Did you complete the M&S Vegan Challenge?

3 min read
Published:
14 Aug 2017
Duration:
3 min read
Words:
1176 words
Segment:
Miscellanous
Our fitness expert gives a detailed breakdown of the five-day vegan challenge she undertook and completed

Before the challenge: 

My mentor in this, Kathryn Sunantha, always emphasises the importance of being mentally strong and self-motivated. Throughout the five days, I would remind myself of the reason behind taking the challenge: to try out a healthier lifestyle alternative.

Some vegan substitutes I selected--shredded coconut flakes to make coconut milk; walnut butter; natural peanut butter; hemp and chia seeds; brown rice; pasta; sugar-free muesli.

For coconut milk: I blended the flakes with hot water, drained the mixture and finally squeezed the milk through a nut-milk bag. This produce lasted for three days, and I made walnut-butter milk for the last two days. 

For walnut-butter milk: Simply mix one to two teaspoons of stone-ground all-natural walnut butter with warm water. 

DAY ONE

Since my tummy was feeling a little weird at the time, I decided to start my morning with plain warm water, and not with apple-cider water.

Breakfast: I settled for a nice bowl of instant oats with coconut milk, mixed in with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter and about a teaspoon of chia seeds, and a cup of black coffee. Snack: I always carried a packet of almonds with me and had some (3-4) whenever I felt hungry. I don't really recommend it, though.
Lunch: Rice with a seasonal veg curry and a fresh watermelon-mint juice.
Dinner: Two chappatis with kabuli chana dal.

Problems:
i) Getting used to coconut milk: I do love coconut, but the milk provided a different taste to my oatmeal, for which my palate needed some coaxing to accept.
ii) Avoiding biscuits and cookies with coffee: Even though the heat has slightly curbed my caffeine-craving, I was tempted to indulge in my favourite non-vegan biscuits with my tea.
iii) Saying no to Monday kheer: My mom makes kheer every Monday, when she is fasting. It took so much discipline to say no to kheer.

DAY TWO

This time, I started the day with a warm glass of natural apple cider vinegar water mix.
Breakfast: Overnight oats, topped with slices of banana and a drizzle of honey.
Snack: Almonds and a green smoothie--I bought some spinach (washed it well with water and baking soda) and blended it with a medium-sized mango and hemp seeds.
Lunch: The smoothie was very filling, and I did not feel hungry till about 2 pm. Lunch was a simple fare of rice, dal and bok choy and mushroom stir-fry (I avoided using oyster sauce).
Snack: Toast and natural peanut butter.
Dinner: Brown bread with dal.

Problems: Keeping the smoothies fresh and chilled: Making smoothies at work is not practical, and carrying it in a travel mug meant lukewarm smoothies.

DAY THREE

Breakfast: Started my day with apple-cider water. I made a green smoothie with leftover spinach and mangoes and had it with leftover brown bread.
Lunch: Fried rice (no chicken/seafood cube seasoning) with a side of homemade pickles.
Snack: Apple slices and carrot sticks dipped in walnut butter. A soy latte (ask your barista for dairy-milk alternatives).
Dinner: A huge salad of greens--lettuce, spinach and rocket leaves, topped with stir-fry masala kabuli chana. The dressing--olive oil and vinegar.

Problems: Eggs craving: I usually have eggs at least every two days and missed having it in my morning sandwich. 

DAY FOUR

Breakfast: A bowl of sugar-free muesli with walnut-butter milk and a cup of black coffee.
Snack: Ritz crackers with natural peanut butter and almonds.
Lunch: Leftover green salad with avocado pasta (I was proud of myself for attempting this). For pasta, I mashed the avocado flesh with a clove of garlic and added some diced tomatoes. Stir it in the cooked pasta (with dried mixed herbs, salt and pepper to taste).
Snack: Black coffee with more crackers.
Dinner: Chappati with seasonal vegetable curry.

Problems: None. I found myself getting more comfortable and aware of the food options that I had. No feeling of deprivation. (Cheers to progress!)

DAY FIVE

Breakfast: Brown bread with peanut butter, banana slices and a sprinkle of chia seeds. A cup of walnut-butter milk coffee.
Snack: Some almonds and crackers.
Lunch: Stir-fried vegetable (carrots, zucchini, green peas and cabbage) pasta.
Snack: Fresh watermelon juice with crackers.
Dinner: Leftover pasta and a green smoothie. 

Confessions

Having done the challenge, I do find myself being more conscious about my diet. I now focus more on having greens with every meal. I have cut down my dairy-milk intake and have completely removed red and processed meat from my diet. I can also confidently assure everyone that this lifestyle is not expensive at all. Seasonal vegetables and fruits are affordable, and not buying meat and/or eggs means lower expenses too.