by - November 24, 2017

Perfectly Claudia

After a long think about my eating habits, consciously wanting to be healthier, and then stumbling across some vomit-provoking meat related details online, I have decided to give ‘plant based’ a go…

I’m not going 100% plant based, I do still want eggs for the extra protein (and I just really love eggs) and maybe the odd fish dish, but other than that I’m going to try the herbivore lifestyle. This isn’t because I think eating meat is bad, I am all for the bacon, but I can’t get to the gym for a little while and so I want to try and eat as clean as possible… and like I said, vomit-provoking meat related details online (it’s honestly a real challenge to put me off food). I’m not going to go into all of the ingredients to check everything ever made, but will look for the ‘v’ for vegetarian safe options – even when eating out, which is going to be an interesting challenge because I’m off on adventures next week.

Monday afternoon I really took all of this to heart, and when I set my mind to something I tend to go hard or go home. Moments later I put in a food shop for the following items…

Tenderstem Broccoli
Chestnut mushrooms
White mushrooms
Spring onions
Rice noodles
Egg noodles
Water chestnuts
Red onions
Garlic bulbs

Thai Red Curry paste
Tamarind paste
Coconut milk

Cranberry Juice
Orange Juice
Almond unsweetened milk

Some veggie-friendly biscuits (no chocolate)

I already have an array of fruits and veggies in the fridge and cupboards (like green apples, lemons, carrots, peppers, chick peas, lentils, etc.) but did a little Pinterest research for some plant based recipes and worked around those. I didn’t find the food shop any cheaper than my usual monthly food shop, proving that eating clean/plant based is just as expensive as eating meat. I do buy a lot of fruit and veg anyway, but not on such a grand scale; my fridge is definitely far more colourful than normal, but as most of my dishes will be veg based I decided to stock up. Unfortunately it’s 90% un-freezable and is all quickly perishable, so I decided to buy just one or two of each item and will stock up again when necessary. It’ll be interesting to see how far it will all go.

I tend to cook enough for two or three portions at one time, not because I’m terrible at portion sizes (I am) but because I like to have leftovers that I can eat during the rest of the week. Not only does this mean that I won’t waste the fresh produce that would otherwise sit in the fridge, but it means that I have pre-made, fresh, dishes ready and waiting in case I’ve had a busy day. If I can freeze these meals then that’s even better. For example, I’ll cook a pack of tofu in one go and set some aside in an air-tight tub in the fridge for another meal. I’ll cook it plain so that I can throw it into any meal as I’m going and it won’t get in the way of the new meal’s flavours. Win win

Perfectly Claudia

Breakfast has been the tough one so far, and I have been having either toast and a banana or toast with poached eggs and beans. I’ll more than likely carry on with these items for breakfast, but am trying to master vegan pancakes… it’s not been successful so far. I tried completely vegan pancakes one morning and they were just a gooey mess, it really was awful, honestly it was so bad! After that huge huge kitchen faux pas (as I'm eating eggs) I've opted for 'nearly' plant based pancakes and these have worked really well. I'm using almond milk instead of cow milk... and I was a little put off by the nutty smell as they were cooking, but I had no problems eating a batch - especially with toppings. Success! I can add different fruits every morning, which somewhat saves the breakfast-time monotony and is a great way to get those five a day. I don't eat cereal anyway for the sake of avoiding the calcium in milk; since my kidney stones in Norway I've eased off the calcium a lot - which makes avoiding dairy a whole lot easier in this new plant based diet.

Funnily enough I’ve not really eaten lunch for a couple of weeks now, which is really unusual because I am the most ravenous person. I think I’ve had a lot of stress in the background, or I’ve simply been so busy that I haven’t stopped to eat. This week I mass produced a fruit salad with bananas, oranges, green apples, kiwis, strawberries, melon, and a dash of honey and separated it into tubs and popped those into the fridge. Considering it is just a bowl of fruit it’s kept me full from lunch time to almost dinner time. I’m impressed. If I were in the office I’d be snacking away like nobody’s business – maybe I was just beyond bored and trying to fill my time with food. I'll be remaking the fruit salad today as it's all gone already.

Perfectly Claudia

I might have a cuppa and a few veggie-friendly biscuits before I start prepping for dinner, just to give me a little boost. I’ve ditched cow milk entirely and have swapped to roasted, unsweetened, almond milk – and I actually prefer it. Really prefer it. I was so worried that I’d hate it; I really don’t like soya milk and didn’t want to have to force myself to drink the lesser of two evils. Almond milk does make the tea look a lot more like lightly muddied water than actual tea, but it has so much more body (in taste) than cow milk. You can barely taste the tiny hint of almond flavour. I was straight on the phone raving to my mum to try it as she’s lactose intolerant, hopefully she takes my advice. What a plant-based win!

Dinners have been amazing. I’m so excited to be in the kitchen cooking away. I love cooking a fabulous meal, but just haven't had the time with working a full time job, then going to the gym for an hour, then trawling myself home. I did get a bit lazy with what I was eating. Everything was a bit brown, with the odd side-salad of guilt thrown in. So far this week I’ve made myself a Thai Green Curry with tofu and brown rice (two portions), a tofu Pad Thai (two portions that I ate as one portion, oops), and a DIY Chinese sauce with tofu and brown rice (two portions). I’m really pleased with myself. Good job me. I’ve been full after every meal and not been dying for a snack afterwards. I’ve maybe had a cuppa with a handful of biscuits whilst watching a film in the evening, but nothing more at all. No crying to myself that I didn’t buy any savoury treats to eat all night long. How great is this! 

Perfectly Claudia

Perfectly Claudia

I’m really hoping to see a difference from being fuller for longer on far healthier foods, and for not craving oodles of snacks all day/evening. I’m already starting to notice a difference in energy levels. I do get up early anyway, but last weekend I was really struggling to force myself out of bed. I had had a really busy week adventuring around Bath, but I shouldn’t feel so drained and unmotivated. This week I’ve been up early every morning and have even been squeezing in a little home work out. I’ve also been going out and about on walks a lot more (as well as basking on the sofa, naturally).

The combination of eating right, doing a little home exercise, and going for beautiful woodland walks should eventually start to pay off – or so I hope. I need to keep my fitness levels high for my Iceland trip next month (can you believe this time next month I’ll be in Iceland) as it’s going to be another really active trip with lots of glacier walks. I really surprised myself in Norway with how far I managed to go without needing to push myself, so I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to keep up in Iceland. But every little exercise activity helps.

I am wondering if I’ll reintroduce white meats back into my diet next month, especially for Christmas. As they’re so lean they’ll happily fit in with the clean eating side of things, and if I buy the whole bird rather than just a breast or a leg then I’m assuming I’ll have a better knowledge of the bird’s health and quality. Of course free-range and organic will be on my list (if I can find the spare pennies), and if I do reintroduce white meat it’ll be for just one or two meals a week maximum – if that. Who knows, I could really get into plant based meals and never look back. I have however made a mental note not to ruin dinners for friends and family though, I will still cook meat for them, and will still eat meat if I go to them and that’s what they’ve cooked. I don’t want to be the awkward burden, and I don't think I mind the thought of meat as a treat now and again. As I said, it's not that I'm against meat or hate meat, I'm just trying something new to see the pros/cons and (hopefully) benefits of plant based (...and the vomit-provoking meat related details online are still fresh in my mind).

If you have any plant based tips or recipes for me please do comment with them below! I’d love to hear if anyone is thinking about going plant based, or has tried it and didn’t get on with it, and I definitely want to hear your success stories.

Claudia xo

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