Vegan Challenge | Day 11 – 15

Half way!

I have found sticking to vegan to be a pretty straightforward process. Because I eat a mainly vegetarian diet anyway, I don’t miss or crave the meat. Eggs I have missed now and again. Butter has been replaced with vegan spread, and I don’t love either, so that was simple. I have given up yoghurt, which I miss. Soy yoghurt tastes like cardboard to me and the popular brands contain all sorts of weird additional ingredients. Finally there is milk. There is one simple place that I have missed my milk: tea.

In order to overcome that I’ve switched to drinking white tea, which is pretty nice to drink (it’s not a British cuppa, but it’ll do). And I have the bonus added side effect of less caffeine, which has definitely helped my restless leg syndrome at night.

So all in all, no problemo.

Now I’m half way through, here are some downsides:

I am not sure that I am really eating any healthier. In fact, I think I might be eating less healthily than I was.

This is because the program (which we have loosely followed) relies on lots of shop-bought items, such as oven chips, veggie burgers, all different kinds of breads, and all different kinds of vegan substitutes (fake meat, milk, butter, yoghurt, eggs, etc). I have an intense distrust of fake foods, so have avoided many of them simply because I find them distasteful and would, for example, rather not eat meat at all than have fake meat. The amount of bread and carbs in general that I eat has gone up hugely over the last two weeks, and I am not feeling great about it. Shop-bought tortillas, and other breads, contain many dubious ingredients that I think we should keep out of our bodies. Before eating vegan I would have made salads, or had lots of boiled veg with feta, goats cheese, or sometimes meat, but instead I am eating carb-heavy options such as chips and tortillas with beans. Salads (for me) need something protein-based to make them into a good meal, but beans (which I have never really liked that much) just don’t do it for me 🙁

I am definitely not looking or feeling any better than I was before I started

I’ve had some bad problems with my skin breaking out – which I’ve attributed to vast amounts of dark chocolate. Not only that, but my eczema has been getting progressively worse.

Despite lots of veg and green smoothies, I think the high carb load I’m eating is really affecting me in a negative way. My eczema itches so much at night it is driving me crazy and no amount of cream seems to help. My skin has just been terrible this month too. In fact, my skin is so bad that I haven’t told many people  I’m eating vegan because I’m worried they will look at me and think I am crazy because it is clearly not doing me any good!!

I haven’t weighed in, but I don’t think my weight has changed at all (unlike my husband who has lost almost 5lb since we started).

I am going to try to reduce the carbs over the next two weeks, but in all honesty I think it is carbohydrates that are keeping me full and on-track. Without them maybe I’d be turning to meat, eggs or cheese to fill me up.

So, overall, I’m really not in love with this way of eating.

The nitty-gritty food diary:

Day 11

Breakfast
Muesli, strawberries, oat milk. Tea w/oat milk.
Snack
Green smoothie: mango, spinach, grape.
Lunch
Peanut butter sandwich with vegan spread. Grapes. Tea w/oat milk
Dinner
Home made mushroom curry, poppadoms, homemade peshwari nan, mango chutney

Day 12

Breakfast
Muesli, banana, oat milk. Tea w/oat milk.
Snack
Banana. White tea.
Lunch
Covent garden soup (roasted tomato). Homemade bread with vegan spread. Grapes. Decaf coffee w/coconut cream.
Dinner
Pasta, jar of sauce, chilli powder, spinach, mushrooms, tofu.
Headache all day. Terrible.
Pains in abdomen (back and front of lower ribs). Skin looking slightly better now I’ve stopped dark choc. Eczema really itching.

Day 13

Breakfast
Green smoothie: spinach, cucumber, lime, pineapple, strawberries, water. White tea.
Snack
1.5 bananas, cashews and raisins
Lunch
Chips and pitta and humus at pub, J2O apple mango drink.
Snack
White tea. Large handful raisins.
Dinner
Courgette, mushroom, tofu, pepper, rice noodles, wagamama chilli stir fry sauce.
Headach mild today. Still pain at bottom of ribs all round. Eczema playing up in night, really itching.

Day 14

Slept a bit better last night. Less restless.
Breakfast
Green smoothie: Pineapple, spinach, lime, grapes. Wholemeal home made bread, vegan spread, marmalade. White tea.
Snack
Banana.
Lunch
Covent garden soup (tomato and  roasted pepper), Wholemeal home made bread, vegan spread. Large mango.
Snack
White tea. 2 dark choc mint crisps
Dinner
Mushroom, onion, pepper, black beans. Fajita spice. Pitta bread. Home made guacamole, tortilla chips.

Day 15

Last night best nights sleep in weeks.
Breakfast
Muesli, strawberries, banana, almond milk. White tea.
Snack
White tea. 2 x darkchoc mint crisps
Lunch
Covent garden soup (tomato and roasted red pepper), home made bread and vegan spread. Grapes. Granola bar. Berry tea.
Snack 
Extra large green smoothie: spinach, carrot, cucumber, 1/2 pineapple, water and almond milk. 4 crackers.
Dinner
A lovely sundried tomato and spinach risotto (no cheese or butter!).

7 thoughts on “Vegan Challenge | Day 11 – 15

  1. Interesting. Do you think you have a wheat allergy? I don’t think I could ever go vegan but I have enjoyed hearing your updates. I agree with you that taking away one thing only to add a substitute filled with a host of new additives can’t be all that good for our bodies. I applaud you for doing this!

  2. Looking quickly through your food log, it seems the factor you are missing and which may be prompting your heavy reliance on fiber/carbs is good oils. Have you tried adding nuts and seeds rich in omega-3s and -6s? These are satisfying and packed not only with good fats, but are a great source of complete proteins. Walnuts, flax and chia seeds are among the most nutrition-packed. Chia and flax (grind fresh flax to get the benefit) are virtually tasteless, so they can be added to just about anything, soups, smoothies, desserts, salads, etc. Walnuts and other nuts add flavor and texture. Olive oil and coconut oil are also important vegan foods. They are so good for you, are satisfying, and they may help alleviate skin problems (as may the nuts and seeds).

    It takes some research, but it’s entirely possible to create a good vegan diet without relying on packaged foods with additives and unknown ingredients.

    You’re on such a good track! I’m pulling for you!!!

    • I hadn’t thought about eating more nuts and seeds. I tend to steer away from too many nuts but they are delicious with everything 🙂 I often grab them to snack on, but hadn’t thought of including them in main meals. Thank you!

  3. I can’t blame you for not wanting to add fake food (or non-food, as I call it) into your diet. Be careful around taking in too much soy product as well, Rose. If you haven’t, check out my last post on Monsanto. It may have turned me off soy forever (or at least a lot less soy than I have been eating…).

    A nutritionist at that BLR resort I visited told us that if you were to put out a scoop of butter and a scoop of margarine (or other fake butter) and less be it outside, animals would eat the real butter immediately. The fake stuff, including margarine, would go completely untouched. Animals know, instinctively, that it’s not food. Yet we buy and eat this stuff…

    Good luck in your last two weeks!

    • Your Monsanto post is terrifiying – I’m still deciding if I can bear to watch! I’m v wary of soy, although the EU is much stricter on GMO and we don’t have so much exposure to it here (yet). I’ve read your post twice now and those practices makes me feel sick for the future of the world and its people. So fascinating about the butter/margarine experiment. Eugh. Why can’t we all just eat real food and put all these crap corporations and companies out of business??

      • I know Rose. I know.
        If you can stomach it, have a look at the film. The beginning focuses on all the nastiness of GMOs and altered food (and you’d be surprised at how much of those crops are in Europe…) and then later it gets into the more sinister business practices that are killing local farmers. Very scary.

  4. Even though I can’t see myself pursuing something like this myself, my hat is off to you for your efforts! And I do find it fascinating. And some of your dinners in particular sound really scrumptious! Wanna come cook for me? 🙂

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