Outdoor activities with a healthy dose of curiosity, brought to you by Laure Latham
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This is Day 2 of my Veganuary pledge to eat vegan during 30 days. I’m still very much a beginner vegan but I’m learning and I’m intrigued. What’s new today?
I woke up at 6.08am to go to my swim training, having slept quite well and feeling rested. I wondered if eating vegan would have an influence on the quality of my sleep. Over the holidays, I’ve suffered from mild insomnia and it’s not fun checking the alarm clock every hour before dawn.
At 6.25am, I’m out the door and cycling to my local pool. As usual, I swim on an empty stomach and so far, it’s been OK. I don’t think that one day of vegan diet can change my energy levels dramatically but still, it’s bound to have consequences. Right?
At 7.25am, 1.3K later, I’m rushing out of the pool to get my girls to school and to eat.
The Hobbit Syndrome strikes again. I don’t have time to have breakfast at home so I pack granola, a banana and soy yogurt for the office. That said, by 7.35am, I’m ravenous and wolf down two bananas. When I kiss my oldest daughter goodbye, I realize that the youngest has been strangely quiet.
To get her breakfast on the go, I carry her part of the way on the rear rack of my bike and she grabs two brownies at Pret-A-Manger. That’s breakfast sorted for her.
At 8.20am, we arrive in front of her school and I continue on bicycle.
At 9am, I reach the office. First things first, boiling water for tea. I can’t think straight without a cup of tea. It’s the tail end of a jar of Fortnum & Mason’s Christmas tea with winter spices and it’s delicious. As I get my granola ready in the office kitchen, I spot two bowls of fresh fruit on the main table. Since I’m very hungry by now, I add a conference pear to my breakfast granola. Granola + banana + conference pear + soy yogurt = happy face.
At first taste, soy yogurt lacks the acidity of cow milk yogurt and has a gelatinous texture, but tastes fine otherwise. It’ll do fine.
That’s it. I’m stuffed. That was the point and it feels good.
I’m at the Law Society for a meeting at noon. Finding the private dining room where our meeting is taking place is somewhat of a challenge. Did the receptionist say “to the bottom on your left”? I look everywhere. I’m already underground in the basement. Is there another secret lower level?
My, these tunnels look straight out of a WW2 movie. I find out later that the building’s architect also created underground stations. That explains the awesomeness of the tunnels and fortified brickwork. Private dining room found. They’re super nice and offering me tea and cookies. I eye the cookies longingly and focus on my cup of tea.
An hour later, we move to the cafeteria for lunch. The catering department has outdone itself! I didn’t think they’d be able to pull such a nice lunch at short notice.
Check this out. Wild mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, eggplants and sprouts on polenta. I’m impressed! And love it. It’s filling and it looks healthy. Dessert is even more fun.
Presented as a humble fruit salad, this is in fact coconut custard on a bed of raspberry coulis, with coconut chips and fresh blueberries. It’s excellent! I know it won’t be every day but this is so creative. Thank you, Law Society!
After the workshop, I stop at an Itsu shop and get rice and chocolate snacks for emergencies. It’ll be my secret stash and I swear that I won’t touch it unless I’m ready to hurt a croissant.
When I get back to the office, I’m glad to walk all the way instead of being on a bus as the flatulence effect has started again. Oh my Lord! It’s non-stop until the office where, by magic, sitting seems to stop inconvenient vegan side-effects. Yesterday, I read a few posts of Veganuary’s Facebook page mentioning bloating. Yup, I’ve got that too. They say it lasts 4 or 5 days. Something about the body getting rid of toxins. Charming.
That said, I’m still a bit hungry. I eat an apple and a handful of nuts. There. Good until dinner.
Getting home at 6.30pm, it’s a bit of a mad rush to get dinner ready. One thing I’m learning is that vegan meals take a long time to prep. Fortunately, I don’t need to be inspired tonight. I browse through one of my Christmas presents, Melissa Clarks Dinner cookbook. It features an entire vegan section! That’s lucky. At random and because I happen to have the right ingredients, I decide to cook eggplants with brined tofu and coconut black rice.
I brought back this rice (called “rice berry” on the pack) from Bangkok and mess up the quantities. After 17 minutes, it doesn’t look like it’s cooked and ready to be fluffed. It looks like a soup. Not to worry. I add another half cup of rice and simmer the rice slowly. Surely, it’s going to dry up?
Meanwhile, tofu slabs and cubed eggplants are nicely baking in the oven. It’s crazy how much olive oil I’ve used since yesterday and in the sauce, I use up the last of my olive oil bottle.
Note to self: buy more olive oil. A lot more.
Dinner is served!
Family assessment is a mixed bag. Definitely an upgrade from last night, not quite dinner nirvana yet.
Youngest daughter doesn’t like coconut. She eats plain white rice instead. Raves about the eggplants.
Oldest daughter loves coconut. She also loves this coconut rice. She’s mildly excited about the eggplant and doesn’t care for the tofu. In fact, it ends up on my plate.
Husband doesn’t like tofu. Doesn’t care much for this and starts looking for vegan recipes in his trusted cookbooks.
I find it good. Not exceptionally tasty but OK. Actually, it’s now in the fridge for tomorrow’s lunch as a leftover.
At the end of the day, I wonder. Where are my vitamins? My essential nutrients? There’s no way I can find out whether or not this is a balanced and healthy diet. Bummer.
Posted on Facebook yesterday, great points by my friend Anne.
Question 1: why did you choose to make it a dry month too? You do not feel that at one point you may need the help of a big white wine glass to carry on?
Answer: I find dry January dead easy to do. It’s much easier than Veganuary for sure. If I was not doing dry January, my girls would probably need to contact AAA.
Question 2 : did you check/changed some cosmetic and toiletries to be respect the vegan track? Just wondering..
Answer: I’m still wearing my leather shoes. I may be doing Veganuary but Im not going to start buying boots made out of weird polyurethane anytime soon. It’s bad for the environment anyway. As far as cosmetics, I’ve been making my own vegan deodorant for the past 3 years so I’m covered on that front, and I only use a face cream in the morning. It’s probably not vegan but again, I’m not going to throw it away.