Vegan Week Day 1

Maybe I didn’t pick the best day to start Vegan Week, but it is what it is.  I know I didn’t prepare enough for it which is going to make things ever more interesting through tomorrow.  Despite all the problems I actually got through mostly okay, minus one slip up….

I intentionally planned the beginning of my vegan week to begin after my weekend of visiting and eating with family all over the area.  I’m really big on family time and unfortunately don’t get enough of it for my liking since everyone lives at least 90 minutes away.  Between a schedule that is busier than I understand, the distance and my love/need for some good down time each week. it makes it hard to get the weekends away.  This weekend was perfect, especially with taking Friday off to get in my exercises, personal errands and allowing us to get on the road early-ish.  Both Friday and Saturday included lots of good homemade food: Friday with traditional recipes from the Italian side and Saturday with the enjoyment of a lot of delicious blue claw crabs.  Along with that were a few cocktails over the several hours, but nothing to get too excited about.

Waking up this morning realizing this would be the first vegan day I sort of pictured this as a bit of a detox from the rich and salty food.  I wasn’t home so couldn’t weigh myself; that comes tomorrow.  However I could tell that with the excessive salt and the bit of alcohol I would be a little on the bloated side, not to mention just the shear amount of food in my system.  Starting off with a nice healthy bar and some water seemed like the perfect thing to do.  I couldn’t have even just one Coke Zero because I’m swearing off the artificial sweeteners again and I wasn’t home so couldn’t do tea.  Just a taste of a simple health bar would be perfect–until I saw the warning label which totally escaped my attention before, “Warning: Contains soy and milk products.”  Are you kidding me?

The one thing I thought I was going to be safe from on this versus the Paleo diet was these health bars that I use as my crutch for breakfast and snacks.  I guess it turns out that won’t be the case and I’ll be back to making my own daily snacks again.  Luckily the Paleo snacks, with a quick sub of maple syrup for honey, is perfectly vegan.  So, there went that idea for breakfast and I still had a bunch of stuff to do before getting on the road to head home.  I actually wasn’t hungry since I had been gorging myself for two days before, however I didn’t want to get into a famished state.  I just kept chugging the seltzer until I got on the road.

On the way back I stopped off at a Starbucks for a chat with a friend, a quick tea and hopefully to get a vegan snack of some sort there.  Sadly all the pastries and cooked food looked like it had animal products in it.  The snack mix had honey in it (perhaps I’ll relax the honey requirement after all).  I found a small sleeve of just mixed nuts, craisins and raisins.  That would have to hold me over until a mid-afternoon lunch.  Surprisingly it actually did.  By the time I got home a little after one I wasn’t starving to death, but I wasn’t exactly having to push my food away.

Lunch wasn’t sexy, in fact it was leftovers.  While I unpacked loads of great food from my family that I brought home, I have to save it all for next Saturday when I’m back to eating a non-vegan diet (at which time I’ll be diving in voraciously to make sure none of it goes to waste).  Instead of eating that I looked down at my not quite as tasty, but still good, vegan sweet potato lasagna.  You can read my review of the recipe,here. Even reheated it is delicious, and if it wasn’t for all the traditional recipes I had with me waiting to be eaten I wouldn’t have felt put out at all to be eating it.  It is more than filling and nutritious so all around a good deal.

Dinner wasn’t until 7 pm with a friend at a restaurant, Houlihan’s.  While I try to eat at local restaurants this is one that gets an exception.  It’s right next to the big box stories we frequent so it’s a perfect pit stop.  Unfortunately for day one of eating vegan the idea of tackling a restaurant seemed daunting, especially since I was unprepared.  Luckily their website has a “vegetarian” menu page with stars next to the items that can be made vegan with modifications.  I studied the list and we headed off to meet my friend for dinner.

As much as I would have liked to have had wine or beer with everyone else, the version of veganism I’m doing only allows alcohol once or twice a week. Over a one week period I’m setting that to zero.  So, no alcohol and no Coke Zero.  My friend ordered these deep fried asparagus spears with some sort of creamy dipping sauce.  They looked and smelled delicious, especially piled up like a fort with a pool in the middle of it.  Unfortunately I’m sure there is egg in that recipe since that’s probably what’s used to keep the breading on, so I had to abstain.  While everyone else got some sort of red meat item akin to what I would usually buy, I ordered the veganized White Bean Salad, veganized Tomato Soup and sauteed asparagus.    I was surprised at the shear volume of food I got:

First catch, thanks to my partner was that the bread probably had some sort of dairy product in it.  He gladly took the garlic toast away.  Even without the toast it was a very tasty combination of dishes and I left the restaurant quite fulfilled and proud that I had successfully navigated the restaurant waters.  That was true until I got home to enter it in.  Either through selective memorization or just glancing at the menu too fast I totally hosed up on the soup.  I thought there was a “veganizing” star on the menu saying I could just skip the cheese sticks to make the soup vegan.  Said footnote was missing from the menu when I went back to read it to add it in.  I remember while I was eating it thinking that it was incredibly creamy for a soup with no dairy in it.  I had rationalized using bean paste or something as a thickening agent and going ot try that when I got home.  Instead the “secret” ingredient was milk or cream.  Ah well, it was a valiant effort.

Besides the one slip up I think I did quite well.  If I had started the day more prepared things could have gone a lot smoother.  Hopefully I’ll make up for some lost time tomorrow.