It has been an interesting week. At the beginning of the challenge I was motivated, determined, and excited. As the week went on my mood began to change. I started to realize how much preparation, effort, and time would go into the meals I made.
I have a ton of respect for vegans. I see being a vegan or vegetarian as a proactive life choice. It’s not easy, and it can feel limiting at times. I don’t think it’s the act of being a vegan or vegetarian that makes you limited. It’s a lot bigger than that. I find that having alternative foods and restaurants is not always, but mainly an urban characteristic. If you live in the suburbs or a rural area, most likely you’re always going to have to make your own meals. Making your own meals is a good idea, however it’s nice to go out once in awhile. Going out and enjoying food with other people is a bit tricky based on where you go for food, and where you live.
Tracking meals, and looking up ingredients can be slightly tedious and time consuming. It’s important to know what you’re buying, and what’s in it. It’s also extremely important to know if you’re getting the right amount of vitamins and nutrients. Having a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) monitor your health is a great idea. Depending on your body and diet, you may have to take supplements.
I wish I was more proactive with my health, but I’m not. It’s something I need to work on before I can toy with the thought of ever being a vegetarian or vegan. I think what also makes it hard is that I don’t really like to cook. I’m not horrible at it, but I would much rather do other things. I don’t get a tremendous amount of enjoyment out of preparing or cooking a meal. It’s kind of sad, since I’m obsessed with food. Maybe one day I will fall in love with cooking and have a good handle on my health. When that day comes, I’ll definitely consider being a vegetarian or vegan.
One more day to go! I feel like there’s a lot to consider over the next day or two. I haven’t really thought through what I plan on doing, if anything at all.
I was a bit hung over today and didn’t end up eating a lot of food. I made an ill-advised decision of drinking last night at roughly twelve o’clock. I tried to play catch up at the bar and paid for it an hour later. I went home early, drank water, and slept for twelve hours. My body isn’t really interested in food at the moment.
I woke up and went to a family gathering in the evening.There was actually quite a few dishes that were vegan. The dish above is a Vegetable Masala. It was a combination of mushrooms, green peppers, onions, and tomatoes. The dish was stewed with a very minimal amount of spice. It was kind to my troubled stomach.
The second dish I had, which can be seen below was a Tomato Based Vegetable Curry. I was a little unsure whether it would upset my stomach or not. I tried a bit and it tasted more like tomato soup than a curry. It was smooth and enjoyable. The dish was not bland, nor was it daring. It tasted like comfort. I’m going to skip What I Learned Today, and just save that for tomorrow’s post. That’s it for me today. I’m excited to almost be done the challenge. There’s been some definite ups and downs, I look forward to sharing some of them with you tomorrow.
Today’s food was probably the best yet! I said I would try to eat at home as much as possible, which I think I’ve done an okay job at following through with. I had a dinner engagement to go to tonight, and was a little unsure where we’d actually end up. I was hoping I’d find out earlier today so I could plan out what I was going to eat. I also wanted to make sure that there was food I could actually eat. Thankfully when I found out where we were going, I knew that they could probably accommodate me. I split two dishes with my girlfriend, which was a great opportunity for me to try something new. Generally when I go out for Asian food, I play it safe and get Pad Thai or Chicken.
The picture above is Mongolian Tofu. I made sure it had no oyster or fish sauce in it. Having a girlfriend who is a vegetarian, I’ve become accustom to knowing that most dishes at Asian restaurants are listed as vegan or vegetarian, though they sometimes use fish or oyster sauce. It can be a little disconcerting; it’s important to make sure your server knows your dietary restrictions before placing your order.
For anyone who lives in Toronto and has had the opportunity to go to Korean Grill House on Queen St, the sauce used to baste the meat tasted very similar to the sauce used on the Mongolian Tofu. It actually kind of tasted a bit like chicken that you’d get from going to a Korean BBQ Restaurant. It was savoury, saucy, and delicious.
The second dish, which can be seen below was a Malaysian Golden Curry. It was a mix of vegetables, spices, ginger, and coconut milk. The curry was smooth and enjoyable. It mixed well with the rice. After the meal I was completely stuffed. I don’t think I’ve been this full in a couple of days.
Things that I’ve learned today
- Some restaurants cannot accommodate vegans. It is important to know where you’re going before you go.
- Restaurants generally make tofu that is edible and delicious. Mine is neither.
- I could probably eat coconut everyday for the rest of my life.
I stayed up pretty late last night, and didn’t get up until this afternoon. I skipped breakfast and had brunch. Above is a delicious sandwich I made earlier today. I used home made hummus, caramelized onion jelly, chickpea cutlets, salad, and balsamic vinaigrette. I put the sandwich on a frying pan and grilled it for a couple minutes on each side.
The chickpea cutlets were made by my girlfriend’s father, who also made the hummus. I loved every second of that sandwich. Below is a picture of a big bowl of vegetable Pho I had after I ate my sandwich. I put a slight bit of Sriracha sauce in it to give it a bit of a kick. The challenge is going well. I don’t feel limited in terms of food options. I definitely can’t eat the same things I use to, but that is a good thing.
Things that I’ve learned today
- Once you eat home made hummus you become a hummus snob. You’ll refuse to eat store bought hummus.
- Vegetable broth is just as satisfying as meat based broths.
- Tofu is as good as you make it. It’s essentially a sponge.
Today is the first day of the New Year! It feels good to begin the year with making positive changes in my life. I’m ready to make commitments to myself to continue to eat healthy, exercise, and do things that bring me happiness.
I feel like I’m not wasting moments or opportunities. 2014 to me is a year of exploring new opportunities, promoting myself, and consistently writing.
I thoroughly enjoyed the food I ate today. I had cereal again for breakfast followed by fresh fruit. I made myself a salad for lunch followed by guacamole and vegetables. Now I don’t want to toot my own horn or anything, but I make one awesome bowl of guacamole. It was nice to make a dish from scratch, even if it was ridiculously simple to make. I haven’t eaten dinner yet. I’ll probably throw something together after I publish this post.
Things that I’ve learned today
- Onions make food taste better. The majority of things I eat would taste better with onions.
- Avocados are creamy and delicious. I’m not sure what I enjoy more, the taste or the texture.
- I feel like I have more energy when I include lots of fresh fruit and vegetables in my diet. My mood has seemed to improve over the past couple of days.
- Smelling bacon and not being able to eat it sucks.
The second day of the challenge went well. I woke up and was extremely hungry. I decided to skip checking my fridge and cupboards and just went directly to the grocery store. Above you can see some of the items I purchased. My niece was over and she was also using our table to play with lego, thus you also get to see her awesome cruise ship.
Some of the items I bought
- Cliff Bars
- Almond Milk
- Coconut Milk
- Bolthouse Farms – Vanilla Chai Tea
There’s a couple other items you might also see in the picture.
Breakfast was good. I had a cereal mix called Love Grown, which has oats, dried fruit, coconut and various types of fruit. I used the coconut milk as a milk alternative for the cereal.
To be honest, I prefer the taste of milk to the various alternatives, specifically coconut and almond.
For lunch I had hummus, olives, and soy hot dogs. It wasn’t that bad.
Dinner was fantastic! I had butternut squash soup and a vegetarian curry with coconut rice.
Things that I’ve learned so far
- When shopping, always have a smartphone on you. The process of shopping took a lot longer than normal. I had to google items to find out whether they are vegan or not. I knew Cliff bars were probably vegan, but I had to google to find out exactly which ones were and which ones weren’t. Try to go shopping during a time that there is less people in the store. I did my best to be mindful of others, however I got some negative looks from other shoppers because I would stop frequently to look up items.
- I love ketchup. I might be overdoing it a bit.
- Eating healthy as a vegan is cheap. Eating unhealthy is very expensive. Vegan snacks and desserts purchased from an Organic Food Aisle can cost a pretty penny. Entire stores such as Whole Foods are also not a place to shop with the expectation of saving money.
I decided today would be a great day to start something I’ve been interested in trying for a couple of weeks now. I woke up this morning and started the 7-Day Vegan Challenge!
I wanted to try the challenge out for a couple reasons; mainly to try to give myself a new perspective on what being a vegan means. I have some idea of what it’s going to entail, as I was a vegetarian for a couple years. However, I was not a very good one. In my late teens I had trouble with meal preparation and cooking at home. Unfortunately this bad habit has stayed with me into my twenties. I currently have a restricted diet of no beef, and limited amounts of pork. I mainly eat chicken as one of my staple sources of protein.
Being a vegan or vegetarian is about discipline. Even though restaurants are getting better at creating alternatives for vegans and vegetarians in their menus, I can’t rely on going out for food that often. It would also undermine the entire experience of this challenge.
I have two priorities tomorrow
- Go through my kitchen and determine what items I have, and what items I will need to buy.
- Go shopping
I was lucky that tonight my girlfriend and I were going out for dinner. I’ve never had Ethiopian food before, but it was something I was interested in trying. We went to Lalibella Ethiopian Restaurant near Ossington Subway Station in Toronto.
Dinner looked something like this. minus the egg.
I’m not sure Ethiopian food is my thing, but I probably will give it another shot. The rest of my meals today involved fruits, salad, nuts, soy, hummus, and ritz crackers. PETA has a great page called Accidentally Vegan, where they list food that was not created with the purpose to be sold or marketed as vegan. Hence why I ate a ton of Ritz crackers today. I have a weird craving for rice mellow and coconut milk. I’ll be sure to post more pictures of some of the food I eat over the next couple of days.