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My Vegan Diary: Week Two | 30 Day Vegan Challenge

I recently announced that I would be taking a “30 Day Vegan Challenge” and now that my third week is in full swing, I’m sharing my second week’s diary. I share how I navigated a very busy work week whilst trying to stay healthy and found out if it is realistic to be vegan at places like theme park, Alton Towers. On Saturday, I attended my first vegan festival where I tried a variety of delicious vegan food, attended talks and spoke with other vegans about how they make veganism a part of their lives.

Day 8: Sunday

Today is the first day of week two and officially the end of the *partial* struggle of week one! I’ve found that vlogging every other day is keeping me accountable so I’m going to keep it up until the end (eek!).

I love Sundays. Usually when I’ve got a bit more time in the morning on a weekend (especially on a ‘lazy’ Sunday) I’ll cook Mr Footsteps and I some pancakes but as I’ve got a busy day ahead I’ve opted for a quick bowl of cereal with dried fruit and soya milk. I then whizzed up a banana and strawberry smoothie for us both to share and made a carrot and apple juice for later.

After breakfast I filmed my first week’s summary. I wanted to be completely honest about my withdrawal symptoms at the beginning of the week as going vegan and ditching processed food led to some serious headaches and I was pretty damn miserable until the fog started to lift on Wednesday! I’m surprised at how quickly I got past that stage though, as I was considerably unhealthy before and imagine had a lot of detoxing to do!

After an afternoon of editing, I have new found respect for the endless hours of editing that daily vloggers must have! I’m so happy with the end result though and I think it’s actually quite nice to have a bit more of a ‘day-to-day’ life vlog to look back on. Every day isn’t going to be a super adventure when you’re a part-time traveller but it’s nice to know that by trying this new lifestyle there is other inspirational content to explore.

After a busy afternoon of editing and catching up with some blog stuff, I didn’t feel like doing any cooking and fancied a bit more of a chilled evening so we had the left-overs from the spinach, chickpea and red pepper curry I made yesterday. It’s becoming a new favourite of ours because it’s just so tasty and satisfying.

Tonight I had a craving for a bit of dessert so had some chocolate soy ice cream. It’s the first time I’ve bought it and I’m so surprised at how creamy and nice it is. You can seriously barely taste the difference, so yummy!

Day 9: Monday

I had my go-to breakfast this morning of muesli with raisins and almond milk so I had enough time to prepare a green juice for later. I’m working late tonight and knew I’d be peckish around 5pm when we would be heading over to the event so I wanted to be prepared. I needed something that was healthy but ‘on the go’ and juice is perfect for this. Surprisingly, it keeps you relatively full until you can get something proper to eat.

I had an pink lady apple mid-morning to stave off hunger pangs until lunchtime and then enjoyed a veggie soup and brown roll from our canteen. Soup is such a go-to lunch for me because it’s filling without breaking the bank at £1 a cup, perfect! A different soup is served every day so on days where I’ve not had enough time to prepare anything it’s so handy to have that option.

At the end of the work day on the way to the event we headed to the shop for some evening supplies and I picked up some 70% dark chocolate to give me a little boost. I used to hate dark chocolate but it has really grown on me the last couple of weeks. It’s also a bonus when you find cheap alternatives in bigger supermarkets than in expensive health food stores.

I didn’t get home until half 8 and was too tired to prepare anything from scratch so I snacked on a couple of things, like carrot sticks and hummus, had a nice relaxing bath and headed off to bed.

Day 10: Tuesday

Today, I have my sister-in-law and her friend coming down to stay with us for a couple of nights and then we’re all heading to Alton Towers on Thursday, so excited! Not only will it be a nice long weekend but I’ve not been to Alton Towers for a couple of years and I’ve seriously missed it!

Mr Footsteps was on tidy duty whilst I stayed on at work covering another event. It wasn’t too bad as I managed to get home just after 7pm to make a start on dinner. I decided that because everyone would be arriving back a little later than usual that I’d prepare something quick and tonight it was a British classic, sausage and mash.

It’s an easy meal to veganise and is ready in less than half an hour with very little prep. I had vegan sausages whilst the others had normal pork sausages with sweet potato mash, peas, sweetcorn and carrots with onion gravy. Who doesn’t love a proper hearty meal after a long day?

Day 11: Wednesday

It’s my last day in work today until Monday so I’ve been busy trying to get everything done before I head off. I’ve had a quick bowl of cereal this morning with some almond milk and left at a reasonable time so that I can finish early to get home to prepare a special vegan dinner for our guests (although I’ve not disclosed it is vegan in case they don’t want to try it, shhhh!).

I cooked them my new favourite dish, spinach, red pepper and chickpea curry with poppadoms and mango chutney. It was a hit! It’s also the first time that I’ve really enjoyed cooking for people as before going on this lifestyle I could never be bothered and would always go for an easy option. Now, I love trying out new recipes and surprising people with the fact they are completely vegan when they say how much they like it ?

Roll on Alton Towers tomorrow!

Day 12: Thursday

It’s Alton Towers day, baby! I’ve had a nice filling bowl of cereal for breakfast with a banana and dried fruit and prepared a small packed lunch for me to take with me. I’ve looked on the Alton Towers website and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of food options so I’m taking some carrot sticks and humous, a protein bar, a big smoothie, an apple and a wrap filled with banana and peanut butter as my ‘sandwich’.

Rita is hands down my favourite ride- accelerating from 0-60 mp/h in 2.5 seconds before dropping 52 feet and looping you around a figure 8, it was so much fun!

It was a good job I prepared my packed lunch because they only thing I could eat was chips. We stopped off at a roller coaster restaurant for lunch and after looking through a big book of allergens the waitress gave me in response to, “what is vegan on the menu?” I just asked if I could eat my packed lunch at the table. The staff were really nice about it and it’s a good job really because I couldn’t make out anything I could eat in this allergens book!

Despite the restaurant being super cool with food flying around everywhere on the ‘roller coaster’ running above the tables, Mr Footsteps informed me that the food actually wasn’t that nice. He left half his pasta and asked for some of my carrot sticks, aw! ?

The only time in the day where I felt left out was when everyone went for ice-cream (and Nitrogenie to boot!). Nitrogenie is only available in two places in the UK and is my all-time favourite ice-cream…but they didn’t have any none dairy options. Gutted.

Despite how delicious they looked, I stayed strong and just had the apple I’d brought instead. Before these 30 days I would have relented and totally gone for one of these but it’s surprising how quickly they’re gone and it just didn’t bother me missing out after that. We went onto our next ride and the fun commenced ?

After a long day of rides and driving, my sister-in-law and her friend needed to head home with a further two hours of driving to do so for dinner I whipped up tomato and red pepper pasta for me and Mr Footsteps. He didn’t even want a sprinkle of cheese on his, opting to be ‘healthier’ he claimed. Not sure if after two weeks some of my new habits are starting to rub off on him ?

Day 13: Friday

Today, we had a day chilling out at home after a busy few days and I managed to set my first week’s vegan diary live on the blog. I’m finding that people are generally supportive, which has been a nice bonus during this experiment as I wasn’t sure what people would say with there being a stigma sometimes to being vegan.

Mr Footsteps was on cooking duty tonight and made a stir fry with veggies and black bean sauce. We then had a nice relaxing movie night with popcorn (discovered that is vegan thankfully!) and a thriller movie. We watched Nocturnal Animals with Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams. It was tense but so good!

Day 14: Saturday

Today, I went to the Northern Vegan Festival at Manchester Central. I couldn’t believe that there was a huge vegan festival going on by utter coincidence down the road from my house during the 30 days I’ve decided to go vegan. Is it a sign??

I went to an initial talk where I learned how to go vegan in ’10 easy steps’ which included suggestions on different meals, dairy and meat alternatives and how to ‘veganise’ your lifestyle with cruelty-free brands. We then stopped off for some lunch and I had a pea and bean caribbean stew with rice, it was so good. I’m going to try and recreate this at home.

After lunch, we went to a rather disturbing talk on the British dairy industry that seriously shook me up. I knew that with the title: ‘Dairy’s Dark Secrets: Investigations on British Dairy Farms’, it wasn’t going to be an idealistic documentary about ‘old McDonald’s farm’ but what I found out really shocked me. I don’t want to go into too much detail because I have tried veganism for 30 days for health reasons (and don’t want to bum anyone out!) but if you’d like to find out where your dairy is coming from please read this.

After the dairy talk we only had a couple of hours left to check out the stalls so I made my way round the many vegan dessert stalls (oh my god, vegan heaven!), the alternative health stalls and some of the vegan clothing brands.

Our friends Felix and Anna came for the last hour to grab some vegan snacks before we all went on to have dinner at an indian street food restaurant.

Week two has been so much easier than the first week and I feel like I’m starting to find my vegan groove now. Before I went to the Northern Vegan Festival I had thought about carrying on after the 30 days, eating a little less dairy and still incorporating more fruits and veggies into my diet. But after finding out more about industrial farming, I’m seriously considering a mostly (if not fully) vegan lifestyle. We’ll have to see at the end of the 30 days!

For more on my second week as a vegan, check out my second week’s vlog below. You can also follow my progress on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Tell me, have you ever tried a vegan lifestyle? Do you have any tips for leading a healthier life? Please comment below, I’d love to hear from you ?

About the author

Hi! I'm Mel a full-time Marketeer and part-time adventurer. I’m a British travel blogger who loves nothing more than immersing myself in different cultures and exploring new places. My goal is to inspire all of you office dwellers to follow your travel dreams whilst still working your 9-5.

  • Drew

    It’s great you were able to find a vegan food festival that coincided with your 30 day vegan challenge. I think that going to those seminars that really reveal how poor the food system can be is good for everyone to do. When beef, or chicken, or even milk, are dirt cheap, there is a reason, and it always involves deplorable conditions of the animals. It is a bit of a bummer to talk about, but it won’t ever change if we don’t.

    • Mel

      I know how lucky right? I wondered if it was a sign! I got lucky with the festival and really enjoyed it, it opened my eyes a lot. I think the food system hide a lot from us and if we’re consuming something I think that we should at least know where it is coming from and they should be more transparent about that. I learned about the recent M+S dairy farm scandal and was really shocked what their secret footage caught. I found it a lot easier not eating dairy after that!

  • I recently did a raw fruits and vegetables and coconut water cleanse. It got tougher and tougher the longer I went so I give you a lot of credit for keeping this up. The vegan festival happening at the same time is great! You can find new food options maybe you hadn’t considered before.

    • Mel

      I love coconut water! Did you feel good at least after? I love starchy carbs so I would find a cleanse even more challenging than this I think! I know, I got so lucky with the festival, literally down the road from my house as well, so random!

  • I admire you self-discipline! I wish I can do the same especially when it comes to food! LOL

    • Mel

      Thanks Trisha! You don’t have to go full out like me, even just incorporating more fruits and veggies is a great addition to any diet :)

  • Carol Perehudoff

    Talk about serendipity. A vegan festival just when you need it. I really do wish that there were more healthy food options on menus at parks, festivals and fast food outlets. It makes everything difficult unless, like you did, you pack your own meal.

    • Mel

      I know right? I got so lucky! I think places like theme parks need to provide more options because not everyone wants to have junk food as their only food option, whether you eat meat and dairy or not. Even just offering some fruit or ready made smoothie like innocent smoothies where you grab the snacks and canned fizzy drinks in between rides would be a nice alternative.

  • Kimanis Ome

    The timing of this article is quite interesting. I’ve actually been eating vegan for the last week and enjoying it. The decision was actually not by choice, but because we staying with friends who are vegans. You are right, some vegan dishes are pretty tasty. Good for you for going completely vegan. After our experience with friends, we resumed our “old” eating habits :) Good luck!

    • Mel

      Oh cool! I’ve found vegan food to be surprisingly tasty but it’s even better when someone cooks it for you! ;) I cooked a vegan curry for some guests we had and just added some non-vegan naan bread to it for them and they didn’t even know the meal was vegan!

  • Buddy The Traveling Monkey

    You’re doing great girl! I need to start eating healthier too. I love how supportive Mr. Footsteps has been as well as your family. Can’t wait to see how the next two weeks are!

    • Mel

      I know, bless him! He’s eating vegan with me at home and always saying how much he loves my cooking now so I’m starting to enjoy it more. I’m definitely going to follow through with the healthy habits after the 30 days because I’ve managed to stick to it for so long and starting to see results but not making promises yet about staying vegan for life (yet!).

  • Good for you! I wish I had the willpower to do this right now! And hitting a theme park in the middle of it? Glad you were prepared!

    • Mel

      Thanks Lindsay! I was adamant that going vegan for a month wasn’t going to affect my plans and I definitely wasn’t missing out on Alton Towers so a packed lunch it had to be :)

  • megan_claire

    Look forward to following how you go for the whole 30 days – you can do it! I’m interested to read up on the British Dairy Industry though – you have me cautiously intrigued :S Crazy coincidence that there was a huge vegan festival going on down the road – definitely a sign!

    • Mel

      Thanks so much Megan! :) I honestly never knew about what went on with diary, scary! But now the Easter eggs are coming out in the shops I wish I didn’t know lol! But I’ve found some chocolate alternatives so I don’t have to miss out :)

  • Definitely admire you for this! It would be so hard for me to do but I’d like to challenge myself one day. Maybe start with just being vegetarian, ha. Thanks for sharing!

    • Mel

      Vegetarian is a great way to start. It would have been so hard had I not been vegetarian already, especially if you’re used to having meat with every meal. I think it’s always good to challenge ourselves and eating healthier is always a good idea :)