Kale, sweet potato and blueberry salad. Plus, reflections of a temporary vegan.

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So, it’s been a whole week without animal products and I’d love to say it’s been effortless but it hasn’t, and I’m a vegetarian! I’ve been irritable, tired and unable to focus. I even burnt the side of my face while I was curling my hair (this last part could have absolutely nothing to do veganism and everything to do with my dizziness). 

I’ve eaten out twice this week – the first was in a cafe which wasn’t particularly vegan friendly (but where is, let’s be honest).  They had soya milk and kindly offered to make me avocado on toast but I was disappointed at not being able to order the MAJORITY of the menu.  Most meals were vegetarian but contained eggs, feta or honey so I couldn’t have them.  In the end I asked for alternations and felt like a pain in the ass.  On a positive note, the second place I went to was Nando’s – I ordered a salad and some vegetable based sides, which turned out to be lovely. 

The eating out scenario made me question whether I could be vegan forever.  I barely drink alcohol or eat sugar and giving up these two things has been the best thing I ever did.  That said, at times I have felt on my own because our culture is set up around both of them.  Having to restrict myself further and consider every ingredient could be a massive inconvenience, not only for myself but for the people I am with.  However, if I passionately wanted to pursue veganism long term I’m sure I could deal with that and research different places to go.    

I’ve noticed that I’m not eating for the sake of it (bonus) because I can’t, my snacks and meals have to be well thought out. I’ve stopped adding cheese to absolutely everything which I’m sure is better for me. The salads taste nice, but I’m not as full without eggs or fish and I definitely feel hungry again quicker.  Over the next few weeks I’m going to bring extra food in with me so I’m not low on energy, like I have been throughout the day.

Not having cups of tea in the morning with cows milk has been completely fine.  It actually tastes nice with soya milk instead.  The only time I was bothered was when I stayed at my sisters and she didn’t have a milk alternative, so I couldn’t have one at all. I got over it though and had some hot water with lemon. I also went to the cinema (a very regular occurrence of mine) and the Costa at the Odeon didn’t have soya milk so I couldn’t have a hot drink which was frustrating – I literally love my tea.

I’ve definitely felt more bloated from the increase in fibre! I’m eating a lot of peanut butter and  snacking on energy balls that are made from dates and nuts as well.  And adding nuts to my salad.  And eating a handful of nuts as a snack.  Basically, I need to find alternative things to eat but a lot of vegan friendly foods contain these ingredients too.

I had my personal training session yesterday and I definitely felt low on energy.  I was doing front squats for six reps and on those last two I felt very light headed.  I’m almost certain I’m not getting the nutrition my body needs which may be because I need more of a certain food group, for example protein.  I did think about stopping being vegan yesterday but instead I’ll try one more thing – making sure there is protein with every meal in other forms as-well as nuts, for example beans, pulses and quinoa. 

The basis of this salad is my go to – kale with olive oil, tahini and salt.  I’ve also roasted sweet potato but you can roast any type of vegetable and it will be lovely.  I’ve also been experimenting recently with fruit in my salad and I’ve gotta say I’m on board.

Ingredients:
100g kale
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp tahini
1/4 tsp salt
1 sweet potato
50g almonds
50g blueberries
50g pumpkin seeds

Method:
I’m not entirely sure I need to write a method for this but firstly, pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and slice your sweet potato into even chunks.  Cover with olive oil and salt and allow to roast for thirty to forty minutes.  De-stalk the kale in a separate mixing bowl, add the olive oil and tahini and massage this into the kale (it breaks down the cell walls and makes the kale nice and chewy). Once the sweet potato is roasted, add to the salad with the other ingredients (almonds, blueberries and pumpkin seeds). 

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