The #WhatVegansEat Challenge: Part Two
So dear people. I have completed the #WhatVegansEat challenge. And I have to say, it was just that. A bloody challenge!!!
Health wise, I don’t feel much different. I’ve probably lost a couple of pounds, but I still have the same amount of energy as I did before, and I don’t feel I’ve lost out on anything nutritionally. I did end up spending significantly less on food than I normally do, as cheese and meat are both expensive products.
However, part of this is because I am on a very time-consuming course at drama school. I rarely have time to cook for myself, so often I just do what is quickest. Sometimes, if I couldn’t find a quick vegan option, I would just skip meals, which is not good.
Anyhow, here is how I got on.
- Breakfast: Bran flakes and Soya milk
- Lunch: Peanut butter sandwich
- Dinner: Chilli, Corn tortillas, Rice, Homemade guacamole (see the recipe at the end of this article)
- Snacks: Coke, Popcorn, Cashew nuts
Soya milk is surprisingly tasty and, if you don’t like this variety, there are loads of nut milks on the market at the moment such as Almond and Hazelnut. Alpro came to be my favorite brand. I was presently surprised to find that peanut butter is in fact vegan, and when I found that I couldn’t get vegan guacamole in the supermarket, I found it relatively easy to make my own.
- Breakfast: Nothing (Tip: Eat breakfast)
- Lunch: Leftover chilli
- Dinner: Mushroom bhaji, Plain rice, Poppadom, Mango chutney
- Snacks: Pringles, Dry toast, Coke
This Indian was the first challenge eating out. It was a local curry house, and they were very friendly and patient when I was asking what on the menu was vegan. Never be afraid to ask. According to the coca cola website, the drink is vegan! Huzzah!
- Breakfast: Dry toast
- Lunch: 2 Small peanut butter sandwiches, soya yoghurt
- Dinner: Fajitas, Beans, Rice, Roast vegetables, Guacamole, Salsa
Again I got to eat out. Obviously no sour cream at this Mexican meal, but the veggie fajita was really nice and their Guacamole was dairy free! Result!
- Breakfast: Black coffee and Kettle chips (I know)
- Lunch: Vegetable soup, Bread, Grapes, Alpro chocolate pudding
- Dinner: Vegetarian sausages, Mashed potatoes, Broccoli, Parsnips, Red wine
I had to google the brand of red wine to make sure it was vegan. I learnt that some wines contain isinglass (fish bladders) or gelatine. This one used egg as a stabilizer but that is filtered out in the making process. I suppose it depends on how strict you are, but I had some. It was a real pain to not be able to just drink a glass of wine!
Easter Bank Holiday
This was an absolute write off. I went to see my family, and they took me for pub lunches, cooked me meals and kept forgetting, and then I went the whole hog and had Easter eggs and hot-crossed buns. I’d like to profusely apologise.
Lentil soup and toast. I felt so sick after the weekend that I couldn’t stomach anything. I hadn’t noticed the benefits of being vegan yet, so I was really shocked!
- Breakfast: Bran flakes, soya milk, Alpro chocolate pudding
- Lunch: Peanut butter sandwich
- Dinner: Lentil soup and toast
- Snacks: Coke
Alpro (my new best bud) do these lovely little yoghurt pots in vanilla and chocolate. The best thing is that they don’t need keeping in the fridge, so I could keep them in my locker and have one whenever I was hungry!
- Breakfast: Dry toast
- Lunch: Baked potato with beans
- Dinner: Veggie kebab with salad
I learned today the wonder of a veggie kebab. It’s dead simple. It’s basically roasted vegetables wrapped in a tortilla or a pitta with a squeeze of lemon juice. My new favourite thing. It’s a doddle to make and proper healthy!
- Breakfast: Toast with jam
- Lunch: Leftover kebab
- Dinner: Five Guys veggie sandwich
I don’t know if the Five Guys counts, but the veggie sandwich is essentially some fried veg in a bap, which tastes surprisingly good. It meant that my friends didn’t have to change where they were going to eat for me.
(For those of you that don’t know, Five Guys is the greasiest, most delicious burger diner in the entire world)
- Breakfast: Nope
- Lunch: Popcorn and rice cakes (I didn’t have much time!)
- Dinner: Spaghetti hoops and crumpets
Spaghetti hoops and crumpets are two of my favourite comfort foods, so to discover that both are vegan was just the most amazing moment of my life!
- Breakfast: Bran flakes and soy milk
- Lunch: Chips…. oops and coke
- Dinner: Fell asleep long before I had dinner!
I’m starting to find it increasingly difficult to find quick options for vegan food and it’s making me a little tired. It’s making me realise just how much I rely on convenience food and that’s something that probably needs to change, vegan or not.
- Breakfast: Crumpets with pure (a vegan alternative to butter)
- Lunch: A big salad…and I mean huge!
- Dinner: Homemade leek and potato soup (see recipe at the end of this article)
- Snacks: OREOS!!!
Google tells me that Oreos are vegan! Praise Oreos!!!
- Breakfast: (Note to self, start eating breakfast)
- Lunch: Peanut butter sandwiches, soya yoghurt
- Dinner: Baked potato with beans
I have found a new love for the humble baked potato. So simple and filling and warm…mmm….
- Breakfast: Corn flakes with soya milk
- Lunch: Baked potato…again
- Dinner: Avocado and green bean salad without dressing
We went to Nandos for dinner tonight and it was very difficult to find out (online or in store) whether they had anything vegan. I figured that this salad without dressing was the safest option.
- Breakfast: Toast with jam
- Lunch: Spaghetti hoops
- Dinner: Chilli with corn tortillas
It is done!!!!
Things I learned:
- I rely way too much on convenience food and I’m pretty sure that it can’t be that healthy!
- The weekend where I ate a lot of dairy and made myself sick has played on me a little bit. I wonder if it would be better to eat slightly more vegan food than I currently do.
- I’ve realized how much more expensive meaty options are than vegetarian ones. (Just take a quick look next time you have a menu in front of you. It’s a stark difference.)
- Veganism is not impossible.
The main thing that I’ve realized is that it’s pretty hard to fit it in to a busy lifestyle if you’re not used to it. Meals take a lot of thought and sometimes I don’t have that time. I intend to do the challenge again when the term finishes and I have more time to prepare meals, just to see the difference.
Quick Bean Chilli and Guacamole
Grab 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, 1 tin of refried beans (you’ll find these with the Mexican things like tortillas and taco shells), and 1 pre-prepared pack of Pui lentils. I like the merchant gourmet brand because these are ready to eat hot or cold, don’t need keeping in the fridge, and come in a variety of flavours.
Chuck these ingredients in a saucepan on a medium heat, and stir. Allow to heat through until it starts to simmer.
Grab an avocado, a lime, some coriander and some small tomatoes. Chop the avocado and scoop the green stuff into a bowl. Mash it up until it makes a smooth paste. Chop the tomatoes and coriander and chuck it in with juice from the lime. Stir it all up and you have some lush guacamole.
By this time the Chilli should be nice and hot. Serve both things with Mexican trimmings of your choice. I like corn tortillas and brown rice.
If you have a little more time, you could chuck some veg into your chilli, but this version is quick and easy and leaves you with only one pot to clean.
Leek and Potato Soup
Chop up an onion and a few leeks. Bring a large saucepan to a medium heat and add some olive oil. Add the veg (including any extras you might want – carrots are good) and let them soften. Add some boiling water, a couple of vegetable stock cubes and some diced potatoes to the saucepan. I added a tablespoon of Marmite at this point, it was great. Bring it to the boil and then cool it down until it simmers. Simmer until the potatoes are soft and fully cooked (I may have fished some out to check at this point).
Bring the soup off the heat and season. If you don’t like your soup chunky, you can blitz it with a stick blender.
Eat with some nice bread or crackers.
What did you think? Tweet @EatMoreCakeUK and let us know if you’re feeling a little vegan!