Today marks Day 3 of our Vegan Challenge. And it’s already been challenging!
Thursday was Day 1, and our weekly shopping trip. I think this was a tough day mentally for Sean. Having to remind ourselves over and over that we couldn’t have milk, eggs, butter, and cheese (not to mention meat for Sean!), and reading the ingredients on absolutely everything that went into the cart…
The farmer’s market was easy, though we decided to make one stipulation – honey. Some vegans choose not to include honey in their diets, as it is technically an animal by-product. We, however, picked up some locally made and packaged honey because I am trying to find a holistic alternative to treat my allergies (I get terrible allergies in the fall and spring, and any time the “Santa Ana” winds blow, or if the pollen count is even a little higher than normal). One day this week I tried apple cider vinegar (2 Tbsp in 16oz. water, sip over the course of the day, or chug all at once. Take every day.). It was AWFUL. I even added more water, but it was just too gross for me to drink every day. I’m not a huge fan of honey, but it sounds loads better than apple cider vinegar every day!
This week at the farmer’s market we picked up a BUNCH of produce – apples, avocado, basil, carrots, a lemon, a lime, romaine, spinach, and probably a couple other things I can’t think of offhand.
Then we headed over to Sprouts and picked up things like granola, mixed nuts, peanuts, puffed rice cereal, couscous, egg replacer, vegan “cheese,” fake hot dogs, a cucumber (*not yet in season, will have to find an alternative for next week if possible), etc.
We also picked up almond milk (Albertson’s, much cheaper), pasta sauce, and refried beans for meals this week.
Shopping was difficult, and took a little longer than usual at the grocery stores. We had to read all of the ingredients on the list, and not just look for healthy food like normal, but also make sure there were no animals products hiding in the ingredient list. We learned quickly that you can’t trust the front of the package, you can only trust the ingredient list! One ‘vegan cheese’ contained milk by-products. Not really vegan, then, is it? It was also disheartening to realize how few vegan recipes we have “on file.” We had to look up a couple just to make enough dinners this week, so the next few weeks we will definitely be expanding our recipe book!
I think it was also disheartening for Sean to realize just how much animal by-product we consume. There was cheese in most of the pasta sauces, lard in the normal refried beans, and normal “Rice Krispies” are loaded with a bunch of crap you don’t need! (The puffed rice cereal I bought in bulk from Sprouts has one ingredient: brown rice.)
Breakfast for Sean has been toast (French bread and vegan butter) and oatmeal (with a little raw sugar). We’re going to try to find a vegan pancake recipe or something for him to test out.
For me, I’ve been eating the puffed rice cereal with almond milk, a strawberry-banana smoothie (again, with almond milk), and toast.
We made quinoa patty ‘muffins’ for lunches. The consistency isn’t quite the same this time, and we aren’t sure why. Maybe the egg replacer? Or the lack of cheese? We’ll have to experiment when we can use those ingredients again, and find out what the ‘key’ ingredient is.
Along with those, I add an apple, mixed nuts, a tangerine, half an avocado (to put on the muffins), and a slice of vegan brownie. (Although today I had another “green quesadilla” of pesto, avocado, and cucumber on a tortilla, and a side of leftover ‘cheesy’ mashed potatoes from dinner Thursday night. I think those green quesadillas are my new favorite!)
Sean adds an apple, carrots, granola, peanuts, salad, and a slice of vegan brownie.
We originally made a batch of brownies for a guinea pig bake sale at our Supply Day (a lot of our customers and supporters are vegetarian or vegan), and I came home with one brownie left over! They were actually really good and moist, even with no egg, so we made some for this week’s lunches.
Thursday we had a salad with a side of mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes were a little drier than we usually like, but still flavorful. I added a little ‘cheese’ to my salad, but that was NOT good. The cheese is kind of stinky, tastes funny, and the consistency is off. We’ll try a different kind next week and let you know how that goes.
Yesterday dinner was more quinoa patties (those are now a staple here because we can make a batch of 12 at a time, and they add a good helping of protein to our diet. They are also filling and tasty) and a ‘fruit/veggie of Sean’s choice.’ I let him pick out our side dish at the store. I tried to convince him to try something new and different, but he went for oranges. Why? No idea! He hates oranges! I devoured mine, but Sean only ate half of his (with many puckered sour faces). I gave the rest to the guinea pigs, who were grateful for the juicy treat.
Tonight we’re supposed to make vegan Boca burgers and a side of corn (canned from our pantry stash, because corn is not in season).
Also on the menu this week is a new recipe! Cherry Tomato Couscous Now, I’ve never had couscous before, so this will be new for me. Sean also doesn’t like how cherry tomatoes “pop” in your mouth, so we will probably be putting them in the food processor to avoid that. Also, we’ll obviously be forgoing the feta cheese.
If anyone has links to some good vegan recipes, we would really appreciate them! This is a totally new area for us, and we can’t depend on our cheese and egg replacements with the old ‘non-vegan’ recipes. They just aren’t the same. Thanks! 🙂