Vegan Challenge

By realitybites · Sep 9, 2013 · ·
  1. * Week two merged with week one as David extended the text limits. Week three and four will proceed below.

    Why? Detox, cleanse, reflect, awareness, compassion for self, rebuild.

    One Month ~ September 11 - October 11, 2013

    Step One: Remove all non-vegan friendly items from pantry and place in bins. ✓

    Step Two: Use up all animal based products from refrigerator and freezer... including butter, eggs, and chocolate. ✓

    Step Three: Research, read, plan. ✓

    Step Four: Plan menu for first week. ✓

    Step Five: Shop for first week. ✓

    Step Six: Start vegan diet. Document what I ate with word description, take pics if possible. Maybe describe how I feel... mood, energy etc. Note any difficulties, obstacles. Will not go into too much detail about how much I ate, when, where, or how many calories I consumed. It isn't a weight loss diet. I don't ever eat breakfast. Lunches will be salads--veg or fruit. Dinner will be my main meal and will consist of a protein, vegetables, and grain. I love soups and casseroles. And with the cooler weather, they will be perfect. I am not going to list all the ingredients. This is not a recipe thing. I cook off the top of my head--unless I am baking and need to be more precise. I am going to try to not rely on soy burgers and other processed, expensive vegan products. If I feel sluggish I will increase my iron intake and supplement with B12. I can do this easily and cheaply with a mere sip of a $.99 energy shot. Pennies a dose. And there is always coffee and tea. I will be getting plenty of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Will only cook with olive and canola oils, and vegan friendly spices and seasonings.

    Vegan Challenge flickr Set

    Vegan Cookbooks and Related Files

    Prep: Monday, September 9, listening to: R.E.M.'s - Fables of the Reconstruction, planning.

    Prep: Tuesday, September 10, listening to R.E.M.'s - Murmur, going shopping.

    Week one, Sept. 11-17:

    Day 1, Wednesday, Sept. 11:
    Listening to R.E.M.'s - Collapse Into Now, eating...

    Lunch: Steamed artichoke petals
    Dinner: Brown lentils, with fresh corn, mushrooms, onion, and rice. Sauteed kale, julienne carrots, broccoli, and red cabbage

    Feeling positive and proud of my efforts so far. Already feel better for not posting on Solo for the last three days, yet still maintaining contact with my friends there, and continuing to write in my blog. One day at a time.

    Day 2, Thursday: Listening to R.E.M's - Reckoning

    L: Watermelon cubes
    D: Quinoa, broccoli, and tomato

    Amazing what just four days removed from a toxic environment can do to elevate one's mood. I knew that I felt powerless, out of control. Being harassed, insulted, and manipulated--directly, or worse, cryptically-- by belligerent or passive aggressive people is not healthy at all. It will wear you down--break your spirit. I have taken back the reins. I would never allow anyone to treat me that way in my life away from the keyboard. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted.

    Day 3, Friday: Listening to R.E.M.'s - Monster

    L: Watermelon cubes
    D: Tomato and spinach risotto, chilled sweet and sour red cabbage with sunflower seeds and dried cranberries

    Feeling pretty darn good. Made some vegan caramel corn last night by swapping out the oleo for canola oil--much healthier anyhow--and it was even better than the original version. Feeling playful and chipper for a change.

    Day 4, Saturday: Listening to R.E.M.'s - Document

    L: Apple and pear slices
    D: Quinoa, tomato, and fresh parsley Boston lettuce wraps, chilled sweet and sour red cabbage with sunflower seeds and dried cranberries


    Day 5, Sunday: Listening to R.E.M.'s - Life's Rich Pageant

    L: Watermelon cubes
    D: Lentil, mushroom, rice, and kale soup, chilled sweet and sour cabbage with sunflower seeds and dried cranberries, 9 grain tortilla chips

    Feeling really good. Just got off the phone with my mom. She just returned from her vacation in New Hampshire. I told her about my vegan challenge. I was a little worried as the word 'diet' is emotionally loaded--me being a recovering anorectic. But no alarms went off. She is very supportive. Just emailed me three vegan recipes. My mom is an awesome cook as well. I grew up eating all sorts of wonderful things. Love her. So anyhow, while she was dining on lobster and mussels all week, I have been eating quinoa and lentils.

    Poor Katie. She is missing all those meat treats. Just opened a can of tuna for her. She's loving it.

    Day 6, Monday: Listening to R.E.M.'s - Green

    L: Apple and pear slices
    D: Sauteed green peppers, onions, and tomatoes with cilantro and parsley in a toasted baguette with sliced avocado

    Menu change... was craving comfort food today so I decided to make a hearty, hot veggie sub in lieu of beans and rice. The avocado made it rich and filling with a really nice texture. I would eat these any day. Will make black beans and rice next week. Must be flexible. Just stopped by my library to see what was up with the book, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, which I placed on hold. It is being shipped from another branch and is still not available. Wanted to be reading it by now. Ah well. Hopefully before the week's end.

    Day 7, Tuesday: Listening to R.E.M.'s - Up

    L: Watermelon cubes
    D: Quinoa, broccoli, tomato, and fresh steamed & sliced artichoke hearts ~ served cold, 9 grain tortilla chips

    I am craving falafel--of all things. Haven't had any since I was in Israel. It is the perfect vegan food. Am going to buy some dried chickpeas today, soak them overnight, and fry up some falafel tomorrow. I have never made them before. Wish me luck.

    Can't believe I went a whole week without any animal products. Nothing-- not even seasonings or whey. Probably the first week ever in my whole life. It is easier to do than one thinks. Not terribly difficult to do in the short term. But the long term would be challenging. I think milk chocolate, butter, and eggs (in baked goods) would be difficult to give up forever. I feel proud of myself to taking on this challenge. It is always good to step outside the box.

    Due to blog text limits, I am having to divide up my vegan challenge into separate posts. This is week two...

    Week two: Sept. 18-24:

    Day 8, Wednesday: Listening to Tom Petty's - Greatest Hits

    L: Sliced plums and apples
    D: Falafel, lettuce, tomato, sweet and sour red cabbage, quartered artichoke hearts

    Fresh ground chickpea falafel mix ready to fry up...

    The falafel was amazing. As good as I have had anywhere. They are so easy to make. All one needs is a food processor or hand held blender. The texture of the mixture is creamy and silky--really nice. And talk about healthy! I am going to make my own chickpea and black bean burgers next week.


    Day 9, Thursday: Listening to Marvin Gaye's - What's Going On?

    L: Watermelon cubes
    D: Three bean vegetable and tomato soup, 9 grain tortilla chips

    Day 10, Friday: Listening to The National's - Alligator

    I have found my new drug - smoked paprika. It is wonderful mixed into guacamole, dusted onto potato chips or avocado slices, or sprinkled into soups. Use it to make homemade veggie burgers taste smokey. This is a must have spice for any vegan or vegetarian. Bought this 6 0z bag at my local health food store. Try not to buy jarred spices as they may have been sitting on the shelf for ages.


    L: Honeydew slices
    D: Chickpea sliders with sauteed peppers and onions, avocado slices, lettuce and tomato, potato chips (why not?)

    Day 11, Saturday: Listening to The National's - The National

    L: Sliced peaches and pears
    D: Three bean vegetable and tomato soup, 9 grain tortilla chips

    So, I don't know how to sum up how I feel other than to say I feel very yin--in a good way. Eating vegan for the last ten days has surely had a change on my body already. Whole foods, low fat, low chemicals, low antibiotics, low processing, low wheat, low gluten, low sugar... all must be a good thing. I feel relaxed, happy, content... a little sluggish. But this is just making me slow down. I don't feel aggressive and hyper and in need of stimulation. Simple things like reading in bed are pleasurable. And watching movies instead of playing on the Internet. I can see why vegans are notoriously known to be passivists. They don't have the gumption and energy excesses to think in hostile ways. I'm 100% convinced I am onto something. Maybe we are all over consuming protein--animal, dairy, and even vegetable--which is making us too aggressive. Perhaps the solution is to eat vegan. I think women who are very yang-like could benefit from this way of eating. I wonder if it has changed my chemical balance in the brain? Could it affect serotonin levels? One thing I find strange is how I have had absolutely no cravings for sweets. Very, very unusual for me.

    Day 12, Sunday: Listening to The National's - Boxer

    L: Honeydew slices
    D: Black beans, green chiles, onions, and tomatoes with steamed rice, 9 grain tortilla chips

    Day 13, Monday: Listening to The National's - High Violet

    L: Honeydew slices
    D: Veggie fajitas with avocado slices dusted with smoked paprika and fresh tomato salsa

    Day 14, Tuesday: Listening to The National's - Cherry Tree

    L: Sliced peaches and pears
    D: Split pea soup with navy beans, smoked paprika dusted potato chips, Boston lettuce and tomato salad with balsamic vinaigrette

    Can't believe it has been two weeks. Challenge is almost halfway over. Been reading and researching a lot about healthy, sustainable eating. Plan to make some long-term changes.

    Week three: Sept. 25 - Oct. 1:

    Day 15, Wednesday: Listening to The National's - Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers

    L: Apple and plum slices
    D: Vegan cacciatore over rice


    Feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed--the best I have felt in the last two weeks. Plan to do a vegan detox annually. I recommend this for everyone. It forces you to slow down, become reflective, be good to yourself, and detox the body and mind of stress and negative toxins. I feel almost high, naturally. How wonderful is that? To not have to reach outward to medicate? Once my month-long cleanse is finished, I will start a new diet as a flexitarian. I will outline this in the next week or so.

    Day 16, Thursday: Listening to the National's - Trouble Will Find Me

    L: Apple and peach slices
    D: Peas and pasta with onions, Asian broccoli slaw


    Biggest obstacle/challenge so far has been not being able to use chicken stock. So many of the recipes I have made would have tasted better, imo, with it versus the vegetable stock I was forced to use. It's just not the same.

    Yesterday I made the big mistake of looking at a seafood cookbook. Was thinking about life after this challenge. Mussels, clams, soups, bisques. Was drooling. Warning do not look at any food pics other than vegan friendly ones when doing the challenge. This was proof that food porn can in fact stimulate our appetites.


    Day 17, Friday: Listening to Prince's - Purple Rain

    L: Cantaloupe slices
    D: Black beans and chickpeas burger with lettuce and tomato, corn on the cob

    Day 18, Saturday: Listening to Placebo's - Without You I'm Nothing

    L: Cantaloupe slices
    D: Penne cacciatore, steamed cauliflower

    Day 19, Sunday: Listening to Placebo's - Loud Like Love

    L: Pear and Mandarin oranges
    D: Red beans and rice, sauteed collard greens

    Day 20, Monday: Listening to Placebo's - Placebo

    L: Peaches and Mandarin oranges
    D: Navy bean soup, green salad

    Day 21, Tuesday: Listening to Editors - The Back Room

    L: Cantaloupe slices
    D: Black beans and chickpeas burger with lettuce and tomato

    Week four: Oct. 2 - Oct. 11:

    Day 22, Wednesday: Listening to New Order's - Technique

    Last week. Wow. What an adventure so far. A real challenge, to say the least. I will not miss quinoa or barley once this ends. But I have really enjoyed my cacciatore with green chiles and eating lots of fruit.

    L: Fresh strawberries
    D: Pasta Fagioli, steamed broccoli

    Day 23, Thursday: Listening to New Order's - Movement

    L: Cantaloupe slices
    D: Ginger and orange veggie stirfry over rice

    Day 24, Friday:

    L: Fresh strawberries
    D: Pasta Fagioli, green beans

    Day 25, Saturday:

    L: Cantaloupe slices
    D: Veggie fajitas, avocado and fresh tomato

    Day 26, Sunday:

    L: Sliced apples and pears
    D: Black bean and chickpea burger with lettuce and tomato


    Day 27, Monday:

    L: Cantaloupe slices
    D: Potato and corn chowder, sauteed collards

    Day 28, Tuesday:

    L: Cantaloupe
    D: Cacciatore over rice

    I'm so glad this is almost over. Next year I will do the challenge for two weeks only. After the second week it seems repetitive and the positive benefits were already to be had.

    Day 29, Wednesday:

    L: Peaches and pears slices
    D: Potato and corn chowder, green beans

    Day 30, Thursday:

    L: Peaches and Pears slices
    D: Linguini with tomato and roasted garlic

    My book finally arrived at the library. Better late than never. It's thin at only 200 pages.


    Day 31, Friday:

    L: Apple and pear slices
    D: Sauteed veggie wrap

    Strawberry, peach, and grapefruit cubes


    These are wonderful. My own creation.

    1 quart fresh strawberries, washed and halved
    1 15 oz can sliced peaces, drained
    Juice of two medium grapefruits
    2 packets of Truvia or Stevia

    In large bowl, puree all ingredients with handheld blender until smooth. Pour into ice cube trays. Freeze until solid. Remove from trays. Eat. Better than those expensive frozen fruit bars. And healthier.


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  1. realitybites
    Hi there.

    Thanks for reading and commenting. Wow, that cocktail sounds wonderful. Perfect for the Autumn weather up ahead. I love avocados. We have them in abundance here and cheap--sometimes six for a dollar. I am going to do a veggie wrap with avocado slices next week. I have been peeing like crazy. Must be getting rid of some chemicals and antibiotics.

    Yes, the mental detox has been the biggest contributor to my good mood as of late. It was hard to resist reading and posting the first two days. Now, it is much easier and not so tempting. Distance makes one see how silly it all was. And also I do see I was not helping matters by being cruel myself. It became a game of one-upmanship. I'm not proud of my behavior at all.

    I do hope the book comes out soon. I really want to read it.
  2. BrummieBoy
    Just found this, and really pleased you're up and running. Hope it goes well and will be following if not always commenting.

    My only observation is that I find avocado and nuts a wonderful satiation trick. And 85% cocoa chocolate. I use Stevia for sweetening and also drink a 'cappucino cocktail' of spices in warm almond milk as a soother and treat: cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, mixed spice.

    I also think the mental detox from the boards is going to help. I also will do that, but the autobiography media car-crash was irresistable, I'm afraid. all the best, bye for now.
  3. realitybites
    Month to month? I am only doing this for one month, Robby. Lol. But... I am liking how I feel so far, so I can't imagine going back to the way I was eating. I could go without dairy for the rest of my life, no problem. It is mollusks and fish I would miss most.
  4. Oh my god. it's Robby!
    I'll check in month to month, btw, after 6 months is the worst, I went another 6 after that, but it was hell
    I don't know your blood type(mine's 0-) so don't how bad it will be for you, but good luck!