Vegan Pledge: Week Three Food Diary

Welcome to week three of my thirty day vegan pledge with The Vegan Society. You can find out why I decided to take the thirty day pledge here. Catch up on week one here and week two here. You can also click this link to check out my vegan grocery shop!

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MY 30 DAY VEGAN PLEDGE OFFICIALLY BEGAN ON 6/7/17

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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!

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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.

vegan meals

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!

vegan meals

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!

vegan meals

I also made an Indian Jalfrezi with tofu, peas, spinach and bok choi. Served with brown rice.
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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.

The Clean Coconut ??

P.S. Catch up on why I took the 30 day vegan pledge here and how I got on with week one of the pledge here and find my week two update here. You can also check out my vegan grocery haul here.

vegan meals

Vegan Grocery Shop: Week One

vegan grocery shop

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

1. Vegetables!

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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.

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2. Fruit

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.

vegan grocery shop

3. Herbs

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.

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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.

vegan grocery shop

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These were lentils I already had in the press and will be using over the next thirty days!

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!

vegan grocery shop

6. Wholegrains

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.

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7. Tofu

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.

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8. Vegan Milk Substitutes

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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.

vegan grocery shop

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.

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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!

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I was delighted to come across this vegan pesto too! So handy for pasta and pizza dishes.

vegan grocery shop

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.

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I got some oat cakes for snacking. I love topping them with hummus or the aforementioned vegan cream cheese ?

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And of course no vegan grocery shop would be complete without tea!

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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!

The Clean Coconut ??

P.S. Read about why I’ve taken the thirty day vegan pledge here. Also read about my first week on the pledge here.

vegan grocery shop

Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe

 

Chocolate Chia Pudding

I love chia pudding. Apart from being one of the most Instagram-able  treats, it also packs a seriously nutritious punch. It is one of my favourite breakfasts as it is low in sugar and high in fibre, protein and good fats. I find it a great way to start the day, keeping me full until lunchtime. It also feels like a nice treat and could easily be eaten as dessert too! The good news is that chia pudding is so easy to make!

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Vegan Chocolate Chia Pudding Recipe

Serves: 1-2

Nutrition: Approximate macros based on the amount provided for  in this recipe (or one whole serving size) and the use of Sunwarrior vegan protein powder are; 31g protein, 24g carbs and 21g fat with a total of 405 calories. The recipe contains  only 2g sugar and a massive 20g fibre to keep you full and satiated! Macros stated above do not include optional added toppings.

Ingredients: 

  • 50g or approx. 4 dessert spoons whole chia seeds
  • 5g or approx 1 teaspoon raw cacao powder
  • 250ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 30g or approx 1 scoop vegan chocolate protein powder (I’m using Sunwarrior vegan protein at the moment*)

*The specific protein powder used may affect absorbency of liquid in this recipe, but not by much. I find that vegan protein thickens the pudding slightly more than whey protein.

Toppings: Optional – I usually choose a couple of options from the following list;

  • Berries – blueberry/raspberry/strawberry
  • Coconut Yoghurt
  • Desiccated coconut
  • Shelled Hemp
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Cacao nibs
  • Ground linseed

These toppings will keep your chia pudding low carb while enhancing the amount of plant-based proteins, fats and fibre in the finished meal!

Method:

  1. In a sealable container, add the chia, cacao and protein powder and mix. Next add the unsweetened almond milk and stir before placing the lid on the container and shaking vigorously. It is important that the ingredients are thoroughly mixed so that the chia seeds can evenly absorb the liquid overnight.
  2. Ensuring all of the seeds have been well mixed in the container, place in the fridge and leave overnight.
  3. In the morning, stir up and transfer the pudding to a bowl. Add your toppings. (If you intend taking the pudding with you to eat on the go then just add your toppings to the container and reseal until you are ready to eat!)
  4. Enjoy!

The Clean Coconut x

P.S. This recipe is very high in fibre (approx 20g before toppings are added!). It is always a good idea to gradually increase your fibre intake if you are not already used to eating a plant-based fibre rich diet ?

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Rock ‘n’ Roll Smoothies: Purple Haze

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The first drink in my series of Rock ‘n’ Roll Smoothies is Purple Haze. This is a gluten-free, vegan, superfood smoothie which is dizzily high in protein.

The main ingredients include:

  1. Chia Seeds

smoothiesChia seeds are super high in protein and fibre, as well as omega three fatty acids.  They include lots of calcium too which can be harder to source on a vegan diet. Chia seeds are one of the few plant-based sources of complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids.

2. Rice Proteinsmoothies, veganRice protein powder is one of my favourite vegan protein powders. It is great for adding to smoothies as it is unflavoured. It is a little bit slower to digest than whey so it keeps you fuller for longer too.

3. Bananasmoothies, vegan, plant-basedBananas are full of potassium, vitamin C, fibre and vitamin B6. Bananas also help to add creaminess to dairy-free smoothies.

4. Maca Powder

smoothies, vegan, plant-based, macaAnother ‘superfood’, plant-based source of nutrients.

5. Acaí Powdersmoothies, vegan, plant based, acaiAcaí powder helps to give this smoothie its gorgeous purple colour. This stuff is expensive, but a little goes a long way.

6. Blueberries smoothies, vegan, plant based, blueberriesAntioxidant-rich blueberries also add to the beautiful colour and great health benefits of this smoothie.

7. Raspberriessmoothies, vegan, plant based, raspberriesRaspberries are really high in fibre and vitamin C.

8. Almond Milksmoothies, vegan, plant based, almonds, almond milkAlmond milk is a great alternative to dairy milk. I love using it in smoothies. Make sure to get the unsweetened version!

Nutrients Per Serving:

One serving of Purple Haze contains 262 calories, 7.3g of fat, 17.6g of protein and 31.7g of unrefined carbohydrates – 13.5 of which are from fibre. Yep, all of that in one glass of purple am-hazingness.

One serving also provides 10.2% of your vitamin C RDA, 41.8% of your calcium RDA and 6.7% of your RDA for iron, as well as 308mg of potassium.

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The Rock ‘n’ Recipe: 

(Makes Two servings)

Ingredients: 

2 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk

1 Cup frozen blueberries

1 Cup frozen raspberries

1 banana, sliced

2 tbsp Rice Protein

1 tbsp Chia Seeds

1 tbsp Maca Powder

2 tsp Acaí Powder

2 tsp Desiccated Coconut (to decorate)

Note: Using frozen fruit means you don’t need to water down your smoothie with ice cubes, but you can also use unfrozen berries either. To prevent waste, slice up bananas when they are becoming overripe and freeze them for use in smoothies.

 Method:

  1. To grind up the chia seeds, use either a high-powered blender or a coffee grinder.
  2. Add all ingredients apart from desiccated coconut to blender and blend slowly, gradually moving up to full speed.
  3. Pour into glass and sprinkle with desiccated coconut to serve.

‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky…

sky, purple haze, smoothies, vegan

The Clean Coconut x

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Vegan Challenge: Was it FLAWLESS?

This is the final post from My Vegan Challenge. To read from the beginning of the week-long challenge click here

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Welcome to the final instalment of My Vegan Challenge. A solid seven days as a gluten-free vegan has allowed me to experience a snapshot of what it would be like to live an entirely plant-based lifestyle…

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The Good Great:

1.  Throughout the week I experienced what I can only describe as a feeling of  lightness.

2. My nails got REALLY strong out of nowhere.

3. I lost body fat. Without counting any calories or going hungry.

4. I saved some animals. Statistically, every vegan saves 198 animals from slaughter every year, which equates to almost four animals per week.

5. I helped the environment. The carbon footprint of a vegan is less than half that of the typical meat eater.

6. I cooked and tasted lots of new things.

7. I ate lots of fresh food and wasted nothing as it was often the perishable items in my cupboards/fridge that I was relying on for the bulk of my meals.

8. I enjoyed the experience of the vegan lifestyle.

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The Bad Improvable:

1. Supplementation is essential. B12 is totally lacking in the vegan diet. Calcium and iron are also limited. Ensuring I was getting adequate protein took extra effort.

2. Dining out is difficult. Even in a city like Belfast, where I was based throughout my challenge, the vegan options are quite limited. Certain niche and ‘healthy’ restaurants serve more palatable vegan options. These venues are few and far between. Outside of cities, vegan options are still quite rare in typical Irish restaurants. I only dined out for dinner on the final day of the plan.

3. Recovery from exercise took longer.

4. Vegan cooking can be quite time consuming. I had to plan ahead and make sure I had all the necessary ingredients to hand.

5. There is little-to-no healthy vegan (and gluten-free) ‘convenience’ food in typical Irish shops. If, on the odd occasion, you don’t feel like cooking or don’t have time and you’re not based in a city, you may not be able to source a nice, quick, vegan dinner.

6. It takes a lot of effort and discipline to consistently maintain a vegan lifestyle in a healthy, balanced way because it is such a restricted diet. Lets be honest, sometimes you just want to have a bar of chocolate a bag of jelly babies. Of course if more vegan options were available it would be a lot easier.

7. When eating as a vegan, it can be difficult to get the balance of macro nutrients to fit a high protein, low carb diet. The particular plan I followed (22 Days Revolution) was high in unrefined carbohydrates and low in fat and protein. When lifting weights, higher protein levels are recommended in order to aid recovery and muscle growth. I added in extra protein sources when I could.

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Final Thoughts:

Since finishing My Vegan Challenge I have remained about 70% vegan. Most of the times I have eaten meat, dairy or eggs have been when out for dinner in restaurants which lacked a vegan option, or when I was a dinner guest at someone’s house. I have cooked meat (chicken) once since completing the challenge two and a half weeks ago.

Below are just some of the vegan dishes I have had since finishing the challenge.

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More sushi – I love this!

 

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Vegan toast with chickpea spread. This bread is also gluten and yeast free

 

Wholegrain brown rice pasta with marinara sauce
Wholegrain brown rice pasta with marinara sauce

 

Gluten and yeast free Vegan toast with almond butter, banana and blueberries
Gluten and yeast free vegan toast with almond butter, banana and blueberries

 

Avoca Salad – not totally vegan as it did contain some feta – again eating out is not always easy as a vegan! It was gluten free though.
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Carrot and Ginger Juice

 

Acai Smoothie
Acai Smoothie

 

Vegan Risotto
Garden Pea Risotto

 

Vegan Pancakes
Buckwheat and Hemp Pancakes

As you have hopefully seen over the course of the week and from my diet since, vegan eating is anything but boring. There is so much variety and so many flavours to what you can create. I didn’t stop the diet because I wasn’t enjoying the food – I loved the food.

I didn’t supplement enough in terms of B12 and iron and I definitely felt the result of that in the last two days of the challenge. This was ultimately what made me finish the challenge on day eight. Anyone taking on this diet should definitely plan ahead to ensure all their nutritional needs will be met.

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Spirulina Shots

I also wanted to be able to enjoy a meal out in a really nice restaurant I was going to the night after I finished the plan. I didn’t want to be restricted. It can be hard to really treat yourself on a vegan plan because it is not adequatly catered for in most restaurants and shops and because it takes a lot of forethought, planning and effort. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t wake up the day after the challenge ended and reach for eggs and bacon, on the contrary I have been far more conscious of all dietary choices made since. Still, it is nice the odd time to be able to mindlessly indulge after a period of really clean-eating.

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Whilst I’m not ready to be a full-time vegan forever more, I am definitely incorporating a lot more plant-based eating into my diet. Before I took on the vegan challenge I very rarely ate eggs or dairy anyway, so the main thing I was ‘giving up’ was meat. I’m delighted to have gone from eating meat twice a day to eating it maybe three or four times a week now.

I’m a firm believer that the best way to make a dietary change is to set aside a week, plan ahead and try it out, then reevaluate. This is actually how I initially went gluten-free and at the time it seemed impossible but now it is totally second nature. I took that approach with this vegan diet, an entirely new way of eating, just for a week. As I suspected it has impacted the way I eat in a positive way. I feel like I’m another step closer to a cleaner diet, both for myself and the planet.

The Clean Coconut x

P.S. I know lots of you have been asking if I will be posting recipes and the answer is yes! Honestly, I’m the kind of cook who adds a ‘handful of this’ and a ‘dash of that’, so it will take some discipline for me to start measuring out my favourite recipes but I will get on it asap 🙂 

You can now find some vegan recipes by clicking here.

Also check out my guide to going gluten-free here.

P.P.S. If you haven’t watched Earthlings yet – DO IT! You can find it on Youtube by clicking here.

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My Vegan Challenge: Day Seven

(To catch up on days 1-6 of My Vegan Challenge, begin by clicking here.)

Reaching day seven marks the conclusion of My Vegan Challenge

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According to the 22 Days Nutrition plan I was supposed to have a green smoothie for breakfast today. I tend to reserve green smoothies for Monday-Friday. It was a Saturday so I felt like having something that was a little bit closer to comfort-food. I put together my own chocolate protein smoothie (… and I made the green smoothie the following Monday!).

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This smoothie included lots of plant-based, superfood ingredients such as raw cacao powder, maca and lucuma (available in most health food shops, I used the Irish brand Nua Naturals). It also included chia seeds, banana and vegan chocolate protein powder (Sunwarrior). It was really yummy and much more appealing to me at the time than a green smoothie. This was a late breakfast and I drank two glasses of the smoothie so it kept me full through lunch.

Dinner today was vegetable curry. I was out for the day and didn’t really have time to cook so I popped into St. George’s Market in Belfast where I knew the vegan stall Fin McVeg had lots of delicious food. I picked up a vegan and gluten-free vegetable curry which was really tasty. Better than the typical Saturday night Chinese take-away and far ‘cleaner’.

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I may have also stopped by the vegan bakery at St. George’s Market… Check Out My Buns is also gluten-free and their vegan cakes, buns and biscuits are all amazingly good! This stall sells out quick!

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I picked up a delicious gluten-free vegan brownie for dessert… Like I said, it was Saturday… 🙂

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I have really enjoyed the vegan eating this week. When I started, I wasn’t sure if I would last more than a couple of days, but I’ve now completed seven days straight as a vegan. I’ve learned a lot from the experience. For me, living the vegan lifestyle, without any eggs, dairy, meat or fish (or gluten!) has had its pros and cons.  I will go into these in more detail in my final post.

Find my final post on My Vegan Challenge here.

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My Vegan Challenge: Day Six

(To catch up on My Vegan Challenge days 1-5, begin by clicking here.)

Welcome to day 6 of my vegan week.

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Today started with a lovely breakfast of quinoa ‘porridge’. I love quinoa but I had never had it like this – I always use it in salads. This was a little different but was a nice alternative to porridge oats. It took about twenty minutes or so to cook so while it was simmering I started my day with a glass of home-brewed Kombucha. Kombucha is a probiotic fermented and effervescent tea which is served cold. I love it. Kombucha is not part of the ’22 day revolution’ plan, I’ve been making it for a number of months now and I drink it regularly. IMG_5146

I was free to decorate my quinoa ‘porridge’ with whatever plant-based toppings I wanted. To create this rainbow of yumminess on top, I used desiccated coconut, sliced banana, goji berries, bee pollen, raw cacao nibs and frozen blueberries. This was so filling and really tasty.

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Breakfast kept me full for a good few hours as there was so much in it. Lunch was vegan sushi. I had never had sushi before nor had I any idea how to roll it correctly – the instructions were not very clear! So I ended up on youtube watching tutorials to figure out how to make it correctly. Finally I knew what the purpose of that sushi mat was!

IMG_5165There are different ways to roll the sushi but the instructions I followed had the rice on the outside of the roll, as above. This was definitely tricky to construct and you need a really sharp knife to slice through the nori without the whole thing falling apart. Inside the roll was raw cauliflower and broccoli, cashews and vegan mayonnaise, all rolled up in a sheet of nori. The rice was brown short-grain.

IMG_5166My first attempt at sushi rolls…clearly I did not eat these with chopsticks… but they looked nice for the picture 🙂

The rolls were sprinkled with sesame seeds to decorate. I had also purchased some umeboshi paste in the health food shop and I used a drop of this on top of each roll as seasoning.

These sushi rolls were my absolute favourite meal of the week – I loved them and I’ve already made them again since! The umeboshi paste has the most amazing flavour too. Big thumbs up for sushi rolls!

Dinner on day 6 was baked aubergine with pico de gallo. This was really nice and the pico de gallo was so flavourful.

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By day six I’ve been starting to experience freezing cold hands and feet. This is most likely due to a lack of iron and B12. I hadn’t taken an iron supplement over the week and I probably should have. Even though there is iron present in many of the green leafy vegetables I’ve been eating, plant-based iron sources are less absorbable by the body.

Despite taking a B vitamin complex throughout the week (when I remembered!) I am prone to low B12. I usually take injections every few months to keep my level of B12 up but haven’t had access to them for a while as I’m not at home. B12 is only found in dairy, eggs, meat and fish (unless fortified in things like cereals – most of which are not gluten free!). As such, I have cut out all dietary sources of b12 as is neccesary on the vegan plan and supplementation is essential.

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Its Friday night and my friend came to visit tonight bringing me these lovely vegan popcorn treats and a lovely bottle of vegan merlot which we opened and drank together. 

Day six as a vegan complete 🙂

P.S. Mark’s and Spencer’s have a great range of vegan wines – pretty much all of their wines are vegan. Fining agents used in wine filtration can include eggs, milk, blood and bone marrow (Bull’s blood is no longer allowed in the U.S. or Europe since the outbreak of BSE), chitin (fibre from crustacean shells), fish oil, gelatine (a protein made from boiled animal parts) and isinglass (gelatine from fish bladder membranes). Unfortunately the only items that must be listed on the bottle under EU law are allergens, so you will often see eggs, milk and sulphites on the label. Check the back of the bottle to see whether the wine you are purchasing is suitable for vegans or vegetarians.

Find day seven of My Vegan Challenge here.

My Vegan Challenge: Day Four

(To catch up on Days 1-3 of My Vegan Challenge, begin by clicking here.)

Welcome back. Onto day three of Beyonce’s Vegan plan, and day four as a vegan today.

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Breakfast was a raw chia pudding which was made in advance, yesterday. Very easy and super quick to prep (everything in a bowl and stir!), then just leave in the fridge overnight. The recipe makes enough for two mornings so breakfast for tomorrow is already sorted too. Again I edited this recipe by using rice milk instead of almond milk and by adding vegan chocolate protein to up the protein level. I decided to decorate my chia pudding with blueberries, goji berries, desiccated coconut and bee pollen. I did a bit of research on bee pollen as I wasn’t sure if it was considered truly vegan. There is some debate about it and probably the most hard-core of vegans would avoid it whilst other vegans include it in their diets. Some less-strict vegans eat honey and wear leather too, so it all depends on your individual level of commitment to the vegan lifestyle.

Bee pollen is a waste product of the honey making process and bees wouldn’t use it if we didn’t collect anyway, so for the moment I’m happy to include it. Well, you can’t really get more ‘plant-based’ than pollen can you? I really like bee pollen, it adds colour, texture and a sweet flavour; I like to think of it as nature’s hundreds-and-thousands.  It is considered a ‘superfood’ and may be helpful for people with seasonal allergies.

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The ’22 Day Revolution’ plan instructs one to blend this chia pudding. I make chia puddings a lot, sometimes I blend them and other times I leave the seeds whole. Today I left the seeds whole and I really liked the texture. When its blended its more like a smoothie really. By the way, you only need about two tablespoons of chia seeds to make a portion of chia pudding, so even though a bag of seeds can seem expensive, a little goes a long way. When they are soaked over night they swell up a lot.

After breakfast I went for a run. I was really sore after the weight training yesterday!

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Later, I snacked on some cherries whilst prepping lunch.

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Lunch was a lentil soup garnished with parsley, tomato, avocado and lime dressing. IMG_5052

It was really tasty; the garnish definitely made it, it would have been quite bland without the garnish. Again this lunch was time consuming to make and would be best prepped ahead of time if you have a busy day ahead. The recipe made a lot of soup. I was able to freeze two additional portions of soup from what I made.

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Dinner on day three of the plan was roasted cauliflower with pine nuts and grapes. I was quite unsure about this one before I tasted it, the idea of essentially eating a cauliflower for dinner didn’t seem the most appealing. To offset this I added a few sun-blushed tomatoes too because I had some in the fridge. I was super surprised by this dinner however. I found myself eating around the tomatoes because it was so flavourful without them! Really enjoyed this one, the grapes and pine nuts gave it such a lovely flavour. I didn’t use the full cauliflower, I only used about half of it as cauliflower is needed for another recipe later in the week.

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Later that night I felt like a treat so I had a vegan caramel slice. I made these from ingredients I had in the cupboard; they are not part of the plan but I’ve made them before and really like them. They are totally vegan and contain whole-food, ‘clean’ ingredients. I had these with a cup of tea (with rice milk of course!).

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Again, a lovely day of vegan eating. Really enjoyed all of today’s meals and proud I’ve stayed on track for four days as a vegan now 🙂

Find day 5 of My Vegan Challenge here.

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My Vegan Challenge: Day Three

(To catch up on the introduction to My Vegan Challenge and days one and two, start by clicking here.)

Welcome to day three of my vegan trial run.

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Today started with a delicious green smoothie. This smoothie contained kale, spinach, lemon, apples, banana and dates. My dates were hiding today so I had to leave them out – but it tasted fine without them and was definitely already sweet enough for me. I also added in a little coconut water as I had some in the fridge.  I made another amendment to the recipe by adding in a couple of tablespoons of vegan protein powder; rice protein. The recipe made a LOT of smoothie – about 1.5 litres. green smoothie

I drank it all before heading for a gym session. I might add that the plan in the book also sets out some daily exercise – I didn’t follow this as I have my own programmes personalised for me already. The exercise included in the book either involves cardio or resistance training (in the form of body-weight exercises that require little-to-no equipment). These exercises would definitely be useful for someone who wanted to lose weight or boost their overall fitness but I continued to focus my exercise on my usual routine of weight-lifting and toning.

I also had a question on my instagram account (www.instagram.com/cleancoconut_insta or @cleancoconut_insta) regarding the blender I used to make this shake. The lady enquiring had tried the same recipe but had difficulty getting the kale to blend fully in her Nutribullet. I used my Vitamix Total Nutrition Centre to blend this smoothie, A smoothie like this, which includes tough fibrous vegetables, will be difficult to blend fully without a powerful blender like the Vitamix. What may help however  would be to try adding some extra liquid when making it to help it mix around and reach the blades.

After my workout (about an hour or so of full-body weight-training) I had a vegan protein bar. Again this added protein is not set out in the programme but I included it myself.

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Lunch on day two of the Beyonce plan was a baked sweet potato with black beans. It was really yummy and a lovely post-workout meal. I added in some sprouts I had in the fridge to decorate it. By the way, you will eat a great deal of tomato and avocado on this plan!

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Early evening, before dinner, I snacked on some vegan hummus and carrot sticks. The gym has made me hungrier today!

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Dinner on day two of the plan was a ‘hearts of palm’ salad. First time for everything! This was the less than familiar name (to me!)  for ‘artichoke’ and I purchased the hearts of palm in the local Asia Supermarket, although I’ve since spotted it in other shops too – more common than I thought! This salad also included olives, more avocado and tomato, and spinach, all sprinkled with paprika. It was really tasty. Below is only about half the full portion!

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This marks the end of my third day as a vegan and my second day on the Beyonce vegan plan! It does feel a little strange not eating meat at any point in the day, but I haven’t been hungry or had any cravings for it at all 🙂

Find day four of My Vegan Challenge here.

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My Vegan Challenge: Day Two

(To catch up on the introduction to My Vegan Challenge and day one, click here)

I began day one of the Beyonce plan with great enthusiasm. I was ready for a detox and a week spent nourishing my body with fresh, healthy, whole foods…

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…Breakfast on day one of the plan was super easy to make – porridge basically.  The recipe listed gluten-free oats which I already had. In fact, as well as being a vegan plan this programme is also totally gluten free – which suited me anyway because I have been avoiding gluten for about a year and a half now.

The recipe also called for almond milk but I used organic rice milk instead, as it had a lot less additives than the brand of almond milk in the shop (always check the ingredients!) and I generally prefer rice milk anyway. Rice milk is slightly sweeter (naturally – not ‘sweetened’) and it would generally be a little bit higher in calories than almond milk. I often use rice milk in a post-workout protein shake for added quick-carbs to aid recovery.

On top of the porridge, which I made in a pot as opposed to the microwave, went sliced banana and blueberries. I didn’t weigh the blueberries out purely because I wasn’t in my own kitchen and didn’t have access to a scales – but I added a handful or so. I also added some goji berries for a pop of colour. The goji berries weren’t part of the recipe, but I had them and I like them so I scattered a few over the blueberries.

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This breakfast was totally delicious! I really enjoyed it. Its a high carb breakfast and that is part of the rationale of this plan – eat your carbs early in the day so that you use them as fuel and burn them off. This is definitely an ideal pre-workout breakfast.

Next up for lunch on day one of the plan was a lentil and quinoa salad.There was a LOT in the portion I made and the recipe hadn’t said how many servings it was supposed contain. I knew I couldn’t possibly eat it all. I did a bit of investigation and found out that the recipe was to serve 2-4 people so I’d say I ate a third or so of what was there and froze what was left – a bag of lentils and a bag of quinoa, ready to use the next time I wanted to make this salad. The lentils and quinoa were served on a bed of spinach.

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I would say for a lunch this was quite time consuming to cook and I would recommend making it in bulk ahead of time and freezing in portions that you can pull out the night before if you have a busy day ahead. It was tasty, although I did add a little pink himalayan salt at the end which I found it needed. If I was making this again I would probably add more spices to the lentils to increase the flavour.

Dinner on day one of the vegan programme was the famous ‘walnut tacos’ I had heard Beyonce raving about. I soaked the walnuts for the recipe when I was making my porridge earlier in the day. The recipe didn’t call for the walnuts to be soaked at all but I generally soak nuts before eating them in order to break down the phytic acid in them, making them more easily digested and allowing for greater nutrient extraction. I find they taste better that way too. So the walnuts had soaked for about eight or nine hours before I added them to my Vitamix blender along with the other ingredients for the walnut ‘meat’ taco filling.

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Contrary to the laborious lunch, this dinner was super quick and easy to make. Literally throw all the ingredients in the blender, mix it up and add it to your taco shells. Your taco shells are romaine lettuce ‘cups’ by the way. I actually had forgotten to pick up romaine lettuce so I had to improvise. I had a head of savoy cabbage, so I washed a few leaves of that, cut the fibrous stem out to form a triangle shaped gap in the leaf and layered two leaves at opposite ends (as above). I then added the walnut ‘meat’ and topped it with the avocado/tomato/coriander salad. I wrapped it up tightly and cut it in half…


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I really enjoyed these tacos. They don’t taste like anything you could really compare them to but they are really nice. I loved the cabbage wrap idea too and I would definitely eat them that way again. They’re really filling too. In fact throughout the day I wasn’t hungry and didn’t snack at all, each meal was very satisfying. Day two as a vegan was a success 🙂

Find day three of My Vegan Challenge here.)

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