As I mentioned previously, during week two of the vegan pledge I had begun to experience some symptoms such as headaches and the breakout of a rash across my face and neck. I put these down to a detox reaction due to the huge change in diet. Thankfully moving into week three these symptoms had completely cleared up and I was keen to continue on with the pledge!
Vegan Food Diary: Week Three
Vegan Meals: Breakfast:
My breakfasts this week mostly continued in a similar vein, being comprised of fresh fruit, oats and smoothies. However I did also try my first homemade vegan fry up!
I used Heinz baked beans, a left over baked potato, sautéed spinach and mushroom, grilled tomato and Dee’s Wholefoods traditional vegan sausages. These are so good! I picked them up at Tesco. Compared to most other vegan sausages on the market they are free of artificial additives and are also gluten, soy and GMO free. They’re also a bit pricier but they have a good use-by date and can also be frozen. I tried these for the first time long before I started the pledge and I’ve tended to keep a box in the freezer for when I need a quick meal in a pinch. Highly recommended! I grilled the ones pictured above but I do think they taste a bit nicer fried!
Vegan Meals: Lunch
I tried a new recipe and used polenta for the first time to make this polenta and veggie bake along with a cashew and black bean burger. I topped this with some amazing siracha Vegenaise (not pictured). If you haven’t tried Vegenaise you’re missing out! Its even better than the real thing! I’ve found it in a few health food shops and some specialist vegan shops too.
I was out and about a lot this week and I mostly ate out for lunches so I will be sharing them in my post on eating out as a Vegan! ??
Vegan Meals: Dinner
I made a delicious sweet potato and peanut butter curry this week. Definitely one of my new favourite recipes! I served it with red and black quinoa and some coriander. Again I’ve been noticing how truly filling these whole food vegan meals are! So very full of flavour too!
I made another pizza dinner with a wholemeal wrap from M&S and topped with spinach, kale, cherry tomato, basil and vegan cheese. My favourite is definitely the Violife vegan mozzarella style cheese as it melts so well on pizza. This is such a quick and easy meal to make and total comfort food!
I also made an Indian Jalfrezi with tofu, peas, spinach and bok choi. Served with brown rice.
At the end of week three I am starting to feel like I’m really getting the hang of this whole vegan thing! Its definitely getting easier as time goes by.
My next post will detail my final week on the pledge leading me to a full 30 days on a vegan diet. If you’d like to take the thirty day vegan pledge click here. You’ll get daily emails to keep you motivated and help you along the way.
Moving into week two of the pledge marked the longest consecutive time I’ve ever spent eating a vegan diet. I began eating vegan about a week before I signed up for the pledge. Up until now I’ve only only ever lasted about a week or so on a vegan diet before slipping up somehow or going out to eat and making a non-vegan choice. Each of those “failures” or slip ups have helped me get to where I am now however. Transitioning is a process.
Week two also saw the beginning of symptoms I felt were associated with some sort of detox response to this new way of eating. More on that later!
Vegan Food Diary Week Two
This week I tried to get in a bit more fresh fruit in the mornings. I usually wouldn’t eat much fruit other than berries and banana, so it was nice to add in some more variety with melon, cherries, kiwi, grapes, peach, plum and pear. All the colours of the rainbow! Most mornings started with some sort of fruit salad this week. The weather was so good, making it really easy to start the day with lots of fresh fruit.
Oats also remained a staple this week. The oats shown below are from the Merry Mill and I’ve added chia, flax, raspberries, banana and peanut butter. This is such a filling breakfast. Being vegan I haven’t worried much about portion size but rather I’m making sure to eat plenty to keep me satiated. Staying full on this vegan diet has been incredibly easy. I’ve often completely overestimated my portion sizes and then struggled to finish them!
I ate lots of salads this week for lunch. The good weather seems to make one more inclined towards salads! Below I had some homemade omega superbread with a fresh salad, Veganaise and some Indian lentil dahl – find my Indian dahl recipe here.
Below you can see the big pot of Indian dahl that I made this week – its very versatile and easy to make. I had it for dinner with brown rice and then saved leftovers for lunch. I’ve posted the recipe on the blog already. Its one I’ve made time and time again over the last few years.
Vegan avocado bruschetta was another lunch time staple this week. Lots of garlic, shallot, balsamic, olive oil and black pepper on chopped avocado and tomato. This was so tasty and easy to throw together that I made it a few times this week.
Dining al fresco was inevitable this week with the gorgeous weather. This vegan “paella” dish was so good with a glass of vegan white wine. A really tasty dinner. Check out barnivore.com to see if your alcohol is vegan. (Spoiler – most spirits are vegan but wine is more complicated as they often use fish bladder, egg or milk protein in the filtration process).
Finally, I had a go at making a vegan pizza this week using some whole grain wraps I picked up in Marks and Spencer. I topped the wrap with tomato puree, dairy free pesto, oregano, basil, Vio Life vegan mozzarella, sweetcorn, mushroom, onion, spinach and fresh basil. This was made in minutes and just as good as the real thing!
Week Two: A Vegan Adjustment
By the beginning of my second week on the pledge I had broken out in a rash of little white bumps all over my face and neck. This happened to me once before about two years ago when I first started introducing lots of fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha into my diet. I’m pretty sure this rash signifies some sort of detox reaction. Thankfully it has completely cleared up and my skin is actually better than ever now.
I also experienced quite a few headaches this week. Again the exact same thing happened two years ago with the fermented foods. These headaches can likely be attributed to my significant change in diet having now been on a fully vegan diet about three weeks overall. I started eating vegan about a week before I took the 30 day pledge. Of course it is to be expected that my body will take a little while to adjust.
I’m going to do a separate post on how I got on with eating out as a vegan having tried a few new places this week. Stay tuned for that.
Despite skin flare ups and headaches in week two I have really been enjoying the food I’m eating as I move forward towards the second half of my vegan pledge. Week three of my thirty day vegan pledge is coming soon!
Upon deciding to make the commitment to go vegan for thirty days, I knew I needed to stock up on some plant-based staples. Most of what I’ve included in this vegan grocery shop was purchased in Sainsbury’s. I’ll talk you through what I picked up and how I intend to use it!
Vegan Grocery Shop Essentials
Possibly the most obvious thing to get when doing a vegan grocery shop! I stocked up on lots of vegetables for the week including carrots, onions, leeks, parsnip and turnip for a vegan chowder I was planning to make. Spinach for salads and smoothies. Mushrooms for pastas, soups and my portobello pizzas. Beetroot, spring onion and broccoli for salads. Potato and sweet potato for mash and potato salad. Of course lots of the basics like carrot and onion would be used in a number of recipes over the course of the week.
I don’t tend to eat tonnes of fruit. I stocked up on frozen berries (not pictured) including blackberries, blueberries and raspberries, as well as a mixed summer berry frozen selection. I usually use these on top of porridge or chia pudding and in smoothies. Bananas are so nice in smoothies or with nut butter on toast as a quick and satisfying snack. I also got up a box of cherries to snack on. Avocado will be used in salads and to make guacamole ??. Lemons and limes with be used for gin and tonic flavouring various salsas, salad dressings and recipes. I picked up the bramley apples to make my own apple sauce as it is often used as a substitute in healthier vegan baking. I’ll freeze the sauce in one-cup portions.
I bought a selection of herbs for cooking with. Fresh herbs make such a difference to the flavour of any dish. My most used are probably basil and corriander. I also picked up samphire for the chowder I was making, parsley, thyme, tarragon and chives. I have a selection of dried herbs and spices too which are also brilliant for adding flavour.
4. Beans and Lentils
Of course no vegan shopping list would be complete without a selection of beans and lentils. Buying them dry and in bulk from the likes of an Asian supermarket is by far the cheapest but for now I just picked up a variety of types. I got some dried chickpeas and black beans also (not pictured) that I will soak, cook and freeze in one can equivalent portions.
5. Nuts and Seeds
Another plant-based staple. I will use these in baking, salads and various other recipes. Seseme seeds are high in calcium so are good to include on a vegan diet. I also have a bag of brazil nuts (not pictured) which are high in selenium – just two brazil nuts a day will help you reach your recommended daily allowance of selenium. Also not pictured are my chia seeds and linseed/flax which I use daily in either smoothies, porridge or chia pudding. I love them!
I stocked up on quinoa, brown basmati, buckwheat and polenta. I also got some brown rice pasta and want to get some quinoa and buckwheat pasta from the health food shop. I love the Ogran wholegrain buckwheat pasta. I will use quinoa to make tabouleh style dishes as well as using it as a side for various dishes. Rice will also serve as a side for the likes of curries and dahl.
Quinoa and buckwheat can also be used as a substitute for porridge to change things up a bit. I’ve never used polenta before! But I’ve noticed it in a few vegan recipes so I picked up a bag to give it a go. I’ve also got some porridge oats from The Merry Mill which I got at Bloom this year. I soak them the night before and they are the best oats I’ve ever had! So porridge will also be on the menu.
Tofu is fairly new to me. I’ve never really used it before. I picked up a selection when doing my vegan grocery shop. I thought I’d try out a few types over the next thirty days. Tofu is high in plant-based protein so will help me to increase my protein intake on this diet. Its very inexpensive, particularly compared to meat! But can be used in a similar way in recipes.
8. Vegan Milk Substitutes
I have been using unsweetened almond milk for quite some time. The Aldi and Tesco versions are great because they are so much cheaper. I decided to branch out and try a variety of different vegan milk substitutes over the next thirty days as there are so many types to choose from now. I go through plenty of these milk substitutes making smoothies, porridge and chia pudding as well as using them in tea.
9. Vegan Cheese !!!
Vegan cheese has become so much more readily available. Sainsbury’s have their own Free From range of cheese which is completely vegan. I picked up a selection as shown below. They also have a plain cream cheese, a Wensleydale and cranberry vegan cheese and a caramelised onion vegan cheddar. I haven’t tried them yet but perhaps I will next time.
10. Pantry Essentials and Flavourful Additions
I picked up vinegars, oils, tinned tomato, tomato purée, passata, coconut cream, vegan stock and, of course, hot sauce ?. These will be used in a wide variety of recipes.
I also got some jars of chillies, capers and roasted red peppers. I love olives so I picked up some garlic stuffed ones as well as some sun soaked tomatoes to throw into salads and pasta dishes. The Good 4U lentil sprout mix is really high in protein and I’ve used them before in salads. I also got some fresh chillies to use in various recipes. I couldn’t resist a jar of cashew butter too!
I was delighted to come across this vegan pesto too! So handy for pasta and pizza dishes.
I picked up some mustard for making salad dressings. Ketchup and a few herbs and spices that I had run out of. I already have a fairly well stocked spice/herb rack so cumin and kaffir lime leaves were the only two I was out of this week.
I got some oat cakes for snacking. I love topping them with hummus or the aforementioned vegan cream cheese ?
And of course no vegan grocery shop would be complete without tea!
These are the basics of my shop this week. I stocked up on a lot of pantry staples so I shouldn’t need to repurchase them over the next thirty days. Hopefully I will just need to do top up shops for fresh fruit and veg over the next few weeks. I will let you know! I already have vegan protein powder which I’ve been using for quite a while now and nutritional yeast which is another vegan staple. I’ll do weekly vegan grocery shop updates to let you know what else I come across. I am planning a separate post on vegan snacks and treats. It will also be interesting to see how much this vegan diet costs in comparison to a meat/dairy/egg/honey consuming one. Stay tuned!