Wednesday, 15 January 2014

#WIAW - Vegan Challenge and Spelt Berries

It is WIAW and I am on the 3rd week of my Vegan Challenge. So how are things going? How am I feeling? Do I think I will continue to be vegan after the month is up? I have been getting lots of questions, so let me break it down for you.

How are things going?
So admittedly the first week was rough. I had no clever meal ideas. I had to suffer through some painful meals out on the town. I also tortured myself by starting this challenge pre-New Year's Eve. There was cheese EVERYWHERE - like literally everywhere. Like a cheese dish in every room. And I was feeling pretty angsty about it.

But last week I started to settle into a groove. I made a trip to Whole Foods - which is maybe one of my most favourite places on earth - and stocked up. I also got sent some vegan inspiration courtesy of some awesome internet friends (**Hi Cara and @Runalicious! Waves frantically at her computer screen**). And I ended up making some pretty yummy, nutrient dense, awesome vegan things. I think I have found my groove a bit in the kitchen department.

How am I feeling?
Well that is kind of the tricky thing, isn't it? I don't really feel all that different. Now I don't know if I was expecting too much, but everyone was telling me that I was going to feel AMAZING. And well... it hasn't happened yet. If anything my stomach has been slightly rebellious during this whole process. And I know there is a certain amount of transition required, but I am 17 days in and things just seem status quo. I basically feel the same, but with less food options.

What's my vegan forecast?
Christmas-indulging aside I think I generally eat pretty well. Yes meat was part of my diet, but in small quantities. And I would say 70-80% of my diet was already plant-based. I also spent a lot of time dealing with tummy issues and dietary changes in 2013, so cutting out diary and tweaking things isn't all that strange either. Perhaps my expectations were too high. Perhaps I still need more time to get the full vegan-effect. But at this point I am not super sold on going vegan for the long haul. I still have 16 days left in my vegan challenge, so I won't make an official decision yet. But without some sort of miraculous change in my over-all well-being I think my love of eggs and post-race chicken wings may override my desire for a vegan lifestyle.

That being said, I have made some pretty delicious recipes since starting my challenge. And these winners will definitely stay in my regular rotation. One of my new favs is...

Spelt Berries and Chick Pea Curry
Makes 3-4 portions depending on how hungry you are
Cook Time: 90 minutes

1 cup dry spelt berries
1 can chick peas
1/2 onion, chopped
1 eggplant, sliced and roasted
2 cups spinach
1 can coconut milk
1.5 tbsp red curry paste
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp brown sugar

1. Add 1 cup of spelt berries and 3 cups of water into a pot. Bring water to a boil and then turn down heat to low and let simmer for 90 minutes.
2. After an hour, slice the eggplant and place on an oiled baking sheet in a 375F oven for 20 minutes.
3. Cook down onions and chick peas for 5-7 minutes in a large wok on medium-high heat. Then add the coconut milk, red curry paste, tahini, and brown sugar. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, stirring all the ingredients together.
4. Add the roasted eggplant and 2 cups of spinach. Once the spinach has wilted the sauce is read to serve.
5. Top the cooked spelt berries with the veggies and sauce. Serve and Enjoy.