The 30 day vegan challenge is now complete!
I did really well with day 29. We made vegan hotpot with mushrooms, baby bok choy, firm tofu, these fluffy tofu ball things, and rice noodles. That jar is filled with shallots in oil, which can be used as a topping.
We made two kinds of broth. The first broth comes from a packet that we bought at the T&T. We made the other broth from scratch: sauté some fresh ginger and garlic, add vegetable broth and green onions. If you want some heat, chili oil is great for that. Pour in as much as you want.
This was my first time eating hot pot. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the hot pot is a special pan with a divider down the middle so you can cook two different things at once. You heat it over an gas burner and add soup ingredients, usually rice noodles, Asian greens of some sort like watercress or bok choy, mushrooms, and meat.
Here we used tofu and soya cakes instead of meat to make it vegan.
The fried soya cakes were really good. They are light and fluffy and absorb flavour really well. The enoki mushrooms didn’t taste like much of anything, but they look really cool.
Next, we take the toppings and put them into the pot. Let it cook over the burner for a minute or two. Then, pull it out and put it all in a bowl, minus the broth.
The point is for the veggies to absorb the flavours of the broth. It’s not like regular soup where you have broth in your bowl and eat it all. With hot pot you eat the noodles and veggies only, leaving broth in the pot. People can sit around the pot and continuously add things to it until the food runs out.
I enjoyed the hot pot. It tasted good but I also found it to be quite heavy. The whole time I was eating it, I felt the urge to pour lemon juice or something acidic on it to help lighten it up. Still, I would eat it again.
Just for fun I bought soy jerky to eat before dinner. It looks surprisingly similar to meat.
Yeah. It freaked me out a little bit. It wasn’t too bad, though.
Anyway, for day 30 I lost my temper and messed up right away. I went out for brunch and ordered a coffee and French toast. The French toast was most likely coated with egg. I put tons of cream in the coffee. It felt so good to drink it.
Afterwards, I felt gross. The coffee left me feeling jittery, and the French toast wasn’t even all that good. It wasn’t even worth it to cheat.
I forget what else I ate that day but I kept it vegan.
As for day 31 . . .
I had a craving for fresh colourful vegetables, so I sautéed orange and yellow bell peppers with red onion in olive oil. Yeah, peppers are expensive at this time of year but winter is driving me insane, so I grabbed them anyway as a treat to myself.
I made cilantro pesto out of fresh cilantro, lime juice, almonds and canola oil and garlic and salt and pepper. It is so damn delicious.
Then I put it all together with pasta and fresh chopped avocado.
I am not usually filled up with pasta alone, but this did the trick. I think the fat from the avocados and the almonds in the pesto helped make it filling.
After 30 days of eating vegan, I am still not totally sold on it. I greatly admire those who live a vegan lifestyle. I feel healthy when I eat vegan food and it even tastes better, in my opinion, than dairy loaded recipes. I even managed to kick the coffee habit. For the past week I’ve been drinking tea. It feels great.
However, I don’t feel ready to fully commit to a vegan diet. I like to order off the restaurant menus without worrying too much hidden egg and dairy ingredients. Maybe for now I will have an at-home policy of cooking vegan, then outside the house I will continue with my vegetarian diet. I will certainly continue to post vegan recipes, as I do prefer them over anything else.
Are you a vegan, or have you tried it? What was your biggest challenge? What was the biggest reward for you?