9 Fun Discoveries from Vegan Week

lentils & hummus

After lots of soul searching over the years, I know that being an omnivore is the best dietary decision for me.

Especially given the restrictions involved with eating low carb for my diabetes.

But I’m also a huge believer in the power of eating plants.

And I love experimenting with different styles of eating.

So after my recent Local Food Month, I was inspired to try a week of eating vegan.

Yep 7 days of only plants.

Here’s what I found…

9 Fun Discoveries from Vegan Week

1. I can survive without milk in my tea.
This year I’ve fallen into the bad habit of having lots of milk in my tea. And multiple cups. Every morning.

I knew it wasn’t great for my blood sugar but was surprised just how big the spike was when I was wearing a continuous blood sugar monitor the week before ‘vegan week’.

Rather than explore dairy-free milks I decided it was time to go back to milk-free tea.

Perfect for vegan week.

Surprisingly, once I made the blanket decision or ‘personal rule’, it was easy to stick to. And I found myself rediscovering my love to black teas.

2. Lentils and chickpeas aren’t so bad for my blood sugar.
Ever since being diagnosed with diabetes, I’ve mostly eliminated legumes and focused on eating veggies instead. But I really miss chickpeas and lentils.

Was very happily surprised how little they spike my blood sugar if I keep my portions modest and eat them with lots of delicious plant-based fat. Tahini, nuts, avocado and olive oil, I’m looking at you!

3. Coconut kefir and coconut yoghurt are delicious.
I’ve been making milk kefir for a few months now. So just switched to using coconut milk to feed it. So far so good. And I prefer the flavour of my ‘Co-Kefir’.

I hadn’t made coconut yoghurt in years. And have been meaning to improve on this recipe which uses egg white powder (a tricky ingredient to find). Before vegan week, I made a batch using gelatine to thicken and it was really lovely.

My vegan coconut yoghurt attempt was using pectin to thicken. It was a total #fail from a texture perspective, but delicious all the same. More experiments needed!

4. Cashew yoghurt is the business!
I also made a batch of cashew ‘yoghurt’ by pureeing 200g (7oz) cashews with the same amount of water. Then adding some yoghurt starter culture and leaving to ferment for a few days. Love the tangy creamy nutty flavour and the texture was pretty similar to regular yoghurt. Definitely one to repeat.

5. Home made coconut milk is easy.
It’s not as rich as commercial coconut milk in a can, but nice to make if you want to minimize canned food. Just soak some shredded or desiccated coconut in boiling water for 20-30 minutes. Then puree in your food processor / blender. Strain and keep the solids to use in baking (something I’m yet to do!)

6. The biggest blood sugar spike award went to…
A delicious crisp ‘Lady Laura’ apple from the farmers market. Such a treat!

But a good confirmation that fruit, even whole fruit can get the blood sugars higher than one would like for everyday eating.

7. I really miss eggs.
While I was happy without dairy, meat or fish, I found myself looking longingly at the eggs I collected from my chooks each morning.

This was mostly driven by the fact that my ‘princesses’ are laying like champions at the moment. So with me out of egg-eating action, the pile of ‘eggs to eat’ was getting higher and higher. Nothing a few omelette and frittata dinners won’t fix.

8. The secret to vegan mayo!
This was an accident I discovered a while back when I used my stick blender on a salad dressing with mustard. It emulsified just like mayo. Without any eggs!

This week I’ve played around with a vegan mustard based mayo. Not 100% happy with the recipe but close! Will share when I nail it.

9. Tempeh is delicious!
Move over tofu. Inspired by the lovely Brooke McAlary, I picked up a packet of tempeh and was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it on day 1 of vegan week.

Simply BBQed and tossed in soy sauce and served with my vegan mustard mayo, I was just as happy as my Irishman was with his steak and potatoes. It also worked well as extra protein in my Butter Chickpea Curry and for numerous abundance bowl lunches.

Not-So-Surprising Reminders…

Vegan food is delicious!
Definitely not surprising. I love vegetables, legumes and nuts. It was a treat to revisit some favourte recipes like these butter chickpeas (using coconut cream) and these hummus and falafels. Yum Yum Yum!

Eating Out as a Vegan is Difficult
I only had one lunch out during vegan week. I chose a restaurant that does an excellent job of catering for different dietary requirements.

While my ‘veggie bowl’ was delicious, it was really the only choice I had.

It’s fun to do experiments
I always learn something when I play around with different diets. It’s a really fun way to ‘mix things up’ and allow yourself to have new food experiences.

Next up I’m planning to do a ‘Keto’ week to see how it feels to be super low carb.

What about you?

Have you experimented with eating a completely plant-based diet? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below…

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x

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