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Category Archives: zero waste

Day 8

Following on from last week‘s food prep, I had porridge, a chickpea wrap and vegetable stew. I was still hungry when I got home at 5.30pm so I had a toastie with banana, coconut/peanut butter and dark chocolate.

I managed to miscalculate again and ended up slightly too full 🙄

I also made a cabbage and butterbean stew/cassoulet thing.

Day 9

Ate the last of the porridge for breakfast and my final chickpea wrap for lunch. It had just started to taste a little vinegary so I think it needed finishing.

I went to the gym after work and had a protein shake afterwards. I picked up a discounted vegan salad thing from M&S when I was buying bread yesterday and had that for my dinner. It was actually super delicious.

I’m planning to make some hummus this week anyway. I loved the combination with the grain salad, roasted veggies and a tart dressing.

I was hungry when I went to bed but I don’t like to eat late. I’m still not sleeping as well as usual and lay awake fantasising about having a feast in Chinatown.

Day 10

Woke up early to go to the gym before work. Had a big green smoothie and coffee but felt a bit weak while doing weights and sick during my yoga class.

I had a protein shake for my mid-morning snack. I brought servings of both the vegan stew and cabbage cassoulet that I prepped. I won’t get home until after 7.30pm and I know that eating just one meal before then will not suffice. I also need to make a shopping list so I can prepare some more meals. I have a busy weekend so I’m concerned I won’t have much time to cook.

I’m starting to realise that I prefer vegan meals with more Asian flavours- peanut, coconut, ginger. While it’s been interesting to try meals from different cuisines, I’ve ended up having to eat quite a few things that I haven’t enjoyed very much.

Anyway, I ate my cabbage dish just before 12. I’m happy to report that it tastes better than it looks, though that being said it does taste mostly of cabbage. I was absolutely ravenous by 2pm. I think it took longer for me to eat the cabbage than it kept me full for! Eyeing up lunch pt. 2 and wondering if I will have to eat a dirty Pot Noodle to get me through the rest of the day.

Ate more vegan stew for lunch ii, then a toastie when I got home.

I bought some candied chickpeas as a snack- I actually thought they were something else but they are pretty tasty. Extremely sweet, though.

Day 11

Work from home day. Had another green smoothie for breakfast, then the cabbage dish. I also made some red pepper hummus following the same recipe I used before.

Bad picture but it’s so tasty. I ate it with the two tortilla wraps I had left and I was full until bedtime.

Day 12

Fancied another green smoothie for breakfast before heading off to a day conference for work. I was really hungry by the break but there was no information about whether the pastries on offer were vegan-friendly. I went without.

The vegan lunch offering was pitiful too! A couple of platters of vegetarian sandwiches but they all appeared to contain cheese so I steered clear. What looked safest was a few onion bhajis (with mango chutney) and some hummus and crudités. I remained staunchly hungry after this meagre meal.

Had to pop (if you can call an hour’s journey ‘popping’) home to pick up the card I made for my friend’s birthday party. At least that gave me the chance to eat a serving of the cabbage I had in the fridge. Also treated myself to a vegan dirty chai. I normally limit myself to two double espressos per day, but it had been an especially tiring Saturday morning.

I checked the menu of the venue for my friend’s party and there were no vegan options. Once I arrived I couldn’t be bothered to ask so didn’t have anything. I also didn’t fancy drinking on an empty stomach- the vegetables I had consumed really didn’t fill me up.

I was starting to get so hungry that my decision-making was compromised. I was struggling to process what I wanted to eat and where I could get it. Fortunately there was a Rosa’s Thai Cafe near the tube station. I’ve eaten there before and enjoyed it so I stopped in and treated myself to dinner. They have plenty of menu items that can be made vegan-friendly. I had some summer rolls that were decent enough followed by Thai green curry and coconut rice. I love coconut so much.

I had a little curry left over and fortunately had a container on me to take it home. The waitress gave me a bit of a funny look but I don’t really mind things like that.

The summer rolls made me recall the time I spent hours making my own and they turned out absolutely disgusting. Why I thought smoked salmon and mint would be a good combination is anyone’s guess 🤦🏽‍♀️

Today made me think that summer rolls could be a good vegan lunch option when the weather gets warmer. I would make peanut dipping sauce as well as sweet chilli. And steer clear of bizarre flavour combos 😷

Day 13

I had a dream in which I was cooking some poultry. It was still Veganuary so I wasn’t sure whether to freeze it for the rest of the month. I had tasted the dish and felt cross with myself for breaking the challenge.

Had a nut butter, banana and chocolate toastie before heading to quidditch training. It kept me pretty full and I took a protein shake for after.

Went shopping at the supermarket and the Source in Clapham, which was horribly busy. I decided to try something different and got some mushroom-based sausages. I planned to make hotdogs since the caramelised onions, ketchup and mustard would taste good even if the sausages didn’t.

I got chorizo-style sausages (seemed the best option available) and there is a chorizo vibe to them. They don’t make the best hotdogs, but as predicted the other additions made them perfectly edible.

I also did a little bit of meal prep. I cooked some quinoa and roasted some beetroot and sweet potato to make a winter salad. I don’t especially like beetroot but it was nice in the M&S salad and I decided just to buy whatever Sainsbury’s had that was package-free.

Day 14

Changed things up a bit and had a hotdog for breakfast. It wouldn’t have been my first choice, but it makes sense based on my activities today and what I have in the fridge.

Since I had breakfast quite early, I was peckish by mid-morning. I had this yoghurt that I picked up in Sainsbury’s yesterday. It was delicious.

I had the last serving of the cabbage cassoulet for lunch. I added some frozen peas and spinach to bulk it up, so I’ll be interested to see how long I stay full.

The answer was not long, but fortunately I had brought some dried mango with me.

I had to eat my second lunch- quinoa, hummus and roasted vegetable salad- at about 4pm.

I couldn’t wait to have another snack until I got home so I followed the recommendation of a vegan colleague and picked up a Jamaican veg patty. I have eaten many a patty in my time but never of the vegetable variety. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. I also had some salted dark chocolate.


Overall week 2 has gone much more smoothly than week 1, though I did have worse cravings for meat at times. My biggest problem is managing my hunger levels. I am not good at judging how satiating meals will be and have ended up in physical pain from being so hungry. From talking to other vegans, I understand that this is pretty common.

I need to start keeping a few vegan snacks lying around, probably something in my bag and something in my locker at work. I put together some yummy fruit and nut combinations when I went to the Source.

This week I was surprised to learn that quite a few events and places in London still don’t cater for vegans at all. I had been under the impression that most places would have one plant-based offering, even if it wasn’t very good.


I’m going to keep a daily journal of my Veganuary exploits.

Day 1

Spent it in bed rueing the day I was born. All I could keep down was some avocado toast my flatmate kindly made for me. Oh, and a Lindor, which wasn’t vegan 🤦🏽‍♀️

Day 2

Due to being incapacitated on new year’s day (see above) I had made no food plans for the week. I had a green smoothie for breakfast and some frozen squash curry for lunch. Went to Asda and got overwhelmed by what I couldn’t eat. Ended up having a protein shake and crackers for dinner. But I did make some initial meal plans for the rest of the week.

My OddBox arrived quite late and I looked up a few recipes before bed.

Day 3

I ended up having smoothies (one green and one kind of apple pie/oatmeal one) for breakfast and lunch due to still not having any proper food in. They tasted nice but I’m kind of over drinking variously-coloured sludge.

I followed(ish) a recipe from an old OddBox and made pasta with mushrooms and cavolo nero. I used the mung bean pasta I picked up at the Source- it’s higher in protein.

Sadly it’s also higher in the taste of butts. I don’t know what I expected to be honest. I’ve never knowingly eaten a mung bean. At least I only bought 75g (bulk shopping win) so I don’t have to eat it again.

The sauce was ok but reminded me of a dish I used to subsist on at university that I charitably called ‘vegetable melange’. Basically it was loads of tinned veg with some onion, chopped tomatoes and ketchup. I remember the secret ingredient was a lot of cheese.

Today was a bad cooking day overall. I followed this recipe for vegan mayonnaise using oat milk and rapeseed oil and it didn’t work at all. Although the liquids seemed to emulsify, it wouldn’t thicken.

I still used it to make this ‘better than tuna‘ sandwich filling with the chickpeas I soaked on day 2. I still have the aquafaba from the chickpeas so I might try another mayo recipe (think I over-reduced the aquafaba though. Seriously cursed cooking day). Fortunately the spread turned out to be nice enough or I would almost certainly have cried. I also had a protein shake/iced decaf thing because I hadn’t slept well. I should be tracking my macros but I haven’t had time.

Day 4

Had the apple pie smoothie for breakfast again and a banana/peanut butter protein shake after going to the gym. I was feeling a bit sick at the gym and I wonder if I’ve been having too many liquid meals. I guess my body is also adjusting to a new diet.

I also prepped another wrap with yesterday’s spread. I actually took two wraps for lunch (I only ate one). I struggle with portioning vegan food. When bulk cooking, I find it helpful to weigh my food and I know that I normally eat around 400g for lunch. I have learnt to my cost that 400g of different foods are not equal!

For dinner, I met Glory at Patty and Bun for an impromptu flatmate date. We tried their Whoopi Goldburger.

The burger itself was decent. The bread was lovely and the patty had a good texture, though it was a little on the loose/wet side for me. The fake cheese was quite nice too. My favourite part was the rosemary fries. It felt so good to eat something deep fried, hot, salty and crispy. I’ve eaten too much mush this week.

I picked up some vegan chocolate on the way home. Turns out that I really really really like milk in my chocolate.

Day 5

Had a green smoothie for breakfast. I like to have fruit or vegetables as the first thing I put in my stomach each day but chewing is tiresome. I didn’t add avocado and I actually preferred the more watery texture for a change.

I had some avocado and mushrooms on toast later. I was due to go out for a meal and expected to eat more, but I’m still not feeling too well. I did feel a little hungry so snacked on a bit more of the vegan chocolate, which was nicer with coffee.

Went to the Spread Eagle, a vegan pub in east London. All of the meat alternatives were super tasty and it was another welcome change. I had the trio of tacos and enjoyed them all.

I also had this deep fried cheeze, which had a similar texture to brie. I liked it but wish I had ordered a dessert instead.

Unfortunately I just don’t feel right in myself. I’m feeling increasingly sick throughout the day. I’m also tired, though to be fair I haven’t been sleeping well (unrelated to diet). I’m going to give it a few more days but I am worried that being vegan is making me feel so bad. I did a bit of research and I think it is quite normal to take time to adjust. But I don’t like the idea that I’m making myself ill when I was pretty happy with my diet before.

Day 6

Slept in, which I hope will help me. Perhaps part of my malaise has been sleep deprivation. I ate the last of my mushrooms first thing, followed by batch cooking some very nice apple porridge.

I was still a bit peckish so had a protein shake as well. I toasted the wrap I didn’t have on Friday for lunch and it was pretty tasty. Spread stuff needs more salt though.

I then prepped a stew featuring my OddBox veggies. It turned out quite nice.

I wanted four full servings for next week and I was still hungry after eating what was left in the pot. I had a peanut butter, banana and chocolate toastie. It was great! I don’t normally eat much bread but I think that’s going to help me through the month.

I didn’t feel sick today so I’m hoping my body is getting used to veganism. I’m also feeling much more prepared for the forthcoming week. Bring it on!

Day 7

Reaped the rewards of food prep and had porridge, a chickpea wrap and stew with little effort. Not feeling sick but did get so hungry after the gym that I had stomach cramps. Treated myself to a rice-coconut chai latte from Pret but the barista told me the powder (note: the chai and turmeric drinks aren’t ZW friendly!) contains milk. I ended up having a turmeric latte with unclear vegan credentials because I had already paid. Pret later contacted me on Twitter and their allergen information indicates that neither product contains dairy. I guess they want to be careful since someone recently died after eating something to which they were allergic in Pret.

I was ravenous when I got home so had another peanut butter, banana and chocolate toastie. Started feeling like I could get used to veganism.


All in all, it was quite a hard start to Veganuary. A lot of that was down to my poor planning. I’m hoping to start tracking my nutrition because I’m sure I’m not getting enough protein for muscle growth.

I have noticed that I’ve been ticking the ‘no unhealthy snacks’ box on my habit tracker more frequently. This is mainly down to not having unhealthy vegan things in the house to eat. I’m also quite weak-willed and partial to a chocolate or five if people bring them into the office. Or if my flatmate brings them home after Xmas. It’s so weird to think that on Monday I was scarfing them down only to stop on Tuesday because I ‘can’t’ eat them.

A challenge for this week has been my own narrative that I don’t like to eat processed food. This story prevents me from eating pretty much all meat and cheese substitutes. However, I am perfectly happy to eat (mass-produced) dairy and meat products such as cheeses, yoghurt and sausages. It’s interesting that I’ve come/been conditioned to not consider these things ‘processed’ or ‘bad’ and yet I am mistrustful of vegan alternatives.

Having to cook everything from scratch is quite a strain so I feel like something has to give. I might ask my vegan friends for some recommendations about what is worth trying.

Some of my precious sewing time during my time off work was devoted to patching my two pairs of jeans. I already posted a tutorial on how I do this and I followed the same technique.

I very nearly threw the lighter jeans away when I moved house in June, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Even though I haven’t worn them since summer 2017, I love these jeans. I possibly kept them in case I wanted to replicate the fit in case I ever make my own jeans (at this point looking unlikely but who knows what the future has in store).

Annoyingly I didn’t think to take a picture, but the fabric around the seams on the inside leg of these jeans was completely worn away. You can see in the photo above the way the denim is pulling apart.

I was sorting though my clothes and I examined the jeans again. I think I previously dismissed the idea of patching over the seam, but suddenly this seemed like a great idea. The seam allowance is perfectly placed to cover where the denim is damaged. Shouldn’t a patch over the top hold it all together nicely?

You can see how heavily the jeans are already patched. I marked out with pins where I wanted to add new patches.

As with all of my jeans repairs, I made the patches with denim left over from my first day dress.

You may be able to see that I made the patches on the incorrect side of the fabric but you shouldn’t see this from the right side so I didn’t bother to remake them.

Weirdly intimate to show a picture of my crotch

You can see that I’ve basically reinforced the whole crotch area of these jeans with an extra layer of denim. I was a bit concerned that they would feel uncomfortable but they’re absolutely fine.

I just noticed that my ‘new’ jeans (purchased in September 2017 and worn quite heavily since) have just developed their first hole. My jeans always wear in exactly the same way.

This was a very straightforward patch job. I slightly thought about preemptively patching the areas that I know will wear away next but in the end I didn’t bother.

I almost feel like it is a personal challenge to see how many years I can keep these two pairs of jeans going. I’m fairly confident that I have had the brighter blue pair for around five years. It’s interesting how my conception of something being ‘worn out’ has changed in a fairly short period of time. This project has also reminded me how hardwearing jeans are- even though jeans are now a staple, this harks back to their history as a garment for hard physical labour.

I got my most recent OddBox a couple of weeks ago.

Again the timing of my cooking and lighting did not lend itself to getting good pictures of what I made. I followed two recipes that came with the box.

A broccoli and cauliflower bake (that I managed to leave a knife in). I bulked it out a bit with some orza (pasta) that I’ve had lying around for a while. The meal was surprisingly tasty and filling.

This leek and potato soup was delicious. Nuff said. I should have heeded the warning that it’s best frozen without the cream.

I also made this squash curry. Also pretty tasty. It’s meant to be a jalfrezi but I used Thai curry paste because that’s what I had on hand. I also made coconut rice (1 tin coconut milk, 1 tin brown basmati, 1 tin water cooked using absorption method) that was much-needed because the curry was slightly too spicy for me.

I also made some snacks- the recipe is for the vegan coconut bites they sell in Pret à Manger.

I really enjoyed the plant-powered pistachio dessert I made for vegan Jamaican night a few weeks ago.

I have a massive sweet tooth so it was nice to have this in the freezer, ready to be blended into a refreshing and healthy milkshake. Its nice to have a second vegan ice cream option beyond basic banana nice cream.

You can find the original recipe here but this is the version I made. As OP notes, the dates do dull the green colour. I think it’s worth it for the taste.

Dates vary a lot in sweetness so I recommend starting off by adding 2/3 cup, tasting and increasing if desired. Remember that flavours do tend to mellow in the freezer. If possible, make the night before you need this recipe because it does take several hours to set.

Next time I make this I will try using matcha rather than spirulina to add both colour and flavour. God I’m a hipster.


  • 2.5 cups non-dairy milk (I used almond)
  • 2/3 – 1 cup dates
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 – 1 tsp spirulina (for colour, optional)


  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blitz until smooth. Start with smaller amounts of the dates and spirulina and add more to taste.
  2. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze overnight.
  3. Remove from freezer 10-15 minutes before serving

The cooking hasn’t been as interesting this week, due in part to my broken finger.  A lot of my OddBox haul (including the pineapple) was pressed into service in smoothies. I’ve read that you should get lots of vitamins and minerals to support the healing process so I’ve been going hard on the old fruit and veg.

One thing I did make was cauliflower gnocchi based on the recipe in the box. Having done the pasta class helped me to try something outside my comfort zone.

I have to say that the gnocchi tasted suspiciously like dumplings. Not sure if this is my Jamaican heritage meaning I can’t make gnocchi properly or if that’s normal. I think I will have to try making some potato gnocchi to test.

I also made an amazing satay-style noodle soup dish. I found the recipe on Pinterest and knew right away that I would have to try it. I supplemented the remaining OddBox veg with some Asian produce from Chinatown.

I will definitely be coming back to this dish in Veganuary.

Weekly tilt

A disadvantage of trying to reduce waste is becoming hyper-aware of how wasteful society is. Here I share things that have bothered or worried me.

Having an injury generates quite a lot of waste- I have to clean my finger at least once a day, which means replacing the tape. I’m quite glad I’m not attempting to put my rubbish in a mason jar. That would be quite disgusting!

I have been using the same cheap(ish) watch for over four years now and last week the buckle broke. I don’t know if people are aware that Swatch offer free battery replacement for life on their products, but they also offer free replacement parts.

Having my watch fixed took me on a bit of trip down memory lane. I can see why watch manufacturers get celebrities to wear their products. In at least half of the pictures there are of me, you can see my watch. In fact, the watch must have the lowest price per wear of anything I own!

I couldn’t even remember the original of the thingy that holds the end of the watch strap down- you can just about see in the above pic that it was light blue.

I feel like the Swatch is a product that is at the same time disposable and sustainable. I think it’s wonderful that such a big company does something so simple yet revolutionary as offering free replacement parts.

At the same time, the man in the shop commented on the age of my watch when I took it in. I guess that reveals how few people take their watches back there. There is no inherent reason a plastic watch shouldn’t last for years. But I imagine that the relatively low price point encourages the idea of getting a new one quite often.

I myself look at the Swatches every time I am at the airport and have nearly replaced my model several times. In fact, I even bought a new Swatch two years ago only to have to return it.

Before I thought to ask if the Swatch shop had free parts, I had compared the models available online and chosen a replacement. It was quite hard to walk away from the watch I’d chosen to buy. While my current watch will eventually fall apart, I really don’t need a new one. But I would quite like one.

I commented in a previous post about how I naively used to deny the impact that capitalism and fast fashion have had on the way I think. I’m glad that I this is something I’m becoming more aware of.