Words on Wednesday

Wednesday (3)

If you have been reading my blog for the past few weeks you will have read that I  have started trying to eat more healthy.  I have decided to eat a predominantly vegan diet with a lot more fruit, vegetables and pulses, cereal and seeds included.

There are so many reasons behind this change in what I eat, I’ve been pescetarian for years, eating a mainly vegetarian-based diet, but I have not bought milk or eggs for the past 2 years.  I drink my coffee and tea black and didn’t have eggs unless they were in something that I had ordered or prepared for me.  The reason for that shift was that whenever I bought eggs or milk I was finding that it was, more often than not, going off and needed to be thrown away, and hating waste I decided to just stop buying them.  My theory was that if I didn’t have it then it couldn’t go off and I would not be wasting money or produce.  I would, however, occasionally buy yoghurt and have that as part of my lunch for work.

Since living on my own I have really struggled with cooking for myself.  Preparing meals for one was hard work and I found that I would often cook more than I needed.  Buying meals for one was often more costly than making something, and everything took ages from preparing to cooking to eating and cleaning up.

I started to rely on sandwiches, beans, toast, soup and cereal to get me through the week.  That and a LOT of snack foods.  I found that I was eating hardly any fruit and vegetables and relying too much on what was in stock in my local shop for food.

This “diet” left me feeling tired, my skin not looking its best, my weight starting to creep back up and I was just not feeling right with myself.

I looked hard at what I had been eating and what I should be eating and decided to make a move towards a more vegan lifestyle.  Gone are the cheese topped pizzas, cheese toasties, creamy pasta bakes and in its place I am now eating a healthy breakfast, either overnight oats, made with water and topped with dried fruit, seeds or fresh fruit.  For lunch, gone are the cheese sandwiches, and I now have vegan pasta salad with tomatoes, sweetcorn, red kidney beans and another veg, or I have a simple rice dish with similar ingredients.  I prepare my lunch the evening before, having it for my dinner in the night and then the following lunchtime.  Snacks used to be crisps or chocolate, hastily eaten and hardly tasted, now I’m eating fruit in the form of fruit salads or the fruit as it is, dried fruits, nuts or seeds.  A few times a week I have a breakfast smoothie in place of the overnight oats as a treat.

I’ve come to enjoy preparing my dinner and lunch for the following day, I’m feeling a lot more energetic and less foggy-headed, my skin is getting better and I have lost a small bit of weight too.  The biggest change for me is the cost, I’ve found that by simplifying what I eat I have been able to save money on my food bill even though I have to go food shopping more often.

I always thought that going vegan was going to be really expensive and that I would need to buy specific things to eat but, in all honesty, I don’t feel the need to replace meat in my diet as I haven’t eaten meat for so long anyway, or replace other things.  I thought that I would miss cheese but have found that I can live without it.

Another surprising thing is that meals have been so easy to prepare and taste lovely too.  Today’s lunch – brown rice with mixed veg and peppers, peas, kidney beans and a tin of tomatoes took me 25 mins to prepare and cook and is really filling.

While I wouldn’t say I’m completely vegan, I think the transition period will take a while, I’m enjoying this food journey so far and am looking forward to making even more changes to what I eat.

If anyone has any easy, cheap and tasty vegan recipes I’d love to hear about them in the comments!!!!

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Recipe of the Month – January

In my opinion there is nothing better, at this time of the year, than settling down with some toast and a lovely, hot bowl of soup while your favorite programme plays on the tv.  Today I am sharing my favorite Vegan Tomato and Bean Soup recipe that is easy to make, nutritious and filling.  The recipe was found on http://www.veganrecipeclub.org.uk and they have some really wonderful recipes on there to cover almost every type of meal imaginable!  It’s such a fab resource of recipes and would be super helpful to any of you attempting Veganuary this year!

Heres the recipe…

 

  • 900g/2lb plum tomatoes (Or you can cheat and use two tins of chopped! If so, start at no. 4) *
  • 30ml/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 275g/10oz onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 900ml/1½ pts/3¾ cups vegetable stock
  • 30ml/2 tbsp sun dried tomato paste (or just blitz about 3-4 whole SDT with water)
  • 10ml/2 tsp paprika
  • 15ml/1 tbsp cornflour or ½ tbsp arrowroot (arrowroot is GF) – mix to a paste with a little cold water
  • 425g/15oz tin cannellini or other small white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 30ml/2tbsp chopped fresh basil**
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

* I always use tinned tomatoes just because fresh tomatoes seem to get eaten as soon as they are purchased…

** I don’t always have fresh basil to hand and have used dried basil in its place, but please check the date when you opened the dried herbs as they can lose their potency once opened.

Additional things I sometimes add are oregano, thyme or vegan Worcestershire sauce.

Method…

  1. If using fresh tomatoes you will want to prepare them first.  To prepare them we need to peel them and then chop them.  To peel them it is easiest to place them in a bowl of hot (just boiled) water, then plunge them into cold water after around 10-20 seconds, then peel with a sharp knife.  Then cut into quarters.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan, I use the pan that I am going to make the soup in because I hate washing up!
  3. Add the onions and garlic and lightly fry before adding the tomatoes and the tomato paste into the mix.  I usually add the tomatoes once the onions have softened and become transparent.
  4. Add stock and season with salt, pepper and paprika.
  5. Bring the mix to the boil then leave to simmer for 10mins
  6. Add the cornflour (this will thicken the soup slightly)
  7. Drain and rinse the beans and add to the mix, stir through
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning, add basil then serve!

This recipe will serve 2 people easily!