Going Well… Mostly

I’m back after a bit of a break – not meeting my goals for blogging, that’s for sure!

I should explain why. In about a week and a half I’m heading to Europe for four weeks! I’m going to Turkey first, for the wedding of my best friend, then Germany to catch up with another friend, then London to see my cousin. I’m very excited! I will discuss my concerns in regards to plant-based eating while travelling in another post.

What it means is that I’m trying to get those four week’s of work done now before I go, so work is busy and I don’t feel that I can give up any time during the work day for my personal blog. Not that my employers mind – the blog was suggested in a work goal-setting session and they are very supportive. But I mind, so please excuse the decrease in posts for now!

Aside from falling short of my blogging goals, I really feel my eating is going well. I didn’t have a lot of social events on this past week, and I am loving trying all the vegan cafes and restaurants around work and home, so that hasn’t been an issue.

The Wannabe Herbivore: Vegan Box
I ordered the May Vegan Box! Some fun samples in there – my favourites were the drinking chocolate and the Apricot/chocolate bar.

Eating whole-foods has been the problem. I haven’t been feeling well anyway, and then combining that with stress, a birthday, and a breakup (not mine, but I’m a supportive eater), it hasn’t been the best of weeks!

One of the foods I need to mention is the ah-mazing cookies from The Post Punk Kitchen that I made for Steph’s birthday at work. I had a bit of a binge, because they taste so good and I got to eat them fresh out of the oven. I’m drooling over them now!

The Wannabe Herbivore: PPK Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
The PPK cookies – like a mix of brownie and cookie, with chocolate chunks thrown in!

I had some healthier meals, too. I had a delicious bean and quinoa soup (The ppk again!), and nachos with home made guacamole. I got lunch from The Bear Cafe near work a couple of days this week, and tried The Nutrition Bar near where I live. I had an acai bowl and a smoothie – a new weekend treat, I think!

The Wannabe Herbivore: The Nutrition Bar Smoothie
Smoothie from The Nutrition Bar

I had only one fail this week – garlic bread with my otherwise vegan pasta meal last night. Today there could have been a possible slip up as I had lunch at a vegetarian restaurant. They have a “bowl” system, in which you pay for your bowl size and can then have as much of anything that will fit in it. It was so delicious, and I did my best to only choose vegan options, but there could have been hidden ingredients that I wasn’t aware of.

The Wannabe Herbivore: Lunch from The Tofu Shop
My yummy bowl lunch from The Tofu Shop

That’s my week! I am really happy with my progress with plant-based eating. I am looking forward to getting back to a regular routine at some point in the future, so I have a bit more time and energy to make my own food.  I’m enjoying all of the blogs I’m following on here with so many great recipes and stories – so thank you and keep up the good work!

 

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A Good Week

Hey y’all!

I hope you’ve had a great week! I’ve had a good week both generally and in terms of eating.

I won’t outline every little thing I ate each day, as I have a whole week to get through, but I felt pretty good about my decisions this week, and I am feeling physically well as a result.

My main meals this week that I ate for lunches and dinners were roasted tomato pesto pasta, mushroom risotto, and roasted tomato and coconut soup.

The two roast tomato meals were from Oh She Glows, and oh were they delicious! I highly recommend them.

The Wannabe Herbivore: Oh She Glows roasted tomato pesto pasta
A terrible photo of my pesto pasta

 

The risotto wasn’t exactly a traditional risotto. I really, really wanted a mushroom risotto, but I’ve been eating heavy foods recently, and just wanted to give my body a bit of a break, so I made it with quinoa. I didn’t follow a recipe, but cooked the mushrooms, added the quinoa and veggie stock, and let it cook. Then sautéed some red onion with a splash of balsamic vinegar, and added that in at the end. I loved it!

The Wannabe Herbivore: Mushroom, red onion, and quinoa "risotto"
Mushroom, red onion, and quinoa “risotto”

I also attempted chia seed pudding as a snack option. I didn’t get the flavouring quite right, so it was a bit plain, but otherwise a good snack.

The Wannabe Herbivore: Chia pudding
Chia pudding

I had a social eating win on Friday, with office breakfast. We went to our usual cafe, where I’m normally disappointed with the options, but they had some vegan muesli balls available. As it’s getting colder here, these weren’t my first choice, but I was happy to have something. However, when I ordered, the waitress asked if I was vegan, and then proceeded to tell me all the other vegan options available and what they could change for me. I ended up ordering this Mexican influenced breakfast and it was delicious! They’ve won me over.

The Wannabe Herbivore: Stagger Lee's breakfast
My Mexican breakfast

I did have a bit of junk this week. On Wednesday I had dinner with a friend and we ordered pizza. I got mine without cheese or meat, so I thought that was a good compromise, and I felt a lot better than I would have eating a pizza with cheese.

I also treated myself to some Moo Free chocolate – I don’t know if anyone else has tried it, but YUM! So good. I also had some chips, and a few pieces of liquorice.

The Wannabe Herbivore: Moo Free Bunnycomb Bars
Moo Free Bunnycomb Bars

Friday night was a family dinner and we had Thai food. I couldn’t guarantee that everything was vegan, but I did my best and only had vegetarian items.

Despite the few treats, I stayed plant based all week! I’m feeling the benefits in that I’m generally happier, I feel healthier, I feel less puffy, and I went for run earlier in the week and ran the furthest ever! I should probably make it clear that it wasn’t far for most normal people, but it was an achievement for me, and I think a lot of it is down to eating better foods and less dairy.

This weekend I have a dinner with friends at a place that I don’t believe has any plant-based options. So we’ll see how that goes.

I’ll touch base again in a few days. Enjoy your weekend!

Repeating Past Mistakes

Over the long weekend, I thought I did fairly well with eating plant-based, but I did make a couple of mistakes that I have in the past. I’m still learning!

On Friday I wasn’t feeling my best. I just felt a bit off, probably from a variety of factors, so was a bit flat all day. I had toast and muesli for breakfast, left over pizza for lunch and some left over burrito bowl as an early dinner, as I was going out with friends.

Dinner was Mexican food, and I had an eggplant quesadilla and some chipotle chips. Not vegan. And to be honest, I wish I hadn’t eaten the cheese in the quesadilla. there wasn’t much in there, but I just felt like I had cheated myself. I put in my margin for things I can’t help or avoid, and the occasional slip up. But I didn’t feel good about choosing the quesadilla, when I could have had a salad instead. On top of that, I ended up feeling sick and having to head home early. I think it was just that I was already feeling off, and the heavy food didn’t help.

On Saturday I was feeling a bit better, and had a generally quiet day. I usually go to the market on Saturday mornings to get my food for the week, but did it on Sunday instead, so I didn’t have any of the usual fresh items to eat. I made smashed potatoes for lunch, a recipe I found on The Pioneer Woman quite some time ago, which was a weekend treat! (note: I think it was this website I got the recipe from, but I can’t find it anymore).

Then, to satisfy my sugar cravings I’d been having all week, I made a mug cake from Chocolate Covered Katie. So yummy! It put an end to my cravings, so I feel it was a good decision. I didn’t get photos of the potatoes or cake, as I ate them before I even had time to think about photos.

My mum was in town just for Saturday night, so she stayed and we got Thai for dinner. I was feeling pretty good about my dinner decisions, up until my pad thai arrived and I remembered that it comes with egg! Being conscious of little things like that is something I need to work on.

The Wannabe Herbivore: roasted garlic
Some roasted garlic from my Sunday cooking session

On Sunday I spent the day cooking for the week! We’re heading into winter in Australia, and while our winters do not compare to those in other places, the colder weather makes me want heavier comfort food. This meant there was some roasting going on, which made the house smell so good!

The Wannabe Herbivore: mushrooms
More cooking

I am still feeling good about my transition, and am trying not to be too hard on myself because I know that it will be a process for me. I’m feeling more confident in saying no to non-vegan foods, although still being tempted by vegan junk food. So that is something I need to work on. I also need to work on my social eating and not ordering the food I regret and that makes me feel icky. And lastly, being conscious of hidden ingredients.

Talk to you in a few days!

 

Catching Up!

I’m back! Apologies for not having written sooner.

This week was only a three-day week in Australia, as ANZAC day means we get Friday off. But because Easter fell so close to ANZAC day, it resulted in a very short week.

This is not a bad thing, but it did mean that everyone had to try to fit five days of work into three, which for me meant not a lot of time for personal blogging.

This week was also a challenge in other ways. Let me be clear in saying that it was not a bad week. Generally, it was a happy and positive week and all is good! But I was having serious sugar and junk food cravings, so not my healthiest week.

Let’s start on Monday (if I can remember that far back). I’d been craving brunch food, but quite specific, so my Sunday brunch didn’t satisfy. So I made my own version with baked beans (based on the Freestyle Beans recipe from Eamon Sullivan), mushrooms with thyme, roasted tomatoes, spinach with garlic, and light rye sourdough with avocado. YUM! Craving satisfied. I made enough of that to eat for lunch a couple of times this week, as well.

The Wannabe Herbivore: brunch

Honestly, I can’t remember exactly what else I ate on Monday, but I imagine toast with hummus featured quite a bit.

Tuesday I was back at work and there was a birthday to celebrate. We always do cake (or donuts), but I didn’t partake. Between you and me, I would have done bad things for some sugar, but I reminded myself how crappy it makes me feel, and had some chocolate tea when I got home instead.

I think I had leftovers of the creamy pasta for lunch, and left over “brunch” for dinner. Rice cakes with hummus and veggie sticks for snacks, and the usual green smoothie and porridge for breakfast.

Wednesday started off as usual. I had a smoothie and porridge, and then probably some muesli as a snack. But when it got to lunch, I just wanted some fried food. So I treated myself to a munch box from Lord of The Fries. And boy did it hit the spot!

The Wannabe Herbivore: Lord of the Fries munch box
Lord of the Fries munch box

I got fries and onion rings, with vegan gravy and cheese. I felt a little bloated afterwards, as tends to happen with fried food, but it’s nice having a vegan fast food option for those days when that’s all you want.

For dinner I had the last bit of the creamy pasta. That was such a good recipe, I’ll definitely make it again.

Thursday was a struggle! I didn’t sleep well on Wednesday night, so I was feeling a little testy from being tired and what-not. It is a great testament to the plant-based diet that I was only testy and not full-blown grumpy. But I did feel very hungry all day and wanted to eat all the bad things!

I had toast and porridge for breakfast, then a bowl of muesli, and I was still hungry, so ate my “brunch” leftovers for lunch at 11am. Whoops!

I decided later that I was going to get vegan hot jam donuts from down the street, because it was that kind of day, but my plans were foiled as they had sold out. Probably for the best.

BUT –  thank you universe – not long after, I received a delivery of some muesli (honey-free) that I’d ordered from Mix My Muesli. It was the perfect solution to my hunger, a nice afternoon pick-me-up, and it means I can stop eating the shared packet in the work kitchen (sorry, everyone).

The Wannabe Herbivore: Mix My Muesli delivery
My muesli delivery!

For dinner, I ordered the mushroom pizza with vegan cheese from Mr. Natural Vegetarian Pizza. It’s not really your traditional pizza, but it’s delicious and it was much lighter than normal pizza. I didn’t feel gross afterwards. There’s a couple of pieces left, so that will be my lunch today.

The Wannabe Herbivore: Mr. Natural Vegetarian Pizza
Terrible lighting, great pizza

That’s my week so far. Even though I was craving unhealthy foods this week, I am lucky that there are so many vegan options available to me on a daily basis. I am really enjoying getting involved in this lifestyle and community.

Have a great rest of the week, everyone!

Easter Sunday

I hope everyone had a great Easter!

Sunday was a big eye-opener for me.  I said yesterday that Sunday would be my cheat day. I guess those weren’t the right words, because I know that being plant-based isn’t a diet, or something that I’m being forced to do, so I don’t need to cheat. What I meant was that it would be the day where I use my 10%-20% margin for my eating goals.

This wasn’t about chocolate. I’ve been trying to cut back on sugar for a while, as I’ve found that it affects me negatively. I always feel flat, unmotivated, and sad after eating too much sugar. So while I have not cut it out entirely, I’ve tried to cut back and asked my family not to give me chocolate for Easter.

The Wannabe Herbivore: soy latte
Soy latte made by my friend who works at the cafe – so good!

As I mentioned, we had no big family plans, so I went out for brunch with some friends. I failed the social eating test (again) and ate a non-vegan brunch. The people I was with always order off the menu, and so I try to stick to the menu when I’m with them so as not to make the job of the cafe even more difficult. But it just reminded me that I need to stand by my beliefs.

The only other non-vegan thing I had was two small easter eggs. That was all the chocolate I got (my family are great!).

But I did eat a packet of flavoured chips, which while technically vegan, left me feeling really crappy. So my reasons for eating this way were brought back to me very clearly: my health. It’s not just about being plant-based, it’s about eating good, whole foods. The only person who loses when I try to “cheat” is me.

The Wannabe Herbivore: burrito bowl
Burrito bowl with avocado salsa

One yummy meal I did make yesterday was a burrito bowl with brown rice, capsicum, onion, garlic, zucchini, and avocado salsa. Success!

So for future reference, please feel free to remind me why I’m doing this and how bad I feel when I eat badly. The occasional indulgence is ok, though!

Feeling Inspired

Hey everyone!

So here I am with my next update, focusing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Overall, I’d say these days have been pretty good food-wise.

On Thursday  I had a smoothie for my first breakfast, and had intentions of porridge for my second breakfast. However, we usually have an office breakfast outing on Fridays, but since none of us would be there on Good Fridat, we had it on Thursday instead.

The cafe we go to doesn’t really have great plant-based options, and I’m always hesitant to order off the menu. I got fruit toast with apricot jam and pistachios. Normally it comes with honey mascarpone, but I asked them not to bring it out. I knew I wasn’t going to eat it, and I didn’t want them to have to throw it out. The fruit toast was quite good, but next week I might see if they can do a simple toast and avocado.

The Wannabe Herbivore: fruit toast
My office breakfast

I ate my porridge as an early lunch, and then decided not to eat the lunch I had brought with me. Instead, I tried a cafe down the road called The Bear Cafe, that does all vegan food. It’s my new favourite place! I got a toasted sandwich, that was olive and rosemary bread filled with mushrooms, capsicum, caramelised onion and vegan cheese. The picture doesn’t do it justice, but I couldn’t wait any longer to eat it.

The Wannabe Herbivore: Toasted sandwich
Sandwich from my new favourite cafe

Afternoon tea was veggie sticks, and dinner was cheater pad thai by Happy Herbivore.

Friday was good also. My sister and I went to my friend’s house for an “orphans’ Easter”. Not that we’re orphans! Our mum lives a few hours away, and was going interstate for Easter, so we decided not to do any family things this year. But my friend’s family always have an “orphans’ Easter” for friends and neighbours who don’t have anything on.

I wasn’t sure if the hot cross buns they ordered would be plant-based, so I had porridge for breakfast. Then when we left their place, we dropped by my new favourite cafe (my friend’s house is near there, I swear!) and got another delicious toasted sandwich! This time it was roast pumpkin. I also had a Mister Nice Guy’s cupcake. So happy I found this place!

The Wannabe Herbivore: Mister Nice Guy's cupcake
Cupcake time!

Dinner was a hodge-podge of leftovers.

Saturday was full of carbs! I’m not anti-carb by any means, but I pretty much just ate from the one food group all day. For breakfast, I bought a light rye sourdough loaf and made a fresh batch of hummus, so had toast with hummus and tomato.

The Wannabe Herbivore: Sourdough and hummus
Fresh hummus is so good

I then donated blood, and am usually so excited about the refreshments bar afterwards, but was a bit limited this time around. Obviously they want you to have a good amount of calories to get some energy back, but I couldn’t really eat chocolate muffins and cookies. So I had some plain chips (or crisps for those not in Australia), a juice, and a hot cross bun I’d brought from home that I knew to be vegan.

After I got home, I pretty much ate toast and hummus all afternoon, and then made creamy garlic pasta for dinner. I found the recipe here, added spinach to it, and it was so good! It was also really easy to make. I highly recommend it.

Overall, I feel good about what I’m eating and I’m having a lot of fun making new recipes. Even though I have dabbled with plant-based food before, I have a renewed sense of excitement and inspiration in the kitchen. I think this is down to feeling a lot better physically and mentally after just a few (not-perfect) days eating this way.

Today is Easter Sunday, and while I have requested no chocolate, I will make today my cheat day. I’ll fill you all in on that next time!

Happy Easter everyone!

Lessons

My plant-based journey continues!

While I’m still very new to this, I have discovered some amazing vegan blogs, and am already feeling the support from others. Thanks guys!

My last two days of plant-based eating have been a semi-success, but I have made a couple of mistakes (and, I hope, learned from them).

I have really had it reinforced that my biggest issue in staying plant-based is social pressure. I need to get over what other people think, or the fear that I’m inconveniencing others.

The fact is, the people I have told have been very supportive and are happy to help me achieve my goal. In reality, it doesn’t really effect them at all, so why do I worry about it so much?

Having said that, social eating is the main reason I have set my goal to be 80%-90% plant-based, rather than 100%.

So here is what I ate:

The food I made for myself and ate during the day on Tuesday and Wednesday kept to my goal. I had the same breakfast(s) as usual, being a green smoothie and porridge with berries. Both days I ate my second breakfast quite late, so didn’t need morning tea.

Lunch was the same both days, too, being brown rice with red onion, bok choy and satay tofu; leftovers from Monday night’s dinner. Not going to lie, it was delicious!

The Wannabe Herbivore: brown rice, red onion, bok choy, and satay tofu.
My delicious leftovers!

Afternoon tea varied across the days, but included carrot and capsicum sticks and rice cakes with avocado and black pepper. Some lemon juice on the avocado would have been nice, but I wasn’t that prepared.

The Wannabe Herbivore: avocado and rice cakes
Afternoon snack – rice cakes and avocado.

On Tuesday, I had dinner with my friend Toyah at a dumpling house in the city. I used to be housemates with Toyah, so she knows my preference for vegetarian/vegan food, and her family are always so sweet and inclusive of me at get-togethers. So I explained what I was doing to her, and she was more than happy to help me along. We ordered vegetarian dumplings, Chinese broccoli and pumpkin cakes.

The Wannabe Herbivore: dumplings and broccoli
Vegetarian dumplings and Chinese broccoli at dinner.

One issue I came across was that I don’t actually know all of the ingredients in the dishes, such as pumpkin cakes. Does anyone know if these are vegan?

Apart from a bit of vagueness, I was feeling generally good about my decisions, until I realised afterwards that the broccoli had oyster sauce on it. Big fail!

On Wednesday, I had dinner with a family friend. She chose the venue, and it unfortunately had limited vegetarian options. Again, she was really sweet and happy to share vegetarian dishes, but it definitely wasn’t a plant-based meal.

What I learned from these experiences is that I need to be more aware of what I’m eating, and perhaps do a bit more research. I also need to work on worrying about others so much, but that may take a bit of getting used to.

I’m happy to say that I’m not craving non-vegan food, such as chocolate or cheese, and that is making things much easier. I just need to say no to other people!

If anyone has advice, please share! How do you deal with the social aspect of being plant-based?