Category Archives: 3 in 30

The Vegan Challenge: Review

So last week I spent my time eating vegan. You can see how I got on for the various different days here, here, here, here, here and here.

I set myself this task as one of my 3 in 30 goals for the month as a way to challenge myself and make myself focus on eating a better diet and be more intensional when it came to what  I was consuming. Overall I think the  biggest thing for me was that I was surprised at how easy it ended up being. I thought I would be craving cheese and meat like nothing else but I honestly didn’t miss it. I know a week is a fairly short amount of time in which to experiment with something so perhaps if I went on a bit longer this would be a different tale .

So…

The Good Bits

1. I ate so many vegetables it was unreal- I had no problems reaching my 5 a day eating this way!

2. I did feel better. I had more energy and I seemed to be able to handle working crazy hours and generally running around like a lunatic more easily when I had good fuel inside of me.

3. I cooked a lot more. Not being able to rely on convenience food made me become better at planning what I was going to eat and better at cooking it when I got there.

4. The food was actually delicious; indeed I think I made some of the best pancakes I have ever had!

5. The variety of stuff I found myself making certainly surprised me. In the back of my mind I kind of expected to be eating carrots all week but this was not the case at all.

6. I lost a couple of pounds probably because I was eating by its very nature healthier food and not having the plethora of snacks I usually indulge in!

The Bad Bits 

1. Oh God I missed chocolate! Maybe this is just the woman in me talking but I really missed chocolate! Unfortunately I didn’t manage to find a comparable alternative in a shop near where I live although I am sure they do exist.

2. My main and perhaps biggest problem with the idea of eating vegan permanently is that I see food as a very social experience. It is something to share with my loved ones and restricting my diet hampers this for me. I don’t know anyone else who eats vegan and among the majority of my close family and friends no one eats vegetarian either. I felt as though I was missing out on some of the more social aspects of food, simple things like sharing a few biscuits with my colleagues at work became something which I had to decline. Social rituals like that are very important in a work environment and I missed it!

3. This isn’t the diet which James naturally gravitates towards, and its important for me to take his opinion in to account when thinking about issues like this.

4. Quorn isn’t vegan as this has become a staple of mine and James’ diet as we try to reduce our meat consumption for environmental reasons.

That said I do think there are changes which I could make stemming from this week to focus my diet towards a more plant based approach. I think I will be defiantly sticking with the soya milk, I’ve developed quite a taste for it over the last week! On the meals which I do have control over, breakfasts and lunches etc… there is no excuse for me to skimp on the health content of these. I’m going to make a conscience effort to become more focused on what I eat for these meals including more veggies and making them vegan where I can.

Thank you for coming with me on this challenge my friends and double thank yous for being so helpful kind and encouraging in the comments this last week.  I couldn’t have done it without you!

Lindy xxx

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Filed under 3 in 30, adventures, cooking, James, Life, Stuff, Vegan diet

The Vegan Challenge: Day Seven

So today is  the last day of my ‘Vegan Challenge’. I’ve had an awful lot of fun this week documenting what I’ve been making, learning how to cook new things and reading all of your helpful responses, comments and tips. Thanks so much for being so supportive and kind as I muddle my way through. I hope you stick about after this challenge has ended!

So on to my final day…

Because I was at work today, breakfast had to be a speedy afair. This is muesli with soya milk and a big mug of coffee to wake me up! I have over this week developed a serious love of muesli with soya milk I just find it so satisfying as a breakfast, for some reason more so than with regular milk.

As I was at work I’m back on the packed lunches agian. This was rice cooked in vegetable stock with a side of beans in a vinaigrette. I think this could have been really nice but it needed the addition of something extra such as fresh cucumber or something; iunfortunately I just didn’t have time this morning to do anything like this. I think this is an example of a good idea poorly executed!

So for dinner tonight, because it was the last one of this challenge, I wanted to put in a little extra effort and  try cooking something new. This is a ‘Moroccan’ chickpea stew with a side of couscous. (I have no idea why I served it in stripes!) I really liked this, although James wasn’t so convinced! I think next time I will try his suggestion of mixing the couscous in to the stew so it becomes a flavour carrier and soaks up all the spices in the sauce. But for a first effort at a vegan stew I was pretty pleased and thought it was quite delicious.

I also decided to make a dessert because it was the last day of the challenge and all of that! This is stewed apples and plums with soya custard. Because I was using cooking apples I added a a bit of cinnamon and sugar when I was cooking them just to nullify the sharpness a little. This was really really really good! The custard was amazing! Its Alpro soya custard and it was delicious- you really couldn’t tell the difference between this and actual custard. I think I might end up eating it neat its so good!

So there we have it. My week of eating vegan! Check back tomorrow for my thoughts on eating vegan for a week.

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend

Lindy xxx

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Filed under 3 in 30, cooking, James, Life, Recipes, Stuff, Vegan diet

The Vegan Challenge: Day Six

Saturday! The one day a week where I get a lay in. I love Saturdays, wholly and completely.

I also love Saturdays because of weekend breakfast food; the best kind of food (in my humble opinion)! This morning I experimented with making vegan pancakes. I have been making pancakes pretty much since my parent trusted me to use the cooker as a child- I have an ever abiding love for them and for ages they were about the only thing I could cook well and consistently! These I made with the first recipe I found on google. They are simply flour, baking powder and sugar. I used a little oil as the binder and then soya milk for the batter. Because I am predictable in my breakfast ways I added in cinnamon and sultanas as the flavouring. They were very very scrummy, dare I say it even a little better than the recipe I usually make! The only thing that could have improved then would have been a sauce of some kind but I didn’t have anything in the house which was vegan. I think these would also be amazing with vanilla essence and blueberries… just sayin’! Maybe next weekend.

As I had such a big breakfast I didn’t really fancy a big lunch. but because I was going to work I knew I had to eat something… hence this soup was born. This is very simple pea soup from a recipe that I made up as I went along. I sautéed some onion and garlic in the bottom of my pan before adding vegetable stock and chopped tomatoes. I then threw in some frozen peas and some more spinach because I have so much left (why do supermarkets only sell in in ridiculously large bags I ask you?!) I then cooked it until the peas were done and blitzed it up with my stick blender. This was really tasty and oh so green! Good qualities for a soup I feel!

I was at work this evening so supper was another packed lunch. I used left over falafel with some more of my (never ending!) spinach with cucumber and carrot sticks and an apple. The falafel were not as good cold as I had hoped unfortunately, but you live and you learn. They became very dry and crumbly and not at all yummy. But one uninspiring meal can be forgiven I feel!

So tomorrow my little experiment comes to an end and I think I’ll be a little sad. Its been quite a lot of fun documenting what I’ve been cooking for the last week and has definitely made me more conscious of what I’ve been eating. Check back tomorrow for the penultimate instalment in this particular series!

I would like to take this chance to thank you for all your fantastic suggestions and encouragement over the last week my friends.

Lindy xxx

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Filed under 3 in 30, childhood, cooking, Life, Recipes, Stuff, Vegan diet

The Vegan Challenge: Day Five

Well breakfast today… it was good but the serving was just a little interesting…

I thought I had been so clever in loading the dishwasher and sorting out my kitchen before making breakfast but unfortunately I managed to put all my bowls in the dish washer… doh! So this breakfast came al a plate! I added a dash of cinnamon to my porridge this time because I’m pretty much convinced that cinnamon makes everything better and hey, it this case it most defiantly does! This is soya milk porridge with banana, sultanas and cinamon. Yum, yum, yum!

Lunch was a little bit disappointing after breakfast and considering my successes earlier in the week. Possibly this is because I have been eating along a similar theme for my lunches all week and perhaps I was just a little bored with it. But anyway, I had couscous salad with spinach, allotment tomatoes and cucumber. I also forgot to make any dressing to go with this  which was, I think, this meals main issue!

I had such a chocolate craving today it was unreal. I’ve been so good all week avoiding junk food and my usual dose of chocolate but today this was an itch I just had to scratch. I found these raw date bars at Holland and Barratt which proclaimed themselves to be vegan so I thought hey lets give it a go! I’ve already snaffled the chocolate flavoured one hence no photo but these are good. (Especially because Holland and Barratt were having a penny sale!)

Dinner had to be quick tonight because I was going out to work (I have two jobs, I know crazy) so used used a boxed falafel mix instead of  making them from scratch. This is falafel, roasted beetroot (courtesy of my Dad’s allotment) and broccoli. I chopped up a small red onion and added this to the falafel mix to give it a bit of extra flavour and texture as the mixture looked a little smooth. They were really really good and something I will definitely be having again. But the highlight of this meal for me was the beetroot. I roasted it with a little oil, salt and black pepper, for me this is a much better way then having it drenching in vinegar as I usually buy it.

So my question for today is this- what is your favourite vegan chocolate my friends?

Lindy xxx

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Filed under 3 in 30, Allotment, cooking, Life, Stuff, Vegan diet

The Vegan Challenge: Day Four

Hello everyone. Thank you again for all the helpful comments on my last couple of posts- you’re giving me such helpful insights in to what to try eating next. Thanks so much!

On to day four…

Today I tried mixing it up a little and having something differnt for breakfast. This was porriage made with un-sweetened soya milk topped with chopped banana and sultanas. It was a-ma-zing! Definatly my favourite breakfast so far and something I’m sure I will be returning to in the future.

For lunch I had planned on having a mixed salad but unfortunatly despite the fact they were still in date my salad leaves had gone all brown and slimy so they were off the menu.  I changed my plans a little and made this salad from young spinach leaves (left over from the soup), chopped tomatoes (from Dad’s allotment), cucumber and carrots. Although the dressing looks at bit suspicious its actually only humous watered down a bit to give it a better contistancy. An idea I shamelessly stole from this blog. This was really really good and a lunch I will no doubt be duplicating in the near future. I also had some cherries and a couple of little satsumas as well.

Dinner was again a bit strange. James and I went out tonight to see the National Youth Orchestra (who were fantastic) with my Gran and her partner so we didn’t have time for a sit down meal. Instead we had a little picnic in the car! This comprised of a marmite and soya spread sandwich, carrot sticks and an apple. It was a bit like having lunch twice in a day for me, but sometimes these little adventures are so much fun!

Okay so it is now way past my bedtime when I’m posing this so i’m going to go and hit the hay, but please let me know in comments what your favourite vegan meal is. I would be interested to hear your suggestions!

Lindy xxx

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Filed under 3 in 30, Allotment, James, Life, Vegan diet

The Vegan Challenge: Day Three

Well here we are at day three, so far I haven’t really found myself craving anything which is surprising me because I thought I would be dying for some cheese by now (usually a staple of my day!) I would just like to say hi to everyone who is stopping by here because of ‘Freshly Pressed’, thanks so much for all your kind comments and suggestions on what to try when eating vegan. All of your encouragement is very welcome. Thanks so much for your support!

So on to day three…

10 point if you can guess what I had for breakfast…. muesli and a vitamin tablet anyone?! I think I’m going to change things up a bit tomorrow and try soya milk porridge instead just for something a little bit different.

My Dad has grown and given me some fantastic produce from his allotment recently and I’ve been making good use of it in my lunches. Today was a humous, allotment tomatoes and raw spinach pittas which was out of this word divine I must tell you; with cucumber sicks and an allotment apple. Pretty darn good if I say so myself!

Dinner was a bit of a random one but it did highlight to me the difficulties of eating out when on a restricted diet. Today was my boyfriends Mums birthday so we went round there tonight to have nibbles whilst opening presents etc… all very nice and good. Except that because I hadn’t been planning on it I’d neglected to mention that I was eating vegan this week which made nibbles a little bit more of a problem. Thus for dinner I had cucumber and carrot sticks with some home made humous (which was very good indeed) and olives.

I think this evening has highlighted to me the amount of planning which you need to put in, in order to successfully eat a vegan diet when out from the little safety blanket of your own kitchen. I’m more than happy to pander to my own needs when at home but I do struggle with the idea of imposing extra work on other people just to suit me if I happen to be round for food. Its certainly an issue to think about when making extreme changes to the way in which you eat, especially if you are the only one in your group of friends or family making those changes.

I hope you had a fantastic Wednesday my friends. Let me know in comments what you think… are you happy to ask people to cook different food for you? Have you changed your diet when those around you have not?

Lindy xxx

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Filed under 3 in 30, Allotment, cooking, Life, Vegan diet

The Vegan Challenge: Days One and Two

So I said that one of my goals for this month was to eat vegan for a week, and in the spirit of getting things done this month I thought I would start this week. So here we go, days one and two…

Day One

Breakfast was muesli and soya milk plus a vitamin tablet. Whilst I try to have a vitamin tablet everyday anyway I figured it would be particularly important whilst I’m playing around and restricting my diet. And here is where I encountered my first problem- muesli isn’t vegan. The one I buy has whey protein in it which is derived from cows milk. However I only brought this pack of cereal last week so I would feel very frivolous buying a replacement hence- it stays I’m afraid.

Lunch was some spicy lentil soup and a pitta bread with a handful of cherries and a couple of satsumas. I snacked on cashew nuts whilst a work and all in all was feeling quite pleased with myself until I got home, read the soup packet and realised that it wasn’t vegan either!

For dinner I made southern fried quorn style burgers in a pitta with tomato, cucumber, salad and reggae reggae relish with a side of peas. This was a) very scrummy b) I think it’s possible that I believe every meal is better with peas and c) yet again not vegan. Quorn isn’t vegan, much to my surprise, which at the end of my first day left me realising how difficult this would be. I thought I had been really good in my food choices but to eat a truly vegan diet you have to cut out much more than the obvious meat, fish, milk, cheese and yogurt, it would seem that most things are off the menu. Day two was going to require a lot more planning methinks!

Day Two

So breakfast was a repeat of yesterday since this is pretty much my staple breakfast regardless. I’m using un-sweetened soya milk at the moment and I’m surprised how much I’ve liked it. I can chug back a carton of the vanilla flavoured soya in a day it’s so delicious but I’ve always been a bit suspicious of the un-sweetened version. Possibly because my Mum hates soya milk and gave me a lasting suspicion of it as a child! Despite the fact my cereal isn’t completely vegan I’ve made the switch to soya milk and some change is better than no change!

For lunch I made myself a large couscous salad with tomato, cucumber and carrot . This was delicious mostly because I’ve discovered that if you make couscous with vegetable stock rather than just water it makes it taste 10 times better. No seriously you should give it a try! And this was a 100% vegan so score one for me! Though out the day I snacked on my vegan banana bread, which I rave about on here regularly and some dried fruit as well.

For dinner I made this lentil and spinach soup which I know is 100% vegan because I made it from scratch! Whilst this doesn’t look particularly nice it tasted pretty good and was fully of nutrients from the spinach.

I think I’m going to christen this week ‘vegan light’. I will try my best to eat as vegan as I possibly can but I’ve been surprised how difficult this really is. Hopefully later in the month I will learn from this and be able to try a week eating completely vegan.

Have you ever tried changing your diets my friends? How successful were you?

Lindy xxx

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Filed under 3 in 30, banana bread, cooking, Life, Soup, Vegan diet