One of the most common questions we get asked is ‘what do vegans eat’? Whilst we have a whole host of fantastic vegan recipes on our website, sometimes people just want to know what a vegan's regular diet looks like. So we thought a good first step might be to share our own eating experiences…And as an added bonus, our Dietitian will assess them for nutritional content. To start off our Head of Campaigns & Policy, Louise Davies tells us what she ate over the last week.
This wasn’t really a typical week for two reasons – firstly I’d spent the previous weekend feasting on junk food in Manchester (still dreaming of V-Revs mac & cheese sticks), and secondly I've been coming down with the sniffles. So, all in all this is a healthier than usual week which I hope will score me some brownie points with dietitian Heather.
I have a long commute to the office, so when I'm headed to Birmingham I just grab an espresso and toast with vegan Flora. I usually go for white fluffy bread but this week's health boost meant I opted for wholemeal. Occasionally I'll have some Whole Earth crunchy peanut butter, but more often than not the extra minutes in bed win out over the time it takes to open the jar and spread it on toast.
Despite my best intentions to take healthy buddha bowl style lunches in every day, I've developed a minor Pret addiction. The vegan options are so varied I never get bored. I usually go for something bread based – I particularly love the Mexican bean and avocado flatbread at the moment, and the hummus wrap is a failsafe too. If I'm feeling hungry I'll grab some sweet and salty popcorn to eat when I get to the office, and a coconut flat white to drink as I walk along.
If I'm on a 'work from home' day I'll have avocado or mushrooms on toast, or some soup. Sitting opposite our dietitian in the office has meant I've picked up a few health tips – one of which is to eat walnuts and brazil nuts, so I'll often snack on those at home.
I'm lucky that my evening meals are usually lovingly prepared by my husband Andrew. I'm even luckier that he works opposite Hay Deli which has a fantastic array of vegan products (and third time lucky we sometimes even get free stuff when it's going out of date!). We'll have home-made seitan in tacos, chick pea curry, tofu stirfry or some vegan sausages with a veggie tray bake. I like spinach and kale so will try to get those sneaked in somehow. Hay is home to one of the world's best bakers, Alex Gooch, who makes the best olive oil soaked foccacia imaginable. So this week's treat was a huge hunk of that with a vegan quorn spicy burger, cowboy pickles and ketchup, served with twirly fries and sweetcorn.
At the weekends it's my turn to cook. We'll usually have brunch of tofu scramble, inspired by Thug Kitchen's recipe. My favourite brunch though is chilaquiles – a popular Mexican breakfast which is easily veganised. This week I finally tried the vegan Pizza Express pizza. There was a moment of panic when the waiter sheepishly came to the table to explain there was a problem with the vegan order. Panic over, there would be cheese, just no artichokes so I had extra asparagus instead. I even got a random stray tomato (see pic) and it was all delicious.
I'll often make a Sunday roast usually accompanied by a Goodlife cashew burger. This week I was feeling lazy so we had lentil bolognaise with spaghetti.
For sweet treats I’ll have some dark chocolate, or Zotter’s amazing soya or rice milk chocolate, Fox’s cookies or Lotus biscuits.
Hmm, on reflection I'm not sure that was a particularly healthy week after all! I know I need to up my fruit intake, so look forward to hearing Heather's recommendations....
It's clear from this diary that Louise likes leafy greens, which are great sources of many nutrients, including vitamin K. She could benefit from boosting her daily calcium intake. 400ml of fortified plant milk provides about two thirds of an adult's daily requirement. This could easily be consumed in the form of lattes or milky cups of tea between meals. Louise may also want to try eating more fruit. Iron absorption at mealtimes can be boosted by eating options rich in vitamin C, such as kiwi fruit, oranges, strawberries or pineapple. It's great to see that she's including heart healthy sources of fat in her diet, such as nuts and olive oil, and she should stick with wholemeal bread, which is a fibre-rich source of energy, and a noteworthy source of zinc.
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.