I still owe you a third and last update on my 21 day vegan challenge, so here it is. I wanted to wait a little bit longer before my last update so I could have a full opinion of the three vegan weeks all together and how it affected me afterwards!
I’ll can start by saying that I never expected this diet to 1) be this easy and 2) influence me this much. I thought it would be really difficult to eat vegan for three weeks and continue to come up with interesting, tasty and varied meals. But the longer I did it, the easier it became. Okay, it’s a little bit more puzzling and it requires more preparation, but since I’m living at home at the moment it wasn’t too hard.
Regarding the second point, I honestly didn’t think too much about the ‘consequences’ of this challenge before I started. However during those three weeks, I really thought about this whole vegan thing a lot. I realised how many animal products we actually eat on a daily basis, and how unnecessary it is to eat these quantities. I’m not saying that consuming animal products is bad, but it’s good to think about it for once and realise that there are more alternatives out there. I found out that a more plant-based diet is much more pure than my ‘usual’ diet. It’s actually shocking how there’s nearly no vegan dishes on restaurant menus, and that every single dish contains something which came from an animal.
On the other hand, it also surprised me how many things I eat (and ate before) that are totally vegan. It’s ridiculous that some brands jump on the vegan-hype by putting a label on their products, I mean “vegan hummus”? When is hummus ever not vegan? Things like guacamole, hummus, peanut butter & rice crackers, dark chocolate, french fries are all vegan, though I never thought about it that way before. Since doing this diet, I’m much more aware of the food I’m eating and where it came from. I think this will really help me make more conscious decisions about food in the future.
What I disliked about eating vegan
- Some things are just not good when veganised, such as pizza. Pizza without cheese is just not doing it for me. If I ever find a good vegan pizza recipe I’ll let you know!
- When not at home, it can be really difficult sometimes to find good vegan food. At dinner parties or city trips, it’s nearly impossible. It’s hard not to have #FOMO when there’s so many yummy (non-vegan) things around you.
- Missing dairy products. While I really didn't miss eating meat, poultry or fish, I did miss simple things like yoghurt and eggs.
- Not knowing if I got all my nutrients. I was always wondering if I got enough protein and vitamins for example. Advice from a professional would come in handy when doing a vegan diet for a longer period of time.
What I liked about eating vegan
- Testing out new recipes and trying new things in the kitchen! I love being creative with food and eating vegan really challenged me.
- How I felt. After eating meat I usually get this heavy feeling since it’s hard to digest for me. By eating vegan, I felt lighter and even lost some weight. Keep in mind that this doesn't mean that a vegan diet is necessarily healthy, because living off Oreos, fries and chips would also make you vegan.
- Eating as many veggies and fruit as I wanted. Eating ‘real’ food makes you feel so good, mentally and physically!
- Discovering that many things I love are vegan, like my favourite protein bar by Trek.
- How it got easier as time evolved. At first I hated my coffee without ‘real’ milk, but now I actually prefer it with nut milk. Funny how things can change in such a short time. They say that it takes 21 days to build or break a habit - it's really true!
During my third week I didn't take as many food pics as I wanted to, so here are only a few of my meals of the last week. I didn't cheat once!
Homemade pestos with basil from the garden. One made with green basil and one made with purple basil, such vibrant colours.
A simple garden salad with tomatoes, beetroot and pesto
Favourite snack ever: rice crackers with crunchy peanut butter, banana, cinnamon and cacao nibs
A part of one dinner, oven-roasted carrots
I made vegan crepes for my brother and I (he made them non-vegan with yoghurt though). Would you like to know the recipe?
This was so good! Italian pasta with tomato, shii-take, broccoli and two kinds of pesto. Shii-take is my favourite mushroom ever!
We received a huge basket full of home-grown tomatoes which was just a dream. So colourful, tasty and delicious!
A simple tomato salad with some fresh herbs and olive oil. We had this with soup and bread for lunch.
What to do with some very ripe plums and pears? I cut them up, drizzle them with agave nectar, add some pure vanilla and walnuts & pecans. Put it in the oven for at least an hour on medium-low heat and enjoy while it's hot. This is amazing with some soy yoghurt!
A simple watermelon smoothie to freshen up, SO good!
So this was my vegan challenge in a nutshell! In one of my next posts I'll give you more tips on how to prepare for this challenge in case you'd like to try it yourself. I promise it's not as hard as it seems, and you can always cheat a little bit like I did! It's such a good way of trying out new things and opening up to a new experience. While I haven't eaten vegan every day since I 'stopped', I have put more thought into what I eat, and I definitely want to incorporate more vegan meals into my daily life, maybe eventually going all-vegan, who knows... Would you try it?