Peanut Butter & Banana “Cheesecake” – vegan friendly

Who doesn’t love a good cheesecake? Creamy, rich, indulgent… And you’d have thought that being vegan means giving up on decadent treats such as these, but you’d be wrong.

I love finding a dairy-free, vegan friendly alternative to some of my old favourites, and this one is sure to impress even your non-vegan friends.

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The perfect combination of deliciously crunchy base, created from homemade Dark Chocolate Digestive Biscuits, and creamy smooth “cheesecake” topping of blended, protein-rich cashews and peanut butter.

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The banana element gives this cheesecake a hint of Banoffee Pie, which let’s face it, is never a bad thing!

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PEANUT BUTTER + BANANA “CHEESECAKE” WITH DARK CHOCOLATE DIGESTIVE BASE

Now obviously you could buy the biscuits for the base, and choose practically any type you want (Oreos – vegan friendly – work great!), but these digestives are so easy to make, and I like knowing I’ve created something entirely from scratch.

Author: My Vegan Kitchen

Recipe Type: Dessert

Cuisine: Vegan

Serves: 8 – 12

Ingredients

BASE (makes 10 so you have some leftover for eating)

  • 170g wholemeal flour
  • 170g medium oatmeal
  • 150g cold vegan butter, diced
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 55g dark muscovado sugar
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 2-3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 150g vegan dark chocolate (optional)

FILLING

  • 2 bananas
  • 2 cups cashews
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup maple syrup (or your choice of liquid sweetener)
  • ¾ cup peanut butter (your preference of smooth or crunchy)

CHOCOLATE GANACHE TOPPING

  • ¾ cup vegan dark chocolate
  • 50ml coconut milk

 

Instructions

For the biscuits (if making):

  1. Preheat your oven to 170C degrees and in a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour and oatmeal. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (best to get dirty and use your hands for this bit).
  2. Mix in the bicarb, sugar and salt, adding just a little almond milk to bring it all together to a dough-like consistency. Flatten in to a disk, wrap in clingfilm chill for at least 30 minutes (like pastry, this makes it easier to roll out and cut in to biscuit shapes).
  3. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper and set aside. Roll out your biscuit “dough” between 2 sheets of clingfilm, to around 4-5mm thick, then cut out your biscuits. Arrange on your baking trays, leaving a small gap in between each, prick each one several times with a fork and bake for between 12-15 minutes. Baking time will depend on you oven and whether you prefer your biscuits to be soft or crisp (crisp is probably better for the purpose of your cheesecake base).
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, whilst you melt your chocolate (if using) over a saucepan of simmering water. Remember this step is optional, you may only want to coat the biscuits you won’t be using for the cheesecake base, but I did them all so my base would have little chunks of chocolate!
  5. To coat biscuits, dunk one side in to the melted chocolate, repeating to build up layers, set aside to cool.

For the base:

  1. If not still on, preheat your oven to 180C degrees and, using either a food processor or a good, old fashioned rolling pin, crush up 140g of your biscuit choice. Add 5 tbsp of melted coconut oil and mix together.
  2. Lightly grease a 20cm cake tin, either spring form or one with a removable base is best. Fill the bottom of cake tin with your crushed biscuit mixture, and use either the back of a spoon or a small cup to pack it down tightly and as evenly as possible.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes, remove and set aside to cool.
  4. Add you bananas, cashews, lemon juice, coconut oil, coconut milk, maple syrup and peanut butter to a blend a blend together until very smooth. This will take around 4 – 5 minutes and you’ll probably need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides to mix back together a couple of times.
  5. If your peanut butter doesn’t already contain salt, you may want to season with a pinch at this point. Also, if your mixture is too thick, you can add a little more coconut milk to loosen.
  6. Pour evenly over your cool biscuit base and set aside. At this point you can either put in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours – although overnight is best – or you can whip up whatever toppings and decorations you want to add. For example:

For the chocolate ganache:

  1. Heat 50ml of coconut milk over a low heat, bringing it to a simmer. Meanwhile break up ¾ cup of vegan dark chocolate (I like Green & Blacks) in a small heat proof mixing bowl and, once the coconut milk is bubbling, pour it over the chocolate. Then just leave it for 3 – 4 minutes, before stirring and mixing together. Have a taste at this point, as you may want to sweeten with a little maple syrup. I however I like mine a little bitter, to combat the richness of the cheesecake.
  2. Spoon your ganache over the top of your cheesecake, in whatever pattern takes your fancy. Go wild, be as creative as you like! Once you’ve exhausted your creativity, pop your cheesecake in the fridge to set, as stated above, for at least 3 hours.
  3. Once set, remove your cheesecake from its tin and serve! I like to serve mine with a bit of salted caramel sauce, veganised from this recipe from Jamie Oliver’s website, and any leftover ganache.

Oil- free Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

Yesterday I dedicated a whole, rather lengthy, post to the wonder that is the humble sweet potato.
  
Today I am sharing with you my first attempt at baking Oil-free Spicy Sweet Potato Fries. Having seen many an Instagram post of other people’s delicious looking oil-free fries, I wanted to give it a go myself, so here goes…

Ingredients

  • 1 x medium sweet potato per person, washed, sliced and chopped in to chunky fries, skin left on
  • Spices of choice – I used smoked paprika + cayenne pepper
  • Seasoning of freshly ground black peppercorns + pink Himalayan sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Put sweet potatoe fries in a mixing bowl and add seasoning + spices. The amount of each will be determined by the size of your sweet potato & how many portions you are making. You want to have a good covering on all sides.
  3. Put fries on a baking tray, in 1 layer and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until they have started to brown.
  4. Remove tray from oven, turn over or toss fries and replace in oven for another 10-15 minutes.
  5. Remove when golden on all sides and serve.

  
Cooking times will vary depending on how many fries you’re making and the power of your oven, so best to keep an eye on them.

And that’s it. I served mine with a delicious homemade guacamole; made with 1/2 avocado, chopped baby plum tomatoes, diced red onion + lashing of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

  
Anyone else have any oil-free recipes or tip they’d like to share? Let me know!

Vegan Spicy Carrot + Walnut Cake

Vegan Spicy Carrot + Walnut Cake with Zingy Lemon + Cashew Frosting

The original version of this recipe produced 12 deliciously spicy Carrot & Walnut Cupcakes, but more recently I’ve been turning it in to a slightly more grown up cake.

The recipe remains fundamentally the same, however I swapped the gluten-free brown rice flour for spelt flour. The taste and texture of spelt compliments the other flavours, and although it means the recipe is no longer suitable for people with coeliac disease, spelt flour does have slightly fewer calories than wheat flour and is somewhat higher in protein. It’s also easy to digest, but is lower in fibre than wheat.

The new recipe has proved popular with friends, family and the patrons of Palmers Green Market N13, so I thought I’d share it with you. I am also working on a refined sugar-free version of this recipe, so keep your eyes open for that too.

As previous, you can pretty much make the cake itself by hand, but you will need a high powered blender for the cashew frosting.



INGREDIENTS

For the cake:

· 2 ¼ cups of organic spelt flour, I like Doves

· 3 tsp baking powder

· 1 tsp baking soda

· 3 tsp cinnamon

· ½ tsp nutmeg

· 1 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt

· ½ applesauce (I make my own sugar-free, recipe here)

· 1 cup almond milk

· 2 tsp vanilla extract

· 1 cup light brown cane sugar

· ½ cup coconut oil, melted

· 3 large carrots, peeled and grated

· 1 cup crushed walnuts, plus extra halves for decoration

For the icing:

· 1 cup cashews

· ¼ cup almond milk

· ¼ cup maple syrup

· 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

· 1 tsp vanilla extract

· 2 tsp fresh lemon juice

· ½ tsp pink Himalayan sea salt

METHOD

For the cake:

1. Preheat oven to 180C

2. Grease your 9 x 5 inch cake tin, and line with grease proof paper in preparation – this will make it easier to remove from the tin once baked

3. Sieve spelt flour in to a large mixing bowl and whisk together with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt (I used a Kitchen Aid to mix, but it’s just as easy by hand)

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the applesauce, almond milk, vanilla, sugar and coconut oil

5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together

6. Fold in the grated carrots and crushed walnuts

7. Pour cake mixture in to your cake tin

8. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes – cooking times may vary according to you oven, so keep checking on your cake. You want it to be a deep golden brown colour, but still springy to the touch. It’s ready when you can pull a toothpick out clean

9. Remove your cake from its tin and leave to cool on a wire rack, while you turn your attention to the zingy cashew icing

For the icing:

10. Place all the icing ingredients in to a powerful food processor (I used a Vitamix) and blend together, slowly at first increasing the power as you go, until you have a thick, smooth icing

11. Depending on your taste buds you can add a little more maple syrup or lemon juice, but be careful not to thin the mixture too much as you want it to hold its form once on your cake. If too thin, blend in a few more cashew nuts to thicken again

12. Chill in your fridge for at least 30 mins. You want the mixture to be firm, but still pliable enough to ice your cake

13. Once chilled, smooth your icing across the top of your cake – I find a silicon spatula does the job quite well

14. Divide in to slices and top each one with half a walnut as decoration

Best served straight away, but as per the original recipe, any left overs can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for around 2-3 days.

As per my previous cupcake post, I’ll reiterate that you don’t need to soak your cashews overnight before making you icing. I used to do this, but always found the mixture too wet, and as long as your food processor is powerful enough, soaking isn’t necessary.

So that’s that. An update on an old personal favourite. Let me know what you think of the new (and improved?) recipe. Come back soon for more vegan recipes and reviews, but in the meantime take a look at my Instagram @my_vegan_kitchen

Coco’s Honest Kitchen

Last weekend I finally did something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I spent 13 hours baking on Saturday, then on Sunday I sold the results of my hard work at my very own market stall at Palmer’s Green’s Market N13.

  
Everything I sold was homemade, organic and of course, most importantly, vegan.

 
Everything went down a storm, especially my Vegan Carrot + Walnut Cake with Cashew Frosting…

  

And my gluten-free Vegan Chocolate + Coconut  Torte with Almond Crust.
 
My Vegan Fruity + Nutty Flapjacks were also popular.

 
It was hard work and an exhausting weekend, but it was a great experience. So much so that you’ll find me and my vegan treats there again Sunday 21st June. Come find me and treat your Dad to a slice of homemade vegan cake (it’s Father’s Day, by the way!).

I’ve even been working on some more gluten- free recipes for you celiacs and sugar-free options if you’re diabetic.

 
I’ll have samplers out (no abusing, people!) so you can have a taste to find your favourite.

 Oh and not to boast, but one lovely little girl told me that my cupcake was the best cake she’d ever eaten… Out of the mouths of babes!

  
Check out my Instagram @CocosHonestKitchen or Facebook page with the same name, for more info. Hope to you see there!

Vegan No Pasta Lasagna Al Forno

One of my favourite things that my Mum used to cook (pre-veganism, so carnivorous of course) was Lasagna. We used to have it with salad, which I’d smother in some kind of fat laden dressing, but it was comforting & I loved it.

Today I’ve made a healthier & vegan version, with no pasta in sight, and I plan to eat for dinner tonight with salad again, but this time minus the unhealthy, fatty dressing.

Here’s what you’ll need :

🌱 1 x large onion, diced. I used red but brown would work fine too
🌱 2 x carrots, peeled & diced 
🌱 3 x large chestnut mushrooms, cleaned & chopped in to chunks
🌱 3 x garlic cloves, peeled, crushed & diced
🌱 1/2 red chilli, deseeded, sliced & diced
🌱 1 x tsp of each of the following herbs, fresh or dried : rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage & basil (you can play around with these)
🌱 2 x bay leaves
🌱 Small glass of vegan red wine – I was told never to cook with anything you wouldn’t drink, so bear that in mind
🌱 2 x tins chopped tomatoes
🌱 1 x tbsp tomato purée
🌱 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed but no need to soak as these will simmer
🌱Seasoning

These are optional, depending on what you prefer to use instead of lasagna pasta sheets :

🌱 1 1/2 x aubergines, sliced
🌱 1 x large courgette, sliced
🌱1 x small bag of spinach
🌱 1 x slice of bread (I used a spelt & rye loaf), blended to breadcrumbs
🌱 1 x tsp vegan friendly dairy free cheese sauce mix (I used Free + Easy)

And here’s how to :

  1. Preheat oven to 180-200C
  2. Heat some oil (I used coconut) in a large saucepan or casserole dish and fry the onion and carrot until softened, before adding mushrooms, garlic + chilli and continuing to fry
  3. Once cooked, add herbs and then deglaze pan with red wine
  4. Add tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, seasoning & red lentils and simmer until sauce thickens
  5. In the mean time, use a griddle pan to fry the aubergine and courgette – top tip : once sliced, sprinkle salt on your aubergine + courgette slices to draw out the moisture
  6. Remove bay leaves and create your pasta-free lasagna by piling spinach, tomato veggie mixture, aubergine, courgette – in what ever order you fancy – top tip : the spinach, aubergine + courgette contain a lot of natural water so make sure that your tomato veggie lentil mixture sauce has reduced right down or your finished lasagna will be very wet
  7. Sprinkle your breadcrumb + dairy free cheese mixture on top and bake in oven for about 25-30 minutes – final top tip : I covered with tin foil for the first 10 minutes of baking, pricking little holes in the foil to let the steam escape
spinach
tomato, veggies, lentils

aubergine
  
courgette
  
breadcrumbs

 Serve with your choice of side dish.

Coconut Oil – Fan Facts

Fun fact about Coconut Oil –     


Did you know it’s actually a metaboliser?


Lots of people stay away from coconut oil because of the high saturated fat content. However it contains a unique combination of medium chain fatty acids that can actually help you to lose weight, especially around your tummy.


These fatty acids boost your metabolism for immediate energy, but the best part is that even if you don’t immediately use up this energy, coconut oil fatty acids don’t get stored on the body as fat, unlike the long chain fatty acids found in other foods. This can help to lower your risk of heart disease and obesity, so eat up!


I have also stumbled across these 67 Proven Uses for Coconut Oil on Palao Magazine website.






British Pie Week : Vegan Mushroom Pie

This week has been British Pie week. My mum celebrated by making a goats cheese & caramelised red onion pie on Monday. I know it’s not vegan, but they’re carnivores and it was at least for Meat Free Monday.

I wanted to celebrate the week in my own little vegan way so today I made a vegan Mushroom, Butternut Squash & Spinach Pie.



Aware of the health benefits of brown rice, I adapted a regular pastry recipe, veganising it using brown rice flour.

10 Health Benefits of Brown Rice Flour :

🌱1. Rich in Selenium promoting decreased risk of cancer, heart disease and arthritis

🌱2. High in Manganese to help you body synthesise fats

🌱3. Rich in naturally occurring oils to normalise cholesterol levels

🌱4. High dietary fiber content promotes weight loss maintaining bowel regularity

🌱5. A whole grain reduces the risk of heart disease keeping cholesterol low

🌱6. Rich in antioxidants, similar levels to blueberries and strawberries

🌱7. Natural high fiber content can prevent colon cancer

🌱8. Slow release of sugar stabilises blood sugar reducing rush of diabetes

🌱9. Great as baby food due to high natural nutrition

🌱10. Can be used to treat yeast infections in women by helping over sensitive digestive systems heal from overgrowth of candida organisms

I was originally going to make a Moroccan spiced pie but when I woke up this morning, I just didn’t fancy it. I know, it was 8am, who fancies Morccoan cuisine at that time in the morning, right? But I had already started thinking of mushrooms.

I love mushrooms. I wonder if this love stemmed from my sister’s “allergy” when we were younger; I’d always get her share – you’d think it might have made me sick of them, but au contraire! 

I’ve always enjoyed a mushroom, even more so since becoming vegan. Portobello mushrooms in particular are just so “meaty” and versatile; fry them, grill them, stir fry them, dry them, stuff them… But today I wanted them in a pie.

The ingredients



ignore the broccoli, i was going to serve with it


For the pastry base :

🌱 300g flour (I used a mixture, equal parts brown rice flour, almond flour, plain flour)

🌱 50g vegan margarine (I used Pure)

🌱 3-4 tbsp unsweetened almond milk

🌱 1/2 tsp organic sea salt

🌱1/2 tsp baking powder

For the pastry lid :

🌱 200g flour (as above)

🌱 30g vegan margarine

🌱2-3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk

🌱 1/4 tsp organic sea salt

🌱1/4 tsp baking powder

For the filling :

🌱 500g fresh mushrooms (I used 250g portobello + 250g chestnut), sliced

🌱 1/2 butternut squash, peeled + deseeded

🌱 2x red onions, peeled + sliced in to chunks

🌱 Generous handful spinach

🌱 2x tsp sage (can use dried or fresh)

🌱 2 tsp rosemary (again dried or fresh finely chopped)

🌱 2x garlic cloves, finely sliced

🌱 Handful of pine nuts

🌱 200ml vegan vegetable stock (as always, I used Bouillon)

🌱 Coconut oil to cook in

🌱 Ground pepper + organic sea salt for seasoning

How to :

  1. Preheat oven to 180-200C
  2. Mix all the pastry base & top ingredients together separately and knead until combined to a pastry-like constistency
  3. Use 2 sheets of greaseproof paper to roll out the pastry base/top until thin & large enough to fill/cover your desired pie case
  4. Place your base pastry in the pie case, trim edges, using any cut offs to fill in any holes
  5. Line pastry with greaseproof paper + fill with baking peas, rice or lentils, to blind bake for about 10 minutes before removing the baking peas and returning to the oven again for 5 minutes more
  6. Whilst your pastry base is baking, start on your filling. Melt some coconut oil in a large frying pan and fry red onions until soft, should take about 10 minutes
  7. In a separate pan, melt a little more coconut oil and begin to fry your chosen mushrooms
  8. Once onions are softened, add butternut squash to the pan and fry together for a further 10 minutes, after which you can add garlic, rosemary, sage + seasoning
  9. Your pastry base should be blind baked by now, remove from over & allow to cool
  10. Add spinach & cooked mushrooms to the onion + butternut squash, stirring to combine and let the spinach wilt
  11. Stir in the vegetable stock and allow to coat your pie filling, reducing if you need to
  12. Pile your filling in to pastry base, sprinkle pine nuts on top, then cover with pastry top, pricking about 6 small holes in the lid to allow steam to cook
  13. At this point you can either allow to cool & refrigerate until needed, or wash with almond milk and bake in over for about 30-35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and pie is emitting a delicious mushrooms aroma
  14. Serve!



Next time I might add tofu to this pie but as I was eating this with my non-vegan parents, I left it out this today. Feel free to play with the filling quantities. I used more mushrooms in mine, but you could swap and use more butternut squash in yours. Chives might also be a nice addition. 

Pie week is over now but there’s always a reason for pie so give it a go and let me know your recipe and how you get on.

Weekend Plans?

This is the first weekend I’ve had in a while that is completely free.

After a long week of Birthday celebrations & a late night Jivamukti session at Training Temple in Enfield last night, I treated myself to a lie in this morning.

Here’s how I plan to spend the rest of my free dream weekend :

1. Home yoga practice – check ✔️
2. Make myself some Deliciously Ella Vegan Banana Pancakes for breakfastcheck✔️

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3. Catch up on this week’s Scandal – in progress
4. Take my pups to lunch with my bestie, Amy
5. Take a leisurely walk, either to Inspiral in Camden or SSOV in King Cross
6. Then movies & vegan take out at home tonight

Tomorrow will include more yoga, coffee with the boyf, pup walks, topped off with drinks + band watching with yogi friends in the evening!

So my question to you, if you could spend it however you wish, what would your dream weekend include?

🍃Would you see friends or indulge in some alone time?

🍃Exercise or pamper?

🍃Veg or venture out?

🍃Foods and drinks or an intense juice cleanse?

Vegan (but very naughty) Chocolate Chunk Cookies

It’s been a week of birthdays at work, with one more still to come next week; mine! So I’ve been baking a variety of sweet vegan treats.

I went mainstream (read “sugary”) with these chocolate chunk cookies. I find they go down the best with non-vegans and proves that it is possible to have your fave naughty treats whilst on a plant based diet.

I’ve been trying to keep the dreaded added sugar out of my diet recently, but even I succumbed to these – I ate 2, straight out of the oven – oops!

IMG_2394warm & gooey

This recipe makes about 15 large cookies :

What you’ll need :

🍪 150g unrefined light brown sugar
🍪 250g unrefined plain flour
🍪 100g dark chocolate, chopped in to chunks
🍪 125g dairy-free margarine
🍪 100g maple syrup
🍪 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

And how you do it :

Preheat your oven to 180C
Cream together the sugar + margarine

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Mix in the maple syrup + vanilla extract
Then slowly add the flour, bit by bit, mixing as you go

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Lastly add your dark chocolate chunks

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Spoon on to a lined baking tray and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown

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Remove from the oven, leave the cookies on the baking paper but cool on a wire rack. Or do as I did and eat – just to check they’re ok, of course!

Here are the brands I used because they are suitable for vegans :

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This cookie recipe is pretty versatile and could be adapted to make lots of other cookies flavours. Why not try adding peanut butter or nuts too?

Roundup of Veganuary Vegan for 1 Week

As a thank you for helping a colleague out at work, she said she’d be vegan for 1 week during Veganuary. After much discussions, 6 more girls jumped on board, and this is how me +6 meat eaters +1 veggie embarked on 1 week of veganism for Veganuary.

Between us we devised a cunning plan to make it an easy transition for everyone : 5 of us would make a lunch that everyone could share, the others would provide snacks and vegan staples like almond milk, Pure olive spread, fruit etc.

After much discussion about what is and isn’t considered vegan (honey was a bit of a debating point!), everyone embarked on a weekly shop to stop up on all things vegan, sending me photos for confirmation along the way…

IMG_2307Faye’s shop

IMG_2306Marissa’s stash

Each day we were treated to new recipes, details of which are in separate posts, all the links are below.
Here’s a roundup of our findings, along with everyone’s amazing vegan recipes – Lynne’s homemade sundried tomato bread was a personal favourite!

🍃Monday – Amy’s Roasted Vegetables with Houmous and Salad in Pitta Breads

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🍃Tuesday – Lynne’s Chickpea Stew with Salad and Homemade Sundried Tomato Bread

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🍃Wednesday – Marissa’s Sweet Potato Chilli

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🍃Thursday – Alice’s Green Quinoa Salad

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🍃Friday – “My” Vietnamese Bun-Cha with Hoisin Tofu

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To indulge my love of baking I also made Peanut Butter Cookies.

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There were 3 girls who unfortunately (Faye might say “thankfully”) didn’t have an opportunity to cook. Here are their finding of the week:

🍃First up – Faye :

“My thoughts on the week:

🌿Originally, I didn’t think that I would’ve been able to do it, but I found it relatively easy and didn’t have too many cravings for non-vegan foods e.g. my faves like cheese, cakes, sweets etc…

🌿I enjoyed doing it; it was fun to eat together and discuss our meals and get ideas from each other.

🌿I loved trying new foods – I hadn’t previously had tofu or Quinoa but was pleasantly surprised!

🌿Shopping was very hard, it can be timely and expensive to find alternatives – you really have to do your planning and prep beforehand!

🌿I felt extremely full for the week, to the point of discomfort and felt very bloated. My body didn’t seem to react well to the change in diet for the first few days

🌿Picking up snacks on the go is hard as you have to be really careful of what you can eat.

🌿I didn’t find it all that sociable outside of work as I would have to eat a separate meal to family.

🌿I went out for dinner to Banana Tree based on a recommendation and the Veg Stir Fry was delicious, as was the fried dough. I will definitely visit again and didn’t miss the meat in the meal that I had.

🌿Finding restaurants to eat out at was hard and you have to ensure your friends are on board and don’t mind going somewhere off the beaten track to cater for vegan needs.

🌿I thought it would end up being a bit of a diet – a healthy week but I actually ended up putting on 3-4 pounds!

🌿All in all, an eye opener and I think on reflection I have more vegan meals that I thought…even my lunch today is vegan!

🌿I will definitely be adding chick peas, quinoa, sweet potato chili, coconut milk and Pure spread to my shopping lists in the future”

🍃Next – Hannah :

“🌿Loved trying new things! Had never tried Chickpeas, Tofu and Quinoa and I liked them all!
🌿Surprised at how many meals you can make without meat
🌿Best news was finding out that Oreo’s were Vegan
🌿Was really fun to do it in a group and all have lunches together
🌿The Vegan Flapjacks were amazing
🌿Surprised at how much I didn’t actually miss meat that much. It was more the little snacky things, like a chocolate bar or my daily Mini Cheddars!

The things I found difficult:
🌿The sudden change in diet did make me feel really bloated and quite sick by about Wednesday but that was probably just because it was such a change and only for a short time
🌿I found eating out was difficult! I had planned to go to Nando’s and couldn’t have chicken!! The peri peri houmous and pitta is amazing but not such a fan of the veggie burger – sorry!”

🍃Last but not least – Carly (+ her yummy vegan flapjack recipe) :

“I’ve made some notes –

🌿Being a Vegetarian, I was curious to try a Vegan diet for general Health & Wellbeing reasons.

🌿I thought it would be extremely difficult to find things to eat. As a Vegetarian, I know how limited the options can be, particularly when eating out or in the canteen at work. I also thought some of the Vegan recipes looked/sounded a little dull and unappealing. I love my tea and always drink Soya Milk instead of regular milk so knew that wouldn’t be an issue!

🌿I didn’t find it as difficult as I originally thought when eating out or in the canteen at work. There was always something I could have. When faced with a restricted diet, I managed to resist some of the more unhealthy meals and treats that I would normally succumb to. I was pleasantly surprised by all of the Vegan meals and recipes I tried throughout the course of the week. They were far tastier than they looked and sounded.

🌿I occasionally felt hungry late afternoon during the week, however that is fairly typical for me. I haven’t felt particularly bloated. I did suffer from a sore stomach early on in the week but don’t feel that it was linked to the diet.

🌿I haven’t noticed any difference in my sleep patterns or amounts of energy, however I’m sure that I would over a longer period of time.

🌿I have eaten in the Canteen several times this week, when I ate a Jacket Potato with Lentil Curry and salad, Jacket Potato with Bean Chilli, Chickpea and Butternut Squash Curry with Rice. On Wednesday I ate in a local restaurant. I struggled to find anything on the menu that was Vegan so took the Veggie Burger (Brioche Bun and Cheese removed), salad and switched the chips for their famous ‘Rice and Peas’.

🌿My partner is used to eating Vegetarian meals so really didn’t mind the new diet (though he was eating normally at work!) The Design team are guilty of snacking on unhealthy chocolates and sweets on a fairly regular basis so it was difficult not to partake in that! Again, I found it easier to say no on the Vegan diet than if I were simply trying to ‘be good’ and not eat unhealthy treats.

🌿I prepared ahead and found some recipes at the weekend to cook for the week, we are lucky in Crouch End there are lots of lovely Fruit & Vegetable shops as well as Health Food shops with everything you could possibly need. I know I would have found it much more difficult if I hadn’t done that. Walking into a shop like M&S which is mostly Ready Meals, I would have really struggled to pull a decent meal together. All in all, I think I will continue to eat a Vegetarian diet but will definitely continue to eat Vegan meals too so please continue to share your good recipes. :)”

IMG_2316Carly’s vegan flapjack cookies

I have chosen to live a vegan lifestyle and not consume any animal derived products, not only because I want to save animals (practicing yogic Ahimsa – non-violence), but also because I believe it to be the only sustainable diet. I think this was a great experiment and a good way to introduce people to a new type of diet. Often it’s not as scary as you think it is. I’m trying to convince them all to continue doing this 1 day / week, so we only have to prepare something once every 8 weeks, but for now I’m giving them a bit of a break. I think the bloating experienced by most could have been due to an increase in dietary fiber, and so the digestive system having to work harder. I think that over a longer period of time your body gets used to the change and you really start to feel the benefits : a better night’s sleep, more energy, improved sense of taste, clearer & brighter skin… And who wouldn’t want that?