Day 15

I had a banana, almond butter and chocolate toastie for breakfast. Following on from Sunday’s food prep, I had a roasted vegetable, hummus and quinoa salad for lunch.

I also had a bit more of the salted chocolate I bought yesterday. It made a big difference to eat it at room temperature rather than cold. I much prefer the texture when it isn’t cold.

I went to the gym straight after work. Got home and had a protein shake and another hotdog. I was quite hungry so I ate a lot of nuts too.

Day 16

I started feeling like I was coming down with something yesterday. I woke up feeling dodgy so worked at home rather than going to the office as planned. Had my final hotdog for breakfast.

My flatmate got some vegan Magnums so I had one as an afternoon snack. Overall the experience was similar to eating a normal choc-ice, but both the ice cream and the chocolate coating had peculiar flavours. The ice cream tasted too strongly of artificial vanilla and the chocolate tasted like artificial sweetener, though the textures were spot on. I didn’t dislike the Magnum, but I found the flavours a bit distracting.

Day 17

I woke up early to go to the gym before work. I wanted avocado toast but the only bread I had was two leftover hotdog buns. I decided to try something different. We have a kind of panini press in the flat and I used it to fry and refresh the buns, which were getting a bit stale. I cut the buns in half and spread both sides with a thin layer of coconut oil before put in the press. I have to say it worked incredibly well. The delicate taste of the coconut was delicious with the avocado.

I had a protein shake as my mid-morning snack and the final serving of quinoa, roasted vegetable and hummus salad for lunch.

I met a friend at Farmacy for dinner. It’s in an area of Westminster I hardly ever visit. We both went Mexican. I went for corn tacos stuffed with mushrooms. They were delicious, with lots of refried beans, some kind of vegan soured cream and guac.

My main priority was the dessert. I went for the staff recommendation of a brownie sundae, which was not what I envisaged at all. It was massive! But the brownie was really tasty and there were lots of interesting textures.

Day 18

Repeated yesterday’s successful breakfast. I also got a few minutes to photograph my OddBox. That arrived yesterday too.

I’m going out for dinner again this evening so I’m not quite sure what I’ll end up doing with some of this veg.

I was in a school all day and didn’t bring any lunch because they normally feed me. I was unsure if they would have vegan options. I ended up with the hearty staple of a jacket potato with beans. I always imagined that it would be depressing without butter and cheese but actually I enjoyed it more than I thought. The potato itself had a butteriness to it.

I had a pre-made vegan snack (kind of like a package-free Nakd bar) in the afternoon before meeting Glory and her gal pal for dinner at Mildred’s in Soho.

Winner winner vegan dinner.

I was really full from the two starters and dessert (similar to yesterday). I feel like plants fill me up in a different, less uncomfortable, way to meat.

Day 19

Had quite a boring smoothie for breakfast. I’d forgotten I am out of frozen blueberries, which would have jazzed it up.

I had a good look at the OddBox veg and weighed the items to see what I can do. I was thinking of a soup with the Jerusalem artichokes, but I have less than 200g so it’s not worth it. I decided to oven roast them because I’d never tasted them before.

It was nice! I also roasted a beetroot and some carrots at the same time. I very nearly incinerated the lot!

I decided to try making brownies using some of the beetroot. I had a lot in the house considering I don’t really like it.

The brownies are ok. I would probably try a different recipe if I wanted to make beetroot brownies again. The texture is good, but there is nowhere near enough sugar, so there is a bitterness to them. Thank goodness there are plenty of chocolate chips mixed in.

I also struggled with the chocolate glaze that went on top. Because I wanted to make the brownies sweeter, I added quite a bit of maple syrup (stevia was recommended in the recipe, which I don’t have). However, that made the glaze too wet. I added some coconut sugar in an attempt to balance. The result isn’t bad, but I think it could be better.

I had a stir fry for second lunch using the purple sprouting broccoli. I find lettuce a massive pain- I’ve come to think that salad leaves are a bit of a waste of space- so I just ate that on its own.

You might be wondering why the noodles are red. I cooked them in the water I saved from boiling the beetroot. The water was so red, I felt it must contain some nutrients. I added some water chestnuts and cashews to bulk the stir fry up a bit. It was delicious.

I went to meet friends at Draughts board game cafe. I was uncharacteristically early (I thought the booking was half an hour earlier than it was) so picked up a Crosstown doughnut on the way.

I had the vegan offer on option at Draughts on the waiter’s recommendation. It was ok. Actually the biggest issue was that the patty wasn’t warm enough.

Day 20

Avocado toast for breakfast. I added a little spirulina today. Took a protein shake, leftover roasted veggies and an apple to snack on at quidditch training.

Got home and had another broccoli stir-fry. Glory and I went to a friend’s for dinner and she made us a nice vegan chili. I wouldn’t have thought to cook that dish, but I liked it. She also had a vegan mozzarella that was pretty good. We also had some of the brownies for dessert.

Day 21

I made a big pan of apple pie porridge first thing, which was a pretty dumb move because I was very nearly late for my hand therapy appointment. However, the porridge came out really nicely and I have enough for the next three days.

Took two vegan brownies, some sweet potato soup from the freezer and a small serving of leftover chili from last night to work.

Picked up a doughnut from the new Crosstown in Hammersmith. I love the filled one with elderflower. Also grabbed another veg patty. Pretty much identical to the other brand I had last week.

Thoughts/reflections

I’m feeling much more comfortable and happy eating a plant-based diet. Up until this week I’d been envisaging going on an enormous meat binge once February rolls around. I am starting to see the vegan diet as less impoverished and just different. It’s such a privilege to have such a variety of fantastic vegan restaurants in London. Eating out has helped to open my eyes much more to the pleasures of plants.

Something I find interesting is the pressure put on vegans. They/we are given a really hard time and held up to a bizarre standard of dietary perfection. If a vegan makes a choice to eat something non-vegan, a lot of people really seem to revel in being proven right that the vegan diet somehow isn’t good enough.

I’m still not decided on what diet I will follow once Veganuary comes to an end. Flexitarianism does feel like a bit of a cop-out, but at the same time I would like the flexibility to occasionally eat animal products while following a primarily plant-based diet.

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