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Week 2 of the vegan experiment has come and gone and we are still going strong! If you missed week 1, check out the blog post. My husband and I are still feeling great and seeing the benefits of the plant-based diet. Specifically for me, I cannot ignore the changes I feel in my body. My sciatica is dramatically improved with absolutely no change in my physical fitness habits. It is hard to describe, but I just feel… healthy.
After getting our bearings for the first week, we got a little bit more creative with our menu for our second week. Some of these recipes were incredible and had me licking the bowl (marked with ♥). I’m not going to bother listing out breakfast since you’ve probably learned by now that no matter what I plan, I end up eating a Health Warrior Chia Bar and drinking a cup of coffee. I was also not great about tracking what snacks I was eating this week, but know that there were snacks throughout the day, mostly things like fresh fruit or a protein shake.
We are continuing to explore and research whether or not continuing to stay vegan is the right diet for us. Based on our research so far, we would likely need to start taking additional supplements in order to ensure we get all the vitamins and minerals our bodies need. My initial instinct is that over-supplementing with pills instead of food is in direct conflict with what I believe in so it is definitely a concern. We are looking into the Mediterranean Diet (still primarily plant based but not restrictive of fish and meat products), ovo-pescatarian (fish and eggs, no meat or dairy) and lacto-ovo pescatarian (fish and dairy, no meat). If we do decide to add anything back in, we will do it slowly. Since we absolutely feel a difference in our bodies, we want to ensure that we are conscious of how those feelings change when we add foods back in. If we determine pure vegan is not the way for us, I am confident that we will still stay primarily plant-based.
IMPORTANT: If you are considering any significant dietary changes, consult with a doctor first. Additionally, maintaining proper levels of B12 is critical if you are consuming a plant based diet. Low levels of B12 can cause nerve damage and anemia, among other things. As soon as we began eating a plant-based diet, we began taking a B12 supplement.
Tomato, Avocado, Pepper, and Cucumber Salad
Chop and combine 2 medium tomatoes (or more if using small tomatoes), 1 avocado, 1 cucumber, 1 bell pepper. Retain the juice that pools on the cutting board from chopping the tomatoes and pour it on top of the mixture. Add salt to taste and let the mixture sit in the fridge for 20 minutes if possible. The juice from the tomato and salt is honestly an amazing amount of flavor, but if you need a little more dressing than that, add a small amount of olive oil and vinegar to the mix and toss.
Mixed Veggie and Tofu Chilaquiles (Thug Kitchen Cookbook) ♥ ♥ ♥
This recipe was suggested to me by a friend and WOW it tastes good. Who knew plant-based Mexican food could taste this good? No matter what we end up doing with our diet, I know this dish will now be in the rotation in our meal plans.
Hummus and Cucumber Sandwich
You can use whatever bread you like. Spread the hummus on the bread, layer sliced cucumbers on top and some sprouts if you like. Store bought hummus is fine, but since it is so easy to make, we make our own. Combine 1 can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed), 1/4 cup of lemon juice, 1 small clove of garlic roughly chopped, 2 tbs. of olive oil, 3 Tbs. of water, and 1/2 tsp. of ground cumin. You can also add 1/4 cup of tahini if you like – we usually leave it out. Blend it in whatever appliance you have at home. We use our Nutri Ninja Auto iQ.
Hunky Heartbeat Cabbage Soup (recipe from oh she glows)
I thought this was good, but growing up Russian, I immediately compared this to borscht (beet-based soup). Unfortunately, it couldn’t compare. I think because the recipe had a marinara sauce base, that was all I could taste. I realize I haven’t made this sound appetizing, but if you don’t have anything to compare this to, the recipe is worth a try.
Spicy Dan Dan Noodles and Miso Soup from Snap Kitchen
Lunch was being provided at the office on this day and after realizing the taco spread that was being served wouldn’t allow me to eat much, I got takeout. This was my first time eating from Snap Kitchen, but I really liked it! The food came packed up cold and just needed a quick nuke in the microwave. I also loved that the soup container had a lid with a sippy spout so I could drink it alongside my meal instead of having to spoon it.
Vegetable Hakka Noodles (recipe from Vegan Richa) ♥
This recipe was incredibly simple, tasty, and was all in one pot! We made ours with soba noodles and omitted the onion – we aren’t big fans of cooked onion. The noodles and cabbage definitely filled me up, but I wasn’t left with that stuffed feeling.
Lentil Minestrone Soup and Red Pepper and Cucumber Salad
I didn’t have time to pack my lunch so down to the cafeteria I went! I’m always pleasantly surprised when I can find diet conscious options in a standard cafeteria. The minestrone soup had a vegetable base and the red pepper and cucumber salad happened to be pre-mixed with olive oil, vinegar and spices and was available in the salad bar.
Burrito Bowl (recipe from oh she glows) ♥ ♥
Doesn’t that look amazing? Well it was! I can also see myself using the avocado-lime sauce in a lot of different ways – including as a salad dressing. No burrito bowl is complete without cheese and we got our hands on a dairy-free “mozzarella” that did the trick. I think one of the hardest things about going vegan is looking for replacements for foods that you love. No fake cheese is going to taste like real cheese. I’ve found that I appreciate the flavors of things more if I just sample it without trying to compare it to something else.
Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce
I made a spaghetti squash earlier in the week to pack as lunch for the twins and had some leftovers. I mixed in some marinara sauce with the squash, sprinkled in a little bit of sea salt and heated it in the microwave.
Vegan Tortilla Soup (recipe from Thug Kitchen) ♥
My husband declared that this was the best soup I’ve ever made and proceeded to eat every drop of the leftovers over the next few days. I only had flour tortillas on hand versus corn so I made that substitution. I think it would have tasted even better with the corn tortillas. I also had some leftover black beans in the fridge and threw those in here.
For more simple vegan recipe ideas, check out this article from Positive Health Wellness.
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