What I Eat

When I wrote this post about my new year’s resolutions recently, I mentioned that I am about 80%- 90% vegan and don’t eat refined sugar or refined carbohydrates. Hayley tweeted me and asked for a bit more information on what I eat, so I thought I’d write a quick post detailing what an average day of eating might look like for me.

But first, why on earth do I eat in this way?

Well, I have struggled with my weight for years, but it wasn’t until I cut out refined sugar and refined carbohydrates that I really got a handle on the problem and liberated myself from the cycle of weight loss and gain.

But that’s not all it’s about.

It seems that veganism is the new trendy way to eat, and everyone from Bill Clinton, to Ellen deGeneres, to Russell Brand, to Olivia Wilde are on the bandwagon. Even Brad Pitt has recently declared himself vegan, and Def Jam founder Russell Simmons wrote a passionate letter outlining his reasons for becoming vegan.

However, I am not a ‘full vegan’. On using cronometer to track my nutrition, I found it hard to get enough calcium without having a piece of cheese or two during the day. I might also have a spoonful or two of yoghurt. I’m quite okay with not being ‘ full vegan’ because I don’t feel I have to justify the way I eat to anyone – I just eat as I want to.

Perhaps having pet sheep and living on farmland has given me a new appreciation for animals, which has informed my decision to eat in this low impact way.

Having said all of this, I find there are many benefits to eating in this manner, making me very motivated to continue:

1. I never have to worry about my weight. Ever.

2. I feel good that the way I eat impacts far less on animals and the environment. All the fuel, water, and energy that it takes to raise and slaughter an animal, or harvest their products, is greatly reduced. To make just one beef pattie, 2400 litres of water are consumed, which is enough for a four hour shower. That is without the mention of trucks to transport livestock, clearing of forests for farmland, and release of methane into the atmosphere accelerating global warming. On a further environmental note, it is said that at the current rate, there will be no fish left in the ocean by 2048. Sad indeed.

3. It’s inexpensive. It’s amazing how cheap fresh food is.

4. I feel great. My digestion has always been rubbish, but eating this way does away with any digestive problems entirely. I’m no longer tired, I have lots of energy, and my brain functions at its best when I eat this way. This food helped me do my best work when I was busting out 14 hour days during the final six months of the PhD. Over the Christmas period, my partner actually said that he missed ‘our food’ because it made him feel so good.

5. I don’t feel controlled by advertising. Fresh food is remarkably free of hype. Buying my food from the outside aisles of the supermarket and then leaving, or from a farmer’s market, is immensley satisfying.

6. It’s more effective at keeping wrinkles at bay than anything La Prairie will try to sell me. Refined carbs, refine sugar, and alcohol will break down collagen in the face over time and create wrinkles just as exposure to the sun does. Read more about this process of glycation here.

7. My risk of heart disease, cancer, and so on, is much lower. Good.

8. I’m a binge eater, but this slow-release-energy helps me keep the binging under control. Also, I always need to eat enough plant-based protein in every meal to feel full and further guard against binginess, but eating lots of plant-based protein doesn’t make me feel sluggish like eating lots of meat or dairy does. I don’t feel restricted either, and I can eat reasonable portions of food. I read somewhere¬† that the idea of calories was quite misleading, as seeds or nuts (for example) have evolved to pass throught the digestive system with minimal impact, and thus not all calories are absorbed into your system. On the other had, calories from a piece of cake are already well and truly refined and broken down, making it easier to absorb all the calories in the piece. If I remember where I read that I’ll provide the link ;)

So what on earth do I eat? Well, here are some examples from today:

Coffee. My day doesn't start without this. I used to have a serious coffee addition, but I've cut down to just one or two per day.

 

Breakfast is always porridge with whatever seasonal fruit is on offer. I make it with regular milk or almond milk, depending on what we have on hand. I also love this porridge with mixed spice or cinnamon in winter.

 

Lunch is always plant-based protein + salad. Today I had sauteed quinoa with onion, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. I could have added lots of vegetables but I was rushed for time. Salad is just whatever seasonal vegetables are available, with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.

 

Standard snack: seasonal fruit. No surprises there.

 

Gallons of green tea.

 

Tea last night was roasted chickpeas with moroccan spice, sesame oil, tofu, and probably a few other ingredients I can't remember, but you get the idea.

Tea tonight was cannellini bean mash with olive oil, onion, garlic, and thyme. Love that one.

 

Other examples of plant-based protein I eat include tempeh and tofu. I don't eat large quantities of these because I read that too much soy can be bad, but I do love them both. Just boil or steam the tempeh before you cook it to remove the bitterness.

I also eat a lot of these.

 

These are staples in every meal.

 

I have learned the importance of spices in cooking. I know!

These are lovely additions to pretty much anything you are cooking in a pan.

 

BUT I will have a bit of cheese too...

 

...and probably some yoghurt...

 

...and I've always had to take these, even when I wasn't vegan-ish. Without them, my bones feel like lead.

So, that’s pretty much what I eat. I am an absolute non-cooker, yet I find it very easy to throw these sorts of meals together. A better cook than me would probably be much more creative with meals, but I just don’t have the time, and I’m not really that interested in creative cooking. I just want fresh, tasty food, that is good for me with a minimum amount of fuss. I have so much else to do!

For far more creative fare (I’m in awe), check out Stacey’s amazing new blog at The Cat’s Pyjamas (both vegetarian and vegan recipes, as well as information on ethical shopping and beauty), or Easy as Vegan Pie, recommended by the enthusastic vegan and all-around literary bod, Marieke Hardy. You can also have a look at Bite-Sized Thoughts, a blog written by a fellow West Aussie.

 

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20 Responses to What I Eat

  1. I eat around 80% vegan too, so this was really interesting to read (and we share a lot of pantry / food staples!). Some of my reasons for veganism are the same as yours and some are slightly different, but the flexibility aspect of 80% or so, rather than 100% strictly, is important for me. Thanks for sharing what makes up your days!

  2. Stacey says:

    You are so incredibly flattering! Thank you so much for mentioning me. I love the idea of this post — it’s so interesting to see what you eat on a day-to-day basis as I’d like my diet to be more like yours. More whole foods and less ‘food-like substances’ as Michael Pollan would say.

  3. Dempeaux says:

    @Kari Thankyou for reading! I must be in good company if my pantry staples are the same. I’m clearly on the right track ;P

  4. Dempeaux says:

    @Stacey No problem! It’s all true! Love your new blog, and love the ethos you represent. I love eating whole foods :) You’ve reminded me that I meant to link to a few Michael Pollan articles! Oh well, next time ;)

  5. ModestyBrown says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I find this kind of food extremely appealing. I was a vegetarian for years and although I wouldn’t class myself as such now, I’m not a fan of meat and tend to make things like chilli or bolognese with vegetable protein. I’m a massive chick pea and couscous fiend too!

    With regards to too much soya, if memory serves me correctly this is mostly an issue for men. I remember my husband telling me that too much soya is bad for a man reproductively as it contains a lot of phytoestrogens. He was particularly keen on me not giving too much soya based foods to the boys. It’s been a long time since I read up on it though, so I forgive me if I’m barking up the wrong tree!

  6. Meeta says:

    Over the past year I have been eating more vegan options (I still eat about 20% non-vegan) and trying to cut down my refined carb intake (which I find quite tough) in order to primarily help my acne-prone skin. Doing it gradually and seeing the health benefits has helped me to stick to it and want to continue exploring healthy options. Great post!

  7. Lisa G says:

    Great post, I am still a carnivore but have doing lots of research about eating raw food in the last year. I am also not a cook but have found the recipes at http://www.choosingraw.com/ to be quite inspiring, the dips are fantastic.
    Also I am not really a fruit eater, so I have it in a smoothy each morning (with spinach), that is my tip of the day!

  8. Dempeaux says:

    @ModestyBrown Oh that’s great, Jane, and you’ve reminded me that I have to get some couscous! Thankyou so much for the information on soy. That sounds right to me. I must do some more reading on the subject.

    Also, great to hear from you! :)

  9. Dempeaux says:

    @Meeta You sound very similar to me! I found cutting down on refined carbs quite tricky too (I have eaten loads of them my whole life) but like you, the health benefits kept me going :)

  10. Dempeaux says:

    @Lisa I love raw food too! I follow that blog, and they do amazing food. I’m quite in awe. I must try a few more of their recipes!

    I adore fruit, and the smoothy tip would be good for days that I’m in a hurry. Thanks, Lisa! :)

  11. Chelsea says:

    I’ve always been a meat eater and to be honest I always will be. It just works for me – but I do agree that eating “the perimeter” of the grocery store is the best way to eat – all that lovely fresh food! I’m big on salads and fruits, especially in summer :)

  12. Dempeaux says:

    @Chelsea Fresh food is great! Even that is a positive move, I think :)

  13. Olivia says:

    I am so happy to see your sheep! *pets*

    About food habits, I am vegetarian and part time vegan (<–LOL). The foods I grew up with like tofu and the edamame weren't eaten by others when I was a kid. Kids made fun of me then but I ate them because I liked them and my stomach felt good. Now, people are making a fad out of them. LOL

    I think the most important thing about eating is to really listen and understand how your body reacts to certain foods. With all the processed stuff out there, no wonder people are just a bit crampy, grumpy, and not to mention gassy! These reactions should be signs telling people, eat something fresh or something nature has made.

    I'm sorry for blathering on. Good post and I love tempeh!

  14. Dempeaux says:

    @Olivia Great to hear from you! I’ll pass on your best wishes to the sheep, as usual ;)

    You eating habits sound very similar to my own! You were clearly paving the way for tofu etc as a child though, whereas I definitely was not! ;) And yes, I agree, those foods make your stomach feel good!

    Yes, I think listening to your body is a big part of it. Don’t eat things that react negatively with you etc I love tempeh too! :)

  15. Jade says:

    Looks like a well balanced way of eating! I need to lay of the bread!

  16. Jade says:

    off not of derrrr Jade

  17. Nora says:

    Grah I really need to be healthier, not necessarily become a vegan, but this post has been very informative! Thank you!

  18. Jen W says:

    Thanks for writing about this in so much details and including photos. Everything looks delicious.

    I’d love to cut down on meat- keep the recipes coming!

  19. Dempeaux says:

    @Nora No problem!

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