When I moved to the sunny Gold Coast, I knew I’d be living vegetarian – this wasn’t too much of a problem for me, I’m quite happy to BBQ meat or fish by the beach, continue my poke bowl obsession and really, any excuse for a steak out is ok by me.
When I arrived, the reality was it was more of a vegan situation.
Quite a shock to my favourite easy meals: scrambled eggs or cheese on toast with avo and marmite (and of course butter). But here I am living the vegan life anyway (with a bit of ghee thrown in), learning a lot about my diet and views on the topic along the way. Plus I can’t locate (proper) marmite anywhere here so I suppose it wouldn’t be the same anyway.
So first up, I have never eaten so many veggies in my life – and I’ve always eaten what I thought was a fair amount – but eating the rainbow has never been so easy, so there’s the first positive.
For a (very) short time, I thought I might even save money without buying so much meat – needless to say that is definitely not the case, though I’m sure it could be possible but trying to maintain a diet of organic, majority unprocessed foods is still pricey. Plus I live for variety, and food.
I’ve never found it quite so difficult to eat enough food, let alone protein. I’ve always been quite the carb fiend and I was told I would up the carbs (not sure that was possible) with a vegan diet. Being a good eater, eating sufficient food hasn’t ever really been an issue for me..until now, but I’m getting there, learning what to keep stocked up on to increase my calories and keep me satiated. I have been feeling a bit tired during my work day – not sure whether that’s due to the not so scintillating work, or perhaps a lack of iron?
Another revelation: I didn’t realise tofu was actually tasty – I have been known to be a touch fussy when it comes to food texture and mainly because the only time I’ve tried it was an experiment my mum did (bearing in mind she is easily the best cook I know), roasting it in the oven. It was….for lack of a better word, gross (sorry mum!) but I have enjoyed frying tofu (I use avocado oil, or ghee aka not vegan) and it’s pretty tasty with a satay sauce (I usually get firm tofu). In fact my quick, go to meal has been avocado on toast with tofu on top, especially with some sauerkraut and goji berries. Almost on par with scrambled eggs on avocado, almost.
Now, some of my plant based life savers:
- Coconut yoghurt – for breakfast, snacking, on curries, with probiotics too!
- Peanut butter – doesn’t really need any clarification does it?
- Nuts (I get activated nuts for snacking, breakfast, toppings, everything)
- Bonsoy, my favourite soy milk because of its superior creaminess but I also like to mix up my non dairy nut mylk selection – I have made some cashew mylk which is a great alternative and also sampled some homemade almond & macadamia milk which was amazing.
- Chickpeas – hummus, curries, falafel – a staple.
- Herbs and spices – the essentials to making everything tastier, I don’t think I’ve had one bland meal.
A typical food day is as follows:
- overnight oats (a mixture I pre-make and leave in a jar of oats, psyllium husk, buckwheat, chia seeds, ground almonds, linseed, sunflower seeds, slippery elm bark powder) with plant based milk, topped with fruit (any combo, usually blueberries, strawberries, mixed fruit chia compote, kiwi, goji berries, banana), peanut butter, medjool dates, dried figs, bliss balls, nuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut and a pinch of salt.
- lunch: leftovers from the night before, or a salad (my favourite is noodles, carrots, bean sprouts, satay sauce etc) and half an avocado (with peri peri salt and a squeeze of lime).
- tea: roasted root veg (sweet potato, swede, beetroot) with steamed veg (usually broccoli, cauliflower, beans, carrots, asparagus etc), and some form of curry type thing – a lentil dahl, chickpea, coconut and tomato curry along with some rice, tofu and sauerkraut. For a quick meal I have toast with mashed avocado and tofu on top along with stir fried green veg, or some leafy greens and some sauerkraut.
I do have a stash of bone broth and beef jerky which I keep at work, oh and my morning butter coffee. But I really believe in moderation and balance when it comes to diet, intuitively listening to what your body needs and sourcing your products responsibly when you can.
Will I continue a vegan lifestyle? No, but I will have considerably more plant based meals especially as I find it difficult to source ethically sourced, sustainable meat and fish (any recommendations more than welcome) – I have actually thoroughly enjoyed my little foray into the vegan realm but I think my body benefits from meat and fish too.
I’ll try to get some recipes up here for anyone interested in some easy vegan meals too…..
Earlier this week I stumbled across a post on instagram asking if figs were vegan……………………….apparently a wasp has to die during pollination to make the fig edible. Is that cruelty to animals or is that just ecology and nature? I’ll just leave that there, food for thought.