I was inspired by @theveggiemd who challenged us to eat plant based diet for 7 days. I have high cholesterol and a family history of cardiovascular disease (my father had a heart attack in his 40’s), so introducing healthier eating is important for me. This was a nice way to become familiar with vegan recipes and the entire vegan section at Whole Foods which I had up until this point, skipped over.
I recently went pescatarian, but I love cheese and dairy and never ever thought of making the full transition to vegan. But, I figured why not? I can do anything for 7 days. So, here’s my experience, coming from the perspective that we are all omnivores. I didn’t want this to be just a challenge for myself, I wanted to see if I could introduce healthier habits for my family.
First, I drink Nespresso every day with whole milk whisked in the frother thing. I have tried almond milk and never liked the taste of it, but I had to do it, so I committed and bought an almond milk creamer and I’m now a convert. I actually don’t think I’ll go back to regular milk for my morning cup of joe.
The night before, I prepped these overnight oats and they were AMAZING! I love Bianca Zapatka’s blog and instagram. Her food pics are gorgeous, but it taste good too and not too complicated! And, just from my messages with her, she is a really, truly sweet person.
Kids loved them, they were a real winner. I prepped them the night before and put them in the fridge for the kids to grab for breakfast in the morning. I ate late that morning because I worked out and actually was so full from this (I made double), that I skipped lunch
We had a date night scheduled so I made a reservation at a new vegan place in town. Again, this is not a restaurant I ever would have gone to if not for this challenge. My husband had a lot of reservations, but he is pretty open minded so he didn’t grumble too much.
I wanted to make something to really entice the kids. So, I decided on carrot cupcakes. I was really surprised at how moist the cupcakes were. I would definitely make these again. And, I used this recipe for the frosting – my husband couldn’t even tell it was vegan, which I think is a win!
Lunch: Random leftovers, PBJ sandwiches and these sausages which I love!
For some reason, none of the stores around me carry jumbo shells, so I made it with manicotti instead. Harder to stuff, but delicious. Also I didn’t buy enough spinach, so I used half kale, which I actually liked. Click here for the recipe.
This is how mine looked.
Breakfast: Morning Oats again. Made it for the kids and they adored it
Lunch: I made an effort and actually packed lunch, which you kind of have to do. It was good! The salad is a kale-cranberry salad which is AMAZING. I posted the recipe under Day 5, since I had it again.
Dinner: Samosas. I cheated here and did not make these. There’s an Indian lady who makes these by hand (and they’re vegan). Way easier than me trying to cook these after a busy day of work.
Another amazing recipe by Bianca. I absolutely adore her IG page and blog. Easy, delicious recipes and she is really just such a nice person!
Lunch: I had a business lunch that I had originally made a reservation at another restaurant. Then, I remembered I’m vegan this week and I called and though the restaurant was super nice and said they would make something special for me, I decided to go back to Vegan Hills, because I really enjoyed it for dinner and wanted to go for lunch. The person with whom I was eating was open to it because she had been vegetarian for 5 years.
Dinner: Kheema (with Corn Crumbles) with Sauteed Turmeric Potatoes
Nespresso coffee with my new almond milk creamer
Banana bread. Used this recipe, which looks a little raw when it comes out of the oven, but is actually really tasty. And, I think the oats in it really fills me much better than traditional banana bread.
Lunch: Kale salad
Dinner: Vegan Mac and Cheese with roasted cauliflower. I really loved this. My kids, not so much. That being said, they only like Annie’s Mac and Cheese. They don’t even like my real 4 cheese mac & cheese made with asiago, parmesan, provolone and cheddar that I grate myself. So, I guess I should have known better. Plus the dry mustard was a nice kick, but a bit strong for the kids.
Dinner: Hawaii Ophthalmology Society meeting. I was worried about this one. It was at Stage, a restaurant that usually serves a lot of meat and it’s a set menu. I called ahead and requested a vegan meal and was kind of dreading it. Not gonna lie – I was enviously side eyeing the steak next to me. But at the end of the meal, I didn’t feel kind of sick the way I normally, so again, another win!
My kids have been requesting the overnight oats and the oatmeal every morning. So that’s been great.
Dinner: I’m obsessed with the Beyond Burger at Whole Foods. I love it so much. Since it was Friday, we had “burgers” and sweet potato fries with a berry soy milk smoothie.
So, end of the week, what did I think?
I think the biggest change is that I had to be very intentional about my eating. I wasn’t just grabbing a pizza in the cafe downstairs or snacking on the Halloween candy when I was hungry. And, that’s a good thing for me because I”m a big snacker. I had to pack my lunches and snacks, and that lead to better food choices.
So, will I continue eating vegan? I think I’ll probably do the 80/20 rule. I found many of the changes were not that hard to institute – almond milk/soy milk for cow’s milk, vegan cheese, etc. Basically, I think when I cook at home, it will be vegan the majority of the time. I still enjoy eating fish and thus far, have not seen any data indicating fish/seafood link to cancer or gut inflammation. I definitely enjoyed finding new recipes and my family was pleasantly surprised at most of them. I got the most pushback from my 9 year old. The younger kids didn’t make a big deal out of the lack of “real cheese” in dishes. But, it was great to rediscover my Indian roots in terms of cooking, which I have neglected recently. Pulling out my old spice box was fun and it was so nice to see my kids enjoy the food as well.