly, I had to explain my diet preference to my mother, who shrugged it off and stated, ‘Why can’t you just have cheese or something?’ Breathe. Fortunately, the server was extremely helpful and asked the kitchen to prepare me something. Surprised and grateful, my burning cheeks returned to their normal hue, as I was served a delicious, colourful and healthy meal including pomegranates, salad, pita and vegan falafels. Delicious. Thank you to the Scolt Head pub, for being thoughtful and flexible.
Day 10 – After all the effort, diligence and scrutiny of ingredients and menus, I slipped today, accidently. I had a baked potato, salad and beans, but my vegetarian aunt offered me a vege sausage, which I ate greedily. Upon inspection of the packaging, I realised that egg was on that list. Feeling annoyed that I had not checked prior to consumption, I berated myself. This just confirmed that you never know what is in something, until you read the label, although the recent horsemeat scandal shows that sometimes this may not be enough.
Day 11 – An essential shopping list is very important so that one can stock their cupboards ready to make any desired recipe. However, having stayed at my mum’s last night, I did not have access to my supply, so I kept my meals simple, easy and accessible. Avocado is awesome for this; I made an avocado salad and an avocado, tomato and garlic brushetta for dinner. Delicious!
Day 12 – I took to the kitchen with enthusiasm and, as I had a few vegetables that were turning, I made ratatouille; a simple and easy dish, packed with goodness and flavour. However, the quinoa proved to be the entertainment! The package declared that they needed to be rinsed, but I discovered, too late, that my sieve’s holes were too big. This pesky little grain spread across my kitchen floor like it was trying to escape. Despite sweeping and hoovering, I think I’ll be finding these little grains for weeks! However, with half the pack left, I had plenty and made some delicious quinoa that complemented the ratatouille. A healthy and tasty dinner that Gwyneth Paltrow would be proud of!
Quinoa is especially high in protein, great for vegans, as this is the question most commonly asked, ‘Where do you get your protein from?’ Most comes from animal products.
Day 13 – Today was a busy day, so I used my left-over ratatouille and quinoa and put it in a corn wrap with rocket. I headed to Whole Foods again, but this time I think the whole of Veganuary had raided the shelves as their stock was low. My favourite fast fix from last week, Rebel Kitchen’s Chocolate Mylk, was sold out, so I grabbed the carton next to it, a Coconut Milk mocha. I took a sip, thinking this tastes so good, but upon reading the ingredients, I saw that it contained milk. So, let’s be honest, it’s not coconut milk, it’s coconut and milk. This is hard!
Day 14 – I went to Roots and Bulbs in South Kensington today and tried one of their juices with kale in, which I would normally avoid, but this just might be the way to get me to eat kale! Their juices are pure and fresh and designed by their very own Sarah Cadji. They sell a variety of infused water too, with notes such as pear and ginger or a coffee one, designed to drink whilst working-out! I might just try that one! Before I left, I had a hot almond milk, vanilla and cocoa drink, as they make their almond milk, right there in the store; it would have been rude not to have had one.
I also made a Butternut Squash Risotto today! Check out my recipe here. With a little patience and a lot of mess in my kitchen, I had a filling meal, that even Ed enjoyed!
My Thoughts This Week…
What I’ve Learned So Far: I must read the labels before I consume!
How Do I feel: I feel healthier and more positive about leading a healthier life.
Favourite Meal: My Butternut Squash Risotto, of course! Warm, filling and full of flavour.
Favourite Snack: Avocado mashed into anything really!
Hardest Challenge: Defending or explaining my choices to my family, when eating out.
What I Miss Most: I still miss chocolate – a Crunchie bar in particular!
Aim For Next Week: Keep cooking!
Advice For Others: Do not shop when you’re hungry! You’ll come home with naughty snacks and fatty foods, as that is what most people crave when they are hungry. Instead, have a list and go after lunch!
*Health Advice: Consult with your doctor before beginning any new food and exercise program.