The second instalment of the Veganuary Round Up series is here to update us on how Emily is coping after two weeks of her vegan pledge.
The second week of Veganuary marked ‘the longest period of time I’ve ever put effort into my diet’. This week was all about experimentation, and involved a lot of new food testing, which has left me feeling very proud of myself, even if I did start to miss the idea of a cheeseburger towards the end of it.
How I’m feeling after this week
This week really hit me hard how challenging veganism can be if you’re not prepared or confident in your choices for the diet. I moved back to uni this week, which meant I moved back to independent living, and no longer being able to rely on my vegetarian mum’s meal ideas and flavourful dinners. I struggled for the first couple of days to find quick lunches that were easy on the go.
However, once I’d done my weekly shop and my cupboards were full again, meal prepping pasta salads became second nature! There’s no necessity to be organised in order to successfully carry out a vegan diet, but as I’m new to it, preparing what I’m going to be eating in advance has helped me to stay on track with healthy meals and not let me go hungry when there’s no vegan options available to snack on at uni (the vegan sausage roll was so popular that Gregg’s couldn’t sell any for DAYS. My healthy eating plan, and bank account, are probably very grateful, but this made quick snacks HARD).
I would like to take this opportunity to show my appreciation for M&S’ new Plant Kitchen range – most notably, the no chic’n nuggets. They are the perfect snack for a hungry student trying to maintain an unfamiliar vegan lifestyle, with very little time to spend in the kitchen cooking!
This week I went back to Zizzi (the restaurant I reviewed for its ‘fussy eater appropriate’ vegan menu here! I got the same vegan cheese pizza but this time added some green pesto which made it far more exciting. I once again struggled with the runny-but-also-thick cheese texture, but overall I feel the meal was far more successful than last time.
I tried their new vegan biscuit cheesecake for dessert, and I was so surprised. I’m not the biggest cheesecake fan as it is, but clearly as this week was all about giving new food a go, I ordered it. I was so impressed with it, and really enjoyed the creamy cheesecake, with ginger biscuit base and a honeycomb topping.
New food reviews
This week’s ‘product of the week’ was the McDonald’s Spicy Veggie Wrap (which was released on the same day as the Vegan Sausage Roll, but obviously didn’t quite make the news to the same extent). I ordered it without the spicy relish, as I’d seen reviews that this was very spicy, and as I’m not spice’s biggest fan, I thought I’d give it a miss! I was intrigued by the idea of a ‘red pesto goujon’, so even though it was lacking its sauce, I still wanted to give it a try.
I was very underwhelmed by it, even a little disappointed. There was nothing overarchingly wrong with it, but there also wasn’t really anything going for it (perhaps the relish would’ve made it a 10/10!). I landed on a rating of 3/10, deciding I probably wouldn’t opt for it again!!
This week’s recipes
My favourite recipe for this week was hands down my tofu and veg stir fry. I’d never tried tofu before and I was intrigued to give it a go after my streak of trying kidney beans AND lentils in the same week (if Veganuary wasn’t challenging enough, I’m a very fussy eater with the attitude of a toddler when it comes to trying new food. But I really pushed myself this week, and I’m really glad I did!)
- Soy sauce
- Lazy chili
- Lazy ginger
- Sliced red onion
- Mixed peppers
- Carrot sticks
Marinate cubes of tofu in soy sauce, ginger, chilli, and garlic. Fry the sliced vegetables for a few minutes, add the tofu, and leave in the frying pan to cook for 5 minutes. Serve with boiled rice.
A quick and easy way to get your daily diet packed full of healthy vegetables, and give tofu an exciting flavour!
Missed Emily’s first instalment of her Veganuary Round Up? Catch up here.
About the Author: Emily Ellerby-Hunt is our Food and Drink Editor. She also studies BA Theatre and Film Studies at the University of York.