I have just completed a new #22daysvegan challenge that I set for myself through @vegan_african. One of my last #vegan meals, as pictured above, consisted of a baby spinach and sweet potato salad, with beetroot falafels and sprinkled with toasted cashews and pumpkin seed for that extra bite and texture. If you recall, last year during Lent 2013, I felt it was time to venture into the land of no meat and try a vegetarian diet for 40 days. I did not make it past 19 days and there are probably a few reasons for this.
1. Although not exclusively breastfeeding my little one, perhaps I was not getting enough from my vegetarian diet to suit the lifestyle of the mother of a fairly young baby
2. I might have been ill prepared for a vegetarian diet. Although I would consider my diet fairly healthy, I found my consumption of iron rich green vegetables and pulses such as lentils was not my strong point. I had probably only cooked any daal resembling meals only once.
3. I was used to eating less carbohydrates and little to no nuts and seeds, all of which would be essential in supplementing the filling up feel and nutrients normally gained from a protein rich omnivorous diet.
4. I had no idea about the use and benefits of supplements such as flax seed and shelled hemp, both of which are great additives to any meal in order to boost the in take of iron, protein and other nutrients.
5. I simply omitted meat from my diet, without making any significant adjustments to compensate for the nutrients I would not be getting.
6. There may have been a slight ulterior motive to lose weight than to promote spiritual growth and dedication to why people go without something in the #lenten season in the first place, just a tiny smidge of that. I did give up a huge part of my normal diet.
Pictured above: Traditional cornmeal porridge topped with pureed banana, medjool date and pear, garnished with strawberries. No added sugar.
Come 2014, I have decided to give it another shot. Only this time, the first half of lent would be mostly vegan, 22 days, and then follow through with “mainly” vegetarian for the remaining days. As I made it through the 22 days by being perhaps 95% vegan, I feel I was much better prepared and I have been blown away by my discoveries. I have been tracking these experiences on my account dedicated to the #22daysvegan challenge, @vegan_african. Check it out on Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook.
Pictured above: Asparagus and sweet potato, ingredients for a heart warming vegan style soup.