Contrary to the perception that a vegan diet is restrictive, I find myself spoilt for choice. I consume as much or as little as I like and gain no weight (other than muscle gain from the gym); if that is not a bonus for us females, I could not tell you what is! Answering the following questions: “So what can you actually eat?” or “How do you get protein and calcium?”is not an unfamiliar occurrence, in fact I often find myself defending the misconception that meat and dairy are essential for protein and calcium intake. Therefore, I decided to blog a daily food diary to answer both these questions and in turn demonstrate how rich in variety being Vegan can be. Becoming Vegan may seem daunting when meat and dairy consumption is part of your everyday routine; however I hope this blog post can replicate the feeling of inspiration and guidance I gained from Vegan food blogs throughout my transition. I am considering writing a week’s food diary with recipe ideas for each meal time to ease the transition process for aspiring Vegan’s, if this is something you would find helpful please leave a comment or direct message on my instagram page jennadickens_x
There are so many breakfast options I could explore with you but my go to breakfast has to be peanut butter and banana bagels or a berry smoothie. However, if you are a cereal lover simply trade in your baby cow’s growth hormones (MILK) for an alternative, for example almond milk, soya milk, coconut milk.. we are simply spoilt for choice! Early morning’s are not my thing so a quick breakfast is always the answer for me!
Option 1 – Bagels and Green Tea. This simple breakfast of toasted bagels, peanut butter spread and sliced banana’s contains protein (peanut butter), slow releasing energy and reduces depression and anxiety (bananas).. Not to mention the various positive effects of green tea: contains antioxidants that help fight disease, improves brain function and aids the digestive system reducing bloating.
Option 2 – Berry Smoothie. I am forever grateful for my Nutri Ninja that never fails me when I am in a rush (most mornings) but it certainly would not be as effective without the likes of frozen fruit! This is simply the best option for smoothies, not only does frozen fruit have a longer expiry date but is also packed with more nutrition than non-frozen fruit as it contains less preservatives. The Summer Fruits frozen fruit bag from Aldi is only £1.49 including red berries, blackberries and raspberries (a must have for the freezer). Simply throw a handful of frozen summer fruits into a blender with a sliced banana, fill the blender halfway with water and whizz for 15 seconds.. Breakfast made fast! Berries are fantastic for providing the body with antioxidants preventing stress related illnesses, for example migraines.
Lunch was my trickiest meal of the day when transitioning to Vegan as I was very much in a routine of having sandwiches and as most people are aware sandwich fillers often contain meat or dairy. I started off making wholemeal sandwiches with Vitalife sunflower spread, Vegan mozzarella from a local whole food store and red onion, adding crisps and a piece of fruit for ease. However, as my knowledge of ingredients increased I grew more confident in preparing food and became more creative. Although I still enjoy quick fixes such as chickpea salad or homemade sweet potato soup, I thought I would share two simple and fairly quick BUT more exciting lunch time offers.. Avocado boats and Vietnamese spring rolls.
Option 1 – Avocado Boats. To make this delicious summer time treat simply cut an avocado in half, removing the stone. Simmer a tin of mixed beans in water for around 10 minutes with 1/2 a teaspoon of cumin power, garlic powder and chilli flakes; meanwhile cutting a red onion and lightly covering the avocado in lime juice. Place the beans and onion inside the avocado, adding salsa and coriander for a little bit of spice. Serve with a side of nachos. This recipe takes around 15 minutes to make and is absolutely delicious, including protein through both the avocado and beans but also B6 nutrient which is said to be missing in a vegan diet *YAWNS*. Perfect as a pre-workout meal.
Option 2 – Vietnamese Spring Rolls (made easy in 30 mins!). Tesco’s offer a brilliant Vietnamese spring roll kit which contains rice paper, a peanut butter dipping sauce and noodles. Simply place the noodles in boiling water for a few minutes whilst preparing the vegetables: grated carrots, cucumber, sweetcorn and spinach. Remove the noodles from the hot water into another bowl. Absorb the rice paper in the hot water for 2 seconds, place on a plate, filling with vegetables and noodles.. Then roll. Continue to do this until all your spring rolls are prepared. Place the dipping sauce in its packaging into the hot water for a few minutes before pouring into a dipping pot. Enjoy this fairly quick but tasty Vietnamese delight full of protein and nutrition!
It was a pretty tough decision as to what two recipes to share for dinner as dinner is my favourite meal of the day, however I decided on stir fried noodles as this is my most used recipe and chickpea curry as this went down a treat when made for family. Other favourites include: Linda Mccartney’s seasoned vegetarian sausages with sweet potato mash, mushroom risotto and sticky tofu rice.
Option 1 – Go to Kale and Chickpea Curry. I followed a recipe from Emma’s Little Kitchen , a vegetarian whole food blog with to die for recipes! Due to my current obsession with Kale I slightly edited the recipe by trading spinach for kale; kale has 0% fat so is fantastic for dieters, aids digestion and is full of fibre and nutrients. Additionally, chickpea adds cruelty free protein to your meal with rice adding carbohydrates and tomatoes tallying up your 5 a day! A very tasty, mildly spiced curry that went down a treat with the family.
Option 2 – Vegan Fried Noodles. Recipe from Simple Vegan Blog . After visiting Thailand I had a new found love for Asian food, becoming Vegan means Asian food can be ate in abundance as a lot of Asian recipes are easily adapted to a Vegan diet, if they do not already adhere to it. This simple 30 minute recipe is often used on a weekly basis for me; packing in plenty of vegetables (can use left overs) for essential nutrients and minerals with such a yummy taste. If wanting to add protein to your meal, simply add tofu and fry with the vegetables! This recipe will not disappoint your taste buds.
If you have a sweet tooth like myself, you are probably questioning how you can possibly live without chocolate or creamy desserts, the answer is you don’t have to! There are alternatives for absolutely everything dairy and lucky for us, accidentally vegan products too. Alternatives for chocolate include Moo Free chocolate available at Holland & Barrett or simply buy dark chocolate as many dark chocolates do not include dairy, my favourite is the sea salt chocolate available at Aldi’s. Accidentally vegan products include: oreo biscuits, skittles, star bursts, chilli heatwave doritos, marmite and so on..
Sunday’s call for baking!! My absolute favourite vegan dessert blog has to be Sophie’s Healthy Kitchen , not only does she provide amazing recipes that are mouth watering to think about but she is an incredible health coach that incorporates nutrition and health into her recipes and is always willing to advice on meal plans and exercise routines, I am very thankful for the new found friendship I have in Sophie. My favourite vegan dessert has to be either a blueberry and vanilla cake or blueberry muffins; both recipes can be found on Sophie’s blog.
Option 1 – Blueberry and vanilla cake. I slightly adapted to add grated vegan chocolate *chocoholic alert*. Sophie’s cake creation is the best cake I have ever tried with the sweetness of vanilla and the gooeyness of baked blueberries && it’s completely dairy free!
Option 2 – Blueberry breakfast muffins. These are high in antioxidants (blueberries) and fibre (oats), perfect for a pre-workout snack and 100% addictive!
Finally.. the woffler reaches the finish line! I would just like to leave you with the thought that a compassionate and cruelty free lifestyle is (1) not restrictive and (2) anything but detrimental to your health!! In fact following a plant based diet prevents meat and dairy related illnesses such as cancer, heart attacks and diabetes, not to mention the positive effects on the planet and animals.. Did you know that each day a vegan saves: 1100 gallons of water, 20lbs Co2 equivalent, 300 square feet of forested land, 45lbs of grain and 1 animals life!! In addition, despite the agriculture industry’s false ideology that meat and dairy are essential for protein and calcium intake, there are simply so many plant based alternatives that are not funding the slaughter of sentient beings, for example almond milk (calcium) and kidney beans (protein).
I truly hope I have been able to disprove this false ideology for you and if you are even considering transitioning to Vegan or have been inspired by plant based recipes from this blog, I will be overly content! Below is a comment box where you are more than welcome to leave a thought or question, please do not hesitate to contact, I am more than happy to help. Additionally, if you would find a vegan food diary consisting of a weeks worth of meal time recipes helpful to ease transitioning please let me know and I will create a few for the blog!
“Be the Change you Want to see in the World”