Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Vegan Wednesdays

Vegan diet log

I’m a meat eater and always have been. I would probably go as far to say that to some extent, as far as my health accommodates it, I always will be.

As I get older I feel that I’m giving a bit more thought to the way I live my life. I’m more aware of the impact that I have on others and the environment around me. I’m also a lot better at gauging what impact my choices have on my own physiology. One choice that I’m lucky enough to have is what and how much I eat.

The consumption of meat in a western diet is the norm. I have to say that, as a nutritional advisor, I do recommend that, where there are no contraindications to health, meat is included in all of my clients’ diets. We find that animal products contain certain nutrients that you can’t really get anywhere else in nature. So if you don’t much fancy taking creatine and B12 supplements, animal products are kind of your only other option.

That being said, the sheer amount of meat that we, as a culture, are now consuming, is astonishing. The demand for animal products has shot through the roof and is promoting the mistreatment of animals and a market for substandard products.

I recently watched a documentary that really hit home with me. It was called Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret and it primarily focusses on the sustainability of the meat market in the USA. The infographic below contains some real hard-hitting truths highlighted in the documentary.

Cowspiricy infographic

Cowspiracy can be found on Netflix and I certainly recommend that you go and watch it. It’s certainly opened my eyes to the sustainability issues around eating so much meat. As someone who spends a lot of time in the gym I’m surrounded by people who are seemingly obsessed with pumping protein into their bodies in order to maximise protein synthesis. Many do this by eating huge amounts of steak and chicken along with consuming whey protein supplements throughout their day. And yes, meat products are a very good source of protein for those who tolerate them. However, the vast quantities of these products that are being shovelled into our mouths is placing a huge burden on our guts. Our digestive systems need a break from breaking down all of this meat.

That’s why I’ve recently decided to make what I deem to be a very achievable, yet worthwhile change to my diet and dedicate one day a week to adhering to a vegan diet. You may have heard of Meat Free Mondays, well I’ve gone for Vegan Wednesdays!

Here’s my food diary for my first 3 Vegan Wednesdays.

Week 1
  • Bowl of pumpkin seeds, strawberry granola, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, oats, almonds, almond milk
  • 4 spoons of cashew butter
  • Salad - cucumber, rocket, red onion, yellow pepper, avocado, olive oil
  • Mango
  • Water
  • 2x tea with almond milk
  • Quorn pieces in Nandos sauce, potatoes, asparagus, green beans

Healthy breakfast

Week 2
  • Bowl of pumpkin seeds, strawberry granola, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, oats, almonds, almond milk
  • Bombay potatoes with peas and vegan Quorn pieces
  • Homemade fruit crumble with almonds and pumpkin seeds
  • Blueberries
  • Naked Bar
  • Water
  • Green tea
  • Cashew butter on rye bread
  • Potato, refried beans, pepper, red onion, rocket, avocado, cucumber

Refried bean meal
Refried bean meal

Week 3
  • Bowl of pumpkin seeds, strawberry granola, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, oats, almonds, almond milk
  • Bombay potatoes with peas and vegan Quorn pieces
  • Homemade fruit crumble
  • Blueberries
  • Naked Bar
  • Water
  • Whole wheat pasta in homemade avocado, lemon, garlic and basil sauce, cherry tomatoes and sweet corn
  • 4 spoons of cashew butter
  • Apple

Bombay potatoes
Bombay Potatoes

As you can see, there’s a bit of repetition going on there. I’m definitely a creature of habit and do find that when I track what I eat, the same few things crop up a lot. But I intend to continue with my Vegan Wednesdays and hopefully add variety to what I’m eating. I’m fully aware that, on its own, my small contribution to cutting down on the meat products that I consume is unlikely to have any great impact on the world around me. But what I am confident of it that if we can popularise the idea, Meat-Free Mondays or my Vegan Wednesdays alternative, we can make a cumulative difference to consumer demand. We need to exercise our power as the consumer to dictate what’s sold to us. If we buy tonnes crappy factory farmed chickens then they’ll just keep giving us more. Or we could eat more plant-based foods that burst with nutrients and reserve our meat consumption to locally sourced cuts of quality meat.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any ideas for my vegan meals then please get in touch, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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