So week one was over and so far it had been disappointingly easy. The anxiety of the struggle was actually worse than the struggle itself which was… I guess a relief but I had really wanted to test myself. I was hoping week two would provide a few tougher challenges.
Day 8 started like every Sunday should; with brunch: Dreaming of my Summer holiday of last summer I made myself a homemade smoothie bowl made with frozen bananas, almond milk, and matcha powder all blitzed in my Nutri Bullet, and topped with blueberries, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and raisins. It was cool and refreshing and surprisingly filling. So much so that I didn’t eat again until dinner, which was a big bowl of tagliatelle shared with my pal Beckie, which we covered in aubergine pesto, mushrooms, onion and washed down with a bottle of vegan friendly white wine. For dessert we enjoyed one of my homemade vegan blueberry muffins.
Day 9 and it was back to work: I started the day with a bowl of Shazza’s homemade granola, coconut yoghurt & berry compote. My lunch was a challenge – I had an offer with my o2 Priority Moments for a Boots Meal Deal so I went to see what I could have. Turns out, not a lot. My only option was a very dry and uninspiring falaffel salad, with a snack of peanut and almond Propercorn & a superfood smoothie. All a bit… meh. Dinner was a bit more exciting, with more Linda McCartney veggie sausages with carrots, broccoli & cauliflower and a baked sweet potato, all with vegetable gravy, and for afters a bowl of frozen grapes.
Day 10 and it was starting to feel repetitive: a breakfast of my granola, yoghurt and compote combo, a lunch of porridge with peanut butter and my dinner, a homemade falaffel salad which was slightly more interesting than the previous day’s lunch but still nothing to write home (or blog) about. Falaffel is certainly tastier when served hot.
By day 11 the cravings were starting to take a hold, and surprisingly it was a craving for fish more than anything that was really occupying my food brain. Alas, I had a roasted baby potato and vegetable salad for my lunch, and before heading out for the evening I had a quick dinner of courgetti and spiralized sweet potato with the remaining aubergine pesto left over from the weekend (all very basic but reasonably tasty) + a side of 2 petite pain rolls with oils, and frozen grapes for dinner.
On day 12 I had the time to mix my breakfast up a bit with an almond milk, cashew nut butter, banana & blueberry smoothie which was really quite delicious, though not overly filling so I was quite hungry by the time lunch rolled around, which was two pita breads from M&S (the BEST pita bread you can get) and a tub of their Moroccan style onion topped hummus which is utterly delicious and my new favourite (£1.50 a tub). Dinner was a mis-match of cravings – I wanted egg fried rice but I settled for home made vegetable fried rice with a lot of soy sauce, with a crunchy apple for my pud.
Friday, day 13 and the day i’d been waiting for with this challenge – I was having two of my best mates round for dinner and was therefore going to be cooking up a storm! I started the day with a burst of energy from a soy green tea latte and a lunch once again of pita and Moroccan hummus (plus some carrot sticks for added texture). Bella & Milly arrived around 7pm, by which point the prep for my homemade – FROM SCRATCH – Red Thai Curry was well underway. Packed with squash, sweet potato, ginger, green peas, carrot and a LOT of chilli, I served it up with rice noodles, all cooked down in the coconut milk curry.
For dessert I had taken inspiration from Madeleine Shaw’s Vegan Chocolate Tarte which was to be served up with my homemade vegan matcha ice cream. I pre-made the tarte the night before and needless to say, it did not look as tasty as it was meant to… and as I had left it in the fridge for 24 hours rather than the recommended 1, it was a little of the solid side. In addition, making it with 85% dark chocolate meant it was quite bitter, but the ice-cream (made with frozen bananas, almond milk, agave syrup and matcha powder) added the much needed sweetness. All of this was washed down with 2 bottles of vegan rosé and a lot of gossip.
The final day and it was Saturday. I walked with Bella as she headed for the station and I (begrudgingly) headed for the gym. On route back, I picked up some snacks for myself and my little sister who was on her way for a sleepover (along with my dog Stanley) including some vegan friendly vegetable crisps. Once she arrived I made us a lunch of my homemade beetroot hummus (SO easy to make – chickpeas, beetroot, tahini, lemon juice, salt and pepper all in a mini blitzer) which we scooped up with our vegetable crisps. Yes, we ate the whole share bag.
After a shopping trip (during which I snacked on some dried pineapple) we returned home for a Stranger Things binge and we ate about a million gingerbread biscuits which had been baked by Emma – all vegan friendly and utterly delicious and started to ponder what to enjoy for dinner. Outside was freezing and we were feeling too lazy to head out for dinner, so it was Deliveroo to the rescue, and specifically Zizzi who offer an entire vegan menu which is incredibly convenient. I enjoyed a gorgeous vegan pizza, topped with vegan cheese made from coconut oil, artichokes, caramelised onion and butternut squash. While the “cheese” was so obviously not cheese, it was quite creamy and brought the toppings together well. I would have probably ordered this again, had I not seen what Emma ordered which was a pulled pork pizza topped with crispy pork crackling! My entire mouth filled with saliva and I made a mental note to have the leftovers for my non-vegan breakfast the next day!
For my final vegan dish of the experiment, Emma and I armed ourselves with a spoon each and tucked into the pint tub of The Coconut Collaborative Vanilla Coconut Frozen Yoghurt! It was icy, like a sorbet, but creamy like a yoghurt. Sweet but not sickly, we ate the entire tub and didn’t feel an ounce of guilt. You certainly wouldn’t have that at the end of a tub of Ben & Jerry’s.
I went to bed that night dreaming of meat, fish, eggs and buttery pastries… impressed and extremely smug that I had actually made it through my 2 weeks of veganism!