Day 1 of the 7 Day Challenge
While we've been plant-based for just over a year now, since Christmas we've been a bit naughty and lazy. It's Lockdown 3 here in the UK, we can only really go for a walk once a day, and while we've both working from home, we've been lacking the motivation to prep meals and generally eat healthily.
The other day Amy stumbled across 'Plant Over Processed' which is about a Hawaiian family who decided to eat healthily because the mum was struggling with IBS (You can get your copy of the book here). While we don't have that affliction in this household, we have been thinking we can help tackle the lethargy of lockdown with some healthier food. Conveniently Amy has a week off and James has managed to rearrange his calendar to free up some time this week and together we're going to go for longer daily walks and try out Plant Over Processed recipes to see which work for us. The concept of the book is that about 80% of your calories each day should be raw plants and then the extra 20% should be cooked plant based foods with the occasional processed item - but you don't need to keep an exact track of the split - we're all human after all. If spending the extra time creating the food is justifiable, when a bit of normality returns we'll see whether we can add in a few of these ideas and hopefully we'll feel a bit better and less sluggish in ourselves!
One problem with this healthy eating malarky is buying fresh food which will actually survive the week in the fridge. We're trying to stay at home as much as possible during lockdown which means we can't run out and get fresh produce every day. So we bulk ordered a collection for Saturday evening and we'll let you know how well the produce holds up during the week. The order makes for quite an exciting spread.
It's a Sunday today and we went for a nice long walk around a local RHS garden yesterday. We were a little bit groggy when the alarms went off at 8.30AM this morning, so we turned them off and went back to bed. We got up about 10.30AM in the end and started getting ready. Seeing as we were a bit late getting up and we'd managed to snag some free bird feeders on FB Marketplace, James headed off to pick up the bird feeders and Amy started putting together our first meal.
First up it was home made granola. We didn't have all the ingredients the book outlined for this, but we used what we had. The recipe in the book suggests quantities which should give you enough mix to see you through a week, or a little bit longer, depending on your portion sizes and if you're having it every day. It took about 40 minutes to pull together (you have to cook it for about 30 minutes), but at least we're set for the week now.
When Amy was making it up, we didn't have maple syrup and pure vanilla extract so we swapped these for similar things which were in the cupboard and we chose flaked almonds instead of pistachios. The recipe asks for a mixture of dried fruit and we had dried mango, assorted raisins and cranberries, desiccated coconut and goji berries (thank you to James' nan for the majority of those!). Next time though we won't be using the mango - it's a bit tough in there when you take a bite and we want to keep all of our teeth intact! We added in some dark chocolate to make the granola slightly more indulgent too.
We each had a large portion of this today and we had these two mason jars worth left for the week.
With a late breakfast out the way, we had to run an urgent errand - lockdown is causing havoc to our family's car batteries because we're just not using them, we don't have enough chargers to go around! When we got back we decided to have lunch. One of our processed luxuries this week was a sourdough loaf. Seeing as it'll go off quite quickly we thought it best to make use of it today. We made 'Fully Loaded' sandwiches. It's almost like a vegan club sandwich with layers of veggies stacked up between the sourdough slices.
Before vegetable peeling and sandwich construction could start though, we regretted not reading the recipe fully in advanced. The book tells you how to make homemade pickled onion - it's super simple, and we can confirm it's super tasty too - but it takes an hour to make, so definitely make sure you read up on the recipe and get that ready before you want to eat.
Once the very long hour had passed we started construction with avocado, tomato, carrot, lettuce, red cabbage, pickled red onion and a homemade hummus spread instead of butter. Our photos are a little sad looking and really don't do the sandwiches justice. But, the ones in the book are much better, and imagery aside, the sandwiches are lovely and fresh and taste really good.
Those gravity-defying tomatoes you see pictured below are actually there to warn us where the cocktail sticks are in the sandwiches. You will definitely need to use something to maintain the structural integrity if you give these a go yourselves!
We think we're going to give these another go tomorrow because we enjoyed them so much and seeing as we still have some bread and hummus left it's rude not to. This time we're going to make a couple of sandwiches and a couple of wraps. We think the flavours will still come through in a wrap and the whole thing will be much easier to handle too! We'll let you know how we get on tomorrow.
For dinner made an 'Earth Bowl' each - they look a lot like Buddah bowls to us. We had ours with some homemade falafel which we made in the air fryer. The falafel went in with some oven cooked baby potatoes and carrots, lightly fried courgette and some garlic aioli which we quickly whipped up with some cashew nuts.
We really enjoyed this - filling and super healthy and while we took inspiration from the book for the meal idea and from a vegan Facebook group, the recipe we used for this is quite unique and we'll share it in due course!
One thing we've needed today is the extra time to plan and make the food, but so far it's been worth it and we can use a lot through the rest of the week.
See you tomorrow!