So I’ve decided to go vegan for the month…….I’m not sure why either. BUT, there is a big emphasis on the word month because I have no desire to give up halloumi and scrambled egg forever, I just like discovering how I feel when I eliminate certain foods from my diet. I’ll also be blogging about it to take more notice of subtle changes and know what to alter (if anything) after the month is over.
When I gave up coffee I couldn’t get out of bed for around three days, I even felt depressed! No exaggeration, I definitely took some time to adjust. Eighteen months on and my energy levels feel much more balanced throughout the day. I no longer have caffeine crashes like I used to, when I was buying vanilla latte every morning on the way to work. I still drink a lot of tea (a lot) but tea contains slow releasing caffeine so the effect on my body is not as dramatic.
I’m hoping going vegan won’t be too much of an adjustment, especially as I’ve been a vegetarian since I was twenty three and I’ve never missed meat. I’ve also been experimenting on and off over the past six months with a reduced sugar diet. Unfortunately, I eat way too much sugar after a bad day and then handle it badly afterwards. Since I’ve stopped eating refined sugar, like biscuits and desserts off a food menu, I feel so much happier. I have much more head space because I’m not battling with myself anymore about whether I deserve a treat or not.
Since reducing my sugar in-take (I say reduced because I still eat fruit, bread and other foods that indadvertedly contain sugar) people have asked me how I ‘treat’ myself. The answer is, not with shit. Feeling guilty doesn’t feel like a treat to me anymore. Plus, I still indulge on healthier alternatives like dates and peanut butter. Peanut butter though.
For me, it’s not about staying slim it’s about feeling free of addiction and it wouldn’t be extreme to admit I’ve been addicted to sugar in the past.
My first hurdle appeared while I was doing my food shop online. I definitely had a lot less options to choose from – stating the obvious I guess. I do all my shopping with Ocado (I have no idea where I used to find the time to go to Asda).
Throughout the week in work, I eat a lot of salads but they contain halloumi and feta and neither of those are vegan friendly, so no cheese. I then decided to put Manuka honey in my basket thinking that would be a healthier sweetener to go on the 99% cacao lindt chocolate I’ve been eating recently. No, but luckily I actually prefer maple syrup so it will just be a case of stocking up on it.
The main things I have substituted in my first week are:
-Cows milk (I know the hormones in dairy milk are amongst the many things that aren’t great for you, but I do much prefer my tea with this in it). I’ve changed it for cashew and soya milk. I’ve also ordered a range of teas to make sure I have hot drinks to enjoy. Apple and elderflower green tea and white tea are my top choices.
-Honey. I’ve substituted this for rice malt and maple syrup.
-Cheese. There is no substitute for cheese, like there isn’t for eggs. I’ll just see how I get on without it.
-Salmon. I occasionally buy smoked salmon because salmon and eggs is such an easy option for me when I get in from work at 8.30pm. I’ve opted for stir fries this first week as another quick option.
-Finally, I’m considering what to do when I go home at the weekends. My Mum and Dad are so supportive with everything I do, and they always buy in my favourite fruits and vegetables. However, they don’t always have almond milk etc so I’ll have to forward plan a little bit more and buy some vegan friendly alternatives to take with me.
The recipe for these Salted Almond and Chocolate Balls is below:
-200g ground almond
-200g medjool dates
-4 tbsp almond butter
-2 tbsp cacao powder
-1 tbsp coconut oil
-1/2 tsp sea sat
Add the ground almonds, salt and cacao powder to your food processor and blend until combined (thirty seconds). Add the almond butter and coconut oil and pulse until it has started to mix in. Finally, pit and add your dates one at a time to the blender, while the blender is on (this is so the dates don’t stick together in one clump and the food processor isn’t over loaded). You will need a tbsp of the mixture for each energy ball. If you find the mixture is too dry, add more almond butter or coconut oil. If it is too wet, then add more almond flour. They are ready to eat straight away but you can put them in the fridge for thirty minutes and the coconut oil will set again. They should be stored in the fridge.
Speak next week.