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…
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
🍃Tuesday – Lynne’s Chickpea Stew with Salad and Homemade Sundried Tomato Bread
🍃Wednesday – Marissa’s Sweet Potato Chilli
🍃Thursday – Alice’s Green Quinoa Salad
🍃Friday – “My” Vietnamese Bun-Cha with Hoisin Tofu
To indulge my love of baking I also made Peanut Butter Cookies.
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. :)”
Carly’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?