To celebrate the launch of our new vegan meal prep plans, 1/3 of the BALANCE co-founders (me!) has decided to go fully plant based for the whole of November! As a team, we all wanted to know: what happens when a hardcore carnivore goes plant based?! Will I survive the month without meat? What affect will this have on my energy levels, mood, sleep and general day to day? If you’ve ever thought about going vegan yourself, I’m going to be sharing my virtual diary with you, so you can get a first hand account of the experience!
Joe’s Vegan Diary – Part 1
First day eating fully plant based meals! I feel ready for a change and looking forward to the challenge ahead. Food was obviously delicious – lunch was butternut steak with hummus and quinoa. Suprisingly, I felt full and satisfied which I didn’t expect from a meat-free meal!
Had a really busy day today, haven’t had much time to sit down and enjoy a meal. Luckily I was able to
spend 10 mins devouring the coconut curry! Really amazing (yes I know, I’m biased but I’m not wrong!). In the evening I had the lentil and aubergine ragu, which is definitely the most ‘meaty meal’ I’ve had up to now. Still no cravings for meat!
Today I had a bit of a headache most of the day, but no real cravings as of yet for meat. Being busy at
work helps. Chickpeas and harissa quinoa with roast root veg hit really the spot!
Ok so, the marinated tofu skewers were awesome! I’m not usually a great fan of tofu, but really enjoyed
this one, feel myself feeling a bit more energized and ready to get up on a morning. Liked knowing that I was still getting a good intake of protein with this vegan alternative.
Today I was surrounded by other people eating fish and chips (if you know me, you know this is a hard one to resist!). The smell was getting to me a bit, but I didn’t crack. #winning. Instead of chips I opted for the BALANCE vegan meal prep special of roast squash and harissa hummus for lunch. Had a
sugar craving around 3 in the afternoon, which was put to rest by the sweet potato brownie!
Today was a long prep day in the kitchen, but a busy day keeps my mind of craving and I have to be honest, they are starting to creep in! I was able to have some vegan protein oats for breakfast which kept me going late into the afternoon. For dinner I ate out, to be honest I feel a bit sorry for the lack of choice when eating out in restaurants for vegans! In the end, I chose a vegan based squash lasagne! Pretty good, but could have been better (it wasn’t BALANCE though, so…).
Fending for myself, severely craving avo and eggs on toast! Instead, I went for homemade stack of
vegan pancakes which sorted me out. For lunch I had avocado and marinated tofu wraps. Dinner tonight was a slow cooker vegan chilli! First week done, I’ll be really honest with you, the ravings are real! Going from a full blown carnivore diet to a plant based one isn’t easy, but with planning – I managed to get through the week! I have actually really enjoyed the food but it takes some getting used to not having a portion of meat with every meal.
One week down, three to go! I have to admit, having the meals freshly prepared is making this vegan challenge so much easier than if I had to cook every meal myself. I’m glad I know that every meal has a good balance of fats, protein and carbs because I imagine it’s pretty easy to carb-load on a vegan diet! This morning I had the chia pot, not usually a huge fan of chia but finding I am becoming more adventurous towards things I didn’t previously enjoy. Lunch was a new experience for me, pulled jackfruit – totally blew my mind! Jackfruit has pretty much the same consistency as pulled meat (kind of like a cross between chicken and pork) smothered in bbq sauce. Unreal! At this point I could only find minor differences between this and actual meat, which really helped me satisfy my cravings (for today, at least!).
I’m not a fan of Tuesdays, never have been, for some reason just feels longer than most
days. If I were to quit this challenge I can guarantee it will be on a Tuesday! Not
happening today though, because the BALANCE vegan pancakes kept me going until lunch, when I smashed the lentil and aubergine ragu. In the evening I went for the Falafel and sweet potato mash. Another day down!
Happy hump day! Yogurt and granola on the go, super convenient when travelling – especially in train stations where there are all kinds of temptations available! Salivated a little bit when I walked past a bakery, not sure if it’s the smell of meat and pastry or because I’m just a fat f**k that loves a pasty, either way the smell did get to me and got me thinking about meat. As soon as I had wolfed down the sweet potato coconut curry for lunch the cravings vanished. I’ve started to notice hunger really does affect my cravings and decisions toward what I consume. I’d never really noticed this as much as I do now.
I seem to be sleeping loads better, but equally jumping from bed in the morning
ready for the day. Only a couple of weeks ago I would have to drag myself out into the
shower, just to wake me up. Vegan overnight oats are real fuel for a busy day, kept me going
until late afternoon when I remembered I hadn’t had lunch (this hasn’t happened in the 28
years I’ve been on this earth!). I’m not sure if this is down to being busy, or that my fuel and
nutritional needs are changing? Loving the energy boost regardless! Anyway, I topped myself up with my favourite plant based meal prep so far – BBQ pulled jackfruit, rice and veggies!
Finally friday! Studio tends to bring in food for everyone, today it was Nando’s! Once upon a time
I would have pounced on it, but not today. Didn’t faze me whatsoever. Cravings are pretty
none existent as long as I stay busy and take my mind of them.
Prep day in the kitchen, out of bed at 4.45am, finding this pretty easy now. My energy
levels are bouncing, body and mind seem to be in sync for the first time in what seems like a long time. I’ve always gone into the kitchen with a mind set to smash out the prep and be as efficient as
possible, but my mind would still be racing at 100mph. Today I felt very in control and
that I was much more alert and switched on than usual.
Time for me to catch up with Han and Gus (our dog). I was up and out of bed for 8am (on a
Sunday!) over to Heaton park for a big walk, on a beautiful day. Usually I would be trying to find
somewhere for breakfast, but I am starting to feel much more content with my appetite and
not needing to hunt out somewhere to eat! Pleased with how the challenge has been going so far, it definitely hasn’t been easy to change my eating habits but the mind and energy benefits have been well worth it! I’ll check back in at the end of the month.
The challenge continues….!