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Veganuary Challenge Week One

It's been one week since our very own deputy editor, Sophie, took up the Veganuary challenge. Find out how she's getting on...

Veganuary Challenge Week One

Well doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun. Here we are, one week into the Veganuary challenge, and unsurprisingly, I’m loving it! Seven days of delicious breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks fuelled by nothing but plant-based goodness. So here’s what week one has looked like…

As so many people do after December’s belt-busting festivities, I took the plunge and joined a gym in the new year and – four sweaty sessions later – I’m slowly getting back into my exercise groove. A few doubters have already questioned whether a vegan diet can provide sufficient protein for my weight-training regime and I finally understand that knee-jerk reaction to roll your eyes to the back of your head! Anyone looking to make the change to veganism, might want to acquaint themselves with Veganuary’s handy myth buster. Thanks to it, I now have a response ready and waiting – in case you were wondering, there’s plenty of protein in green vegetables, beans and pulses, grains and nuts!

So, what have I been eating this week? First, I’ve noticed that so many of my veggie-friendly breakfasts were already accidentally vegan – porridge made with almond milk, topped with fresh or stewed fruit and that Instagram classic: #avocado on toast. So, apart from the obvious substitutes, such as a dairy-free yoghurt (I’m loving the range from Coconut Collaborative), breakfast is pretty much the same. Lunch and dinners however have needed slightly more thought; namely some crafty alternatives to get through 31 days without my beloved cheese and eggs.

As expected, fruit and vegetables have taken the star in almost every show-stopping dish. I’ve rekindled my love of beetroot despite the cerise hue left on my kitchen countertops, hands and Nutribullet, and have fallen head over heels for broccoli in all its guises (though marinating blanched florets in Borderfields garlic-infused rapeseed oil, chilli flakes and flaked almonds, then roasted for 10-12 mins in a 180C oven is a current favourite).

Inspired by my collection of bedside cookbooks (find out what I've been reading) a tray of sweet potatoes were given a new lease of life in a comforting spiced dhal and a reduced bag of parsnips and an onion were turned into the biggest vat of fresh soup, with leftovers frozen for speedy sustenance.

Of course, I’ve had some help along the way. A perfectly timed (no really, I was on the point of caving and ready to buy a bag of Maltesers) box of vegan goodness arrived on Thursday from the lovely folk at Vegan Tuckbox. The monthly subscription box was brimming with unique brands I'd never heard of before with the Rhythm 108 biscuits and Snact fruit jerky proving particular highlights. Never one to shy away from an experiment, another challenge came in the shape of Terra Vegane’s box of Mac & Cheez. Now, if you’re a vegan and you’re reading this, bear with me while I slide down the wall in a state of cheeseless frustration. You don’t need to tell me this will get easier, I know as my body adjusts to new flavours, my palate will crave, if not love, the vegan substitutes, but honestly, I’m not there yet. As I stood alone in the kitchen eating the, albeit tasty, bowl of pasta, I debated internally who would ever know if I dug out the frozen block of Cheddar I’d stashed away on December 31st, and grated the whole thing straight into my mouth. I resisted (just!) and rewarded my commitment with an oh-so-good piece of Adam’s Raw Chocolate. Never has supper caused such emotional drama.

VEGANUARY HIGHLIGHTS – WEEK ONE

The Raw Chocolate Co raw chocolate goji berries and mulberries – my go-to sweet treat.

Ten Acre crisps – possibly the best crisp on the market. Give me any flavour, any time.

100% Natural – raw brownies, perfect for breakfast on-the-go or 3pm sweet craving.

Tigg’s Cool Basil & Pea – vibrant pre-made dressing, so good mixed with raw cauliflower rice.

Meridian Crunchy Hazelnut Butter – alone I eat this straight out of the jar with a spoon. but if in company, i’ll put it on a Rude Health buckwheat and chia cracker with sliced banana.

Miso Tasty Spicy Aka Miso Soup – warming umami deliciousness at my desk.

The sweet potato and okra stew with brown rice from the new Fast & Free menu launched nationwide at LEON restaurants.

So that’s week one done and dusted and onto week two with vigour. I’m planning plenty of more culinary experiments in an attempt to widen my plant-based repertoire, so follow along my brilliant (and failed!) attempts on Twitter and Instagram. I’m @rae_soph, come say hi!

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