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My first week as a vegan: here’s what happened

By Irina | ForeverSunday

May 21, 2017

challenge, meal plan, Nutrition, vegan, vegan challenge

Me, vegan? This might come as a surprise to some of you…
I’ve been a happy vegetarian for almost two years now. I once thought that I needed meat, but I proved myself wrong while doing yoga teacher training. The last years I’ve been experimenting with food and reading about nutrition a lot and found myself being more and more attracted to going totally vegan. It’s a bit step to take, so I thought I’d challenge myself and eat vegan for a week, and take it from there. So it was kind of an experiment.

Why would I like to be vegan?

Two reasons.

One: I was eating cheese, butter, yoghurt and eggs regularly. Getting into yoga and meditation has made me much more sensitive to what’s going on in my body. And although I love the taste of my bread+butter+cheese I had to admit that every time I eat this it makes me feel terribly tired and sluggish afterward, like I need an instant snooze.

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Two: Before my challenge, I only ate organic eggs and dairy, but even then there is no way of knowing for sure that no animals are harmed. I think I have to own my own cow one day… Or actually a couple, as they are really social animals… ;-) Anyway a lot of bad things are happening in the dairy industry, and I don’t want to be part of it. Be the change you want to see…

Read here why you should eat organic as much as you can.

So what happened in my vegan week?

Day 1: Saturday

Off to the farmer’s market to stock up on veggies. I pass on the cheesecake that looks delicious and when I get back from the market I make some tea. Without thinking twice I add honey to my tea, and yeah, technically my challenge is already over 2 hours after starting… #epicfail

Real vegans don’t eat anything that is made of or by animals and honey is one of those things. Anyway, it’s just a slip, it won’t happen again… I’m not giving up now!

Day 2: Sunday

I have the time to cook lunch and I enjoy being in the kitchen. I made food for 2 days yesterday so for dinner it is convenient I just have to warm things up.

In the evening there is a sangria party. I manage to say no to the rice pudding that was there, freshly made…with milk. Luckily alcohol is vegan… And medronho is the new tequila.

Day 3: Monday

Woohooo pancakes for breakfast. I need something solid… I’ve wanted to experiment with vegan pancakes for a while now so I look up a few recipes on Pinterest and start mixing. Randomly, of course. By the second pancake I become even more adventurous and add some cinnamon to the mixture (if you know me a little bit you know I would add cinnamon to anything), and they taste even better!

vegan pancakes

For dinner I end up eating cereal. Spent all the energy I had on the vegan pancakes. Note to self: avoid alcohol during vegan challenge.

Day 4 Tuesday

Bad scheduling of meetings today and I don’t have time to prepare lunch so I eat just fruits and nuts for lunch. I notice that too many fruits in a day are not a good idea!

By dinnertime I’m starving and I make palak tofu, an Indian spinach dish that is usually made with paneer, an Indian type of cheese. It’s one of my favourite meals in the world; it has such a vibrant green colour and tastes amazing. But the vegan option is almost as good!

By the way, I have even more energy than usual all day (despite eating only fruits at lunch) and at night I sleep like a baby.

vegan palak paneer

Day 5 Wednesday

I feel like I’m compensating for eating too little yesterday. I’ve been superactive doing yoga and hiking every day, and I feel I need more food. Someone brings carob cake and I have 2 pieces (they were tiny, though ;-))

Also, by this time in the week I would have had at least one meal with eggs already, like an omelet with veggies, but of course I can’t. Not missing it really, it’s just one of my go-to meals when I am in a rush or hangry. That has now been replaced by avo on toast or tomato bruschetta or even rice cakes with humus – yes, that can be a meal…….

Day 6 Thursday

Miracle. I’m not even thinking about cheese. I’m very surprised I don’t miss it. Actually, no cravings for sugar either. I eat my 80% chocolate as usual, but not any more. I don’t get afternoon slumps and I feel that the coffee I’m having is kicking in way harder than usual. Might even have to tone it down a bit!

vegan smoothie bowl

Day 7 Friday

My go-to breakfast: porridge with almond milk. I’ve been eating this for years and it’s the only thing that keeps me going through the morning. I’m glad it’s not so hard to make it vegan.

I’m out for dinner today, and we go to a vegan restaurant. Didn’t know vegan pizza could be so good! And I would dare to say that the vegan ice cream I had was better than the regular one. Yum. What’s more, it’s the end of my vegan week and except for the honey on day 1, I did it!

Conclusions

  • I have to admit I feel amazing. Very tempted to continue with this but I’m not sure I can completely commit to it – yet! I guess I’ll just eat less and less of dairy; that’s how I eventually quit eating meat too.
  • It’s good I started this in the weekend so I had some time to prepare some meals beforehand for the next days because eating vegan does involve some thinking ahead and you need to have emergency food like fruits, nuts and cereal… ;-)
  • You really need a few healthy recipes that are ready in 5 minutes. Avocado on toast and tomato bruschetta were already part of my weekly menu but now they were the things I always had in the house in case of emergency. Peanut butter, tahini, rice cakes and bananas are the other things I will keep close…
  • I will continue eating honey. I don’t add sugar to my food so honey in my porridge or tea is something I am not quite ready to give up.
  • Too many fruits (I’m talking 5-6 pieces) in a day are not good for me. The sugar makes me crazy and the next day I am bloated all day. Not great.
  • I’m getting better at adding plant based protein to meals which is why I think I wasn’t having any cravings. Well, I didn’t eat more chocolate than usual…

And now I bet you are dying to know – what the flip did I eat all week? :-)

What did I eat in my vegan week?

Although I prepared myself for my vegan week and tried to balance my diet it is far from a perfect meal plan. I did some things I’m not proud of and can not recommend… ;-) But this is how I did it, honestly.

Day 1 – Saturday

Breakfast: 1 orange, coffee

Snack: 1 banana, coffee

Lunch: avocado on toast drizzled with hempseed oil and sunflower seeds

Snack: rice cakes with tahini

Dinner: sweet potato and carrot curry with rice

Evening: almond milk hot chocolate

Day 2 – Sunday

Breakfast: porridge with almond milk, apple, cinnamon, flaxseeds

Lunch: tomato bruschetta and lentil soup

Snack: some cubes of vegan 70% chocolate (ok it was half a bar ;-) )

Dinner: leftover sweet potato and carrot curry

Evening: sangria

Day 3 – Monday

Breakfast: vegan pancakes with banana and tahini, coffee

Lunch: leftover lentil soup and green salad with pear, avocado, pumpkin seeds

Dinner: cereal with almond milk and banana

Day 4 – Tuesday

Breakfast: toast with peanut butter and banana, coffee

Lunch: 2 peaches, a pear, almonds and some seeds, coffee

Dinner: palak tofu with rice

Evening: almond milk hot chocolate

Day 5 – Wednesday

Breakfast: porridge with almond milk, apple, cinnamon, flaxseeds, coffee

Lunch: leftover palak tofu with rice

Afternoon snack: orange, 2 pieces of vegan carob cake someone brought (they were small…)

Dinner: warm quinoa salad with bell pepper, carrot, chickpeas, raisins, fresh coriander and parsley

Day 6 – Thursday

Breakfast: banana, avocado and raw chocolate smoothie bowl with chia and pumpkin seeds

Lunch: tomato bruschetta and green salad, seeds

Snack: an orange and whatever that was left of that bar of chocolate I had on Sunday

Dinner: broccoli-lentil soup with bread and olive oil

Evening: almond hot chocolate

Day 7 – Friday

Breakfast: porridge with almond milk, banana, cinnamon, flaxseeds, coffee

Lunch: leftover broccoli-lentil soup with bread and olive oil

Snack: some almonds

Dinner: eating out – vegan spelt pizza with veggies and tofu and vanilla nice cream

About the author

Irina is a certified Ayurvedic coach and yoga teacher in the Hatha and Traditional Tantra traditions (500+hr RYT). Irina has been teaching and writing about Ayurveda and Yoga, hosting retreats and offering online classes, workshops and consultations since 2015, when she founded ForeverSunday Ayurveda and Yoga.

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