Highlights from Week Three | 30 Day Vegan Challenge
Hey Footsteppers! Can you believe I’m three weeks into my “30 Day Vegan Challenge” already? Three whole weeks eating zero animal products. Crazy. Some days I feel like I have always eaten this way and other days I have to remind myself to check labels. I’ve found the last week pretty effortless as I’ve started to get the hang of being vegan in my daily routine, so instead of writing a daily diary (as I felt I needed to for myself, especially in the tougher first week) I’ve decided to talk about my highlights this week instead.
In my third vegan week I enjoyed trying out an awesome vegan diner in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, saw my team kick ass through the Crystal Maze and visited my family in Liverpool where my 80 year old Grandmother weighed in on me going vegan…
Day 15: Sunday
Sunday Funday! Today was such a fantastic start to week three as me and fellow travel blogger, Becky from Girl Goes To spent a day being tourists in our hometown of Manchester. We took a walking tour of Manchester’s recently rejuvenated city centre, explored the historic John Rylands Library and had cocktails at the Hilton’s Cloud 23 bar…23 floors above the city *gulp*.
For lunch, Becky looked into a vegan restaurant for us to go to in support of my 30 day challenge, which was so sweet of her (love you Becky!). She tweeted me a link to V-Rev, a vegan diner based in Manchester’s hipster area, the Northern Quarter. I couldn’t believe a restaurant like this existed on our doorstep. Here was me thinking I’d never eat cheese again and here was a place that offered proper cheeseburgers and chips…vegan style!
V-Rev’s had all the american classics like hotdogs, mac and cheese, cheeseburgers and milkshakes but I opted for one of my favourite childhood classics, cheeseburger and fries. I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t eating real cheese, so much so that I checked with the waitress just to be sure because it tasted just like the real thing. But the biggest testament to the tastiness of the food was that Becky (who eats meat and dairy) loved it too. I was so relieved!
Day 18: Wednesday
I was on half day in work today as I was heading to the doctor’s for my annual hayfever injection (yay). I had a quick bowl of cereal before I dashed out the door for my train and skipped lunch with my appointment being at 1pm.
Hayfaver has plagued me for the last three years. Did you know that you can develop allergies in later life? No, I didn’t either. I used to pity people that sneezed uncontrollably walking past a meadow in summer and having to keep the windows closed on high pollen days, now I’ve joined the club that no poor sod wants to join!
Last year, not even the strongest doctor prescribed anti-histamines allowed me to breathe through my nose so an allergy injection it had to be. My symptoms disappeared instantly and so I’m hoping that the injection will sort them out until the end of the season once again. I’ve been doing research in the lead up to my injection as my symptoms have steadily grown worse and I figured there must be a way of at least lessening the affects naturally to aid western medicine.
During my research, I came across Jason Vale, the self proclaimed ‘Juice Master’ and found a juice recipe that he claimed would help dull symptoms. It is a daily ginger ‘shot’ which incorporates about an inch of ginger with a green apple. I’ve started juicing everyday as part of my bid to live a healthier lifestyle so figured it is worth a ‘shot’! Oh god, that one was just awful, sorry guys! ?
When I got back from the doctor’s I had a green juice that incorporated: spinach, apple, cucumber, celery, pineapple, ginger and lime. It’s one of my favourites and a great way to get your greens in for the day because I loathe eating them for the most part.
Tonight, I was heading out with some friends of ours to try our luck at the Crystal Maze. For those of you that may not remember the 90s TV show, it is the ultimate team challenge where you test your skill, mental and physical ability across four adventure time zones: aztec, industrial, futuristic and medieval. For each challenge completed your team earns a crystal and 5 seconds of time. The more crystals you earn, the more time you’ll get in the final challenge – the crystal dome! This is where you jump around and collect as many golden tickets as possible that are flying around your head to get the most amount of points.
It. Was. So. Fun!! We completed about 17 tasks and got 9 crystals which was really good going. My personal contribution was two crystals out of the three tasks I did (damn that climbing wall!).
Before we headed into the Crystal Maze we decided to get a quick bite to eat near the venue so headed to one of the local pubs, the Slug and Lettuce. I didn’t think there would be much in the way of vegan food there as they serve pretty standard ‘pub grub’, but I was pleasantly surprised that I had a few options to choose from.
I picked the veggie burrito and just asked them if they minded taking out the cheese and sour cream. I’m finding that restaurants are quite accommodating and I’ve learned to veganise a few dishes by just asking food places to remove things like cheese that they may add to the top of a dish like pasta or Mexican dishes. Easy peasy.
Day 20: Friday
Friday night I decided to take Mr Footsteps to try V-Rev’s, the vegan diner that Becky and I had gone to on the Sunday before. When I told our friends, Ant and Nick that we were going, they seemed curious about giving it a go so I invited them to come along with us and see what it was all about.
I was confident that they would like the food as Becky had enjoyed it so much being a non-vegan but I was still a little nervous they might not like it. Our friend Ant is a passionate cook, so as our group’s resident food critic, I knew if he enjoyed it, everyone would!
I’m so pleased to say that they all loved it and said they would definitely come back, phew! Nick even let me try his mac and cheese and non-dairy milkshake, which were just delicious. Mr Footsteps enjoyed it however still isn’t sold on vegan cheese.
Whilst we were there, I couldn’t believe my newbie vegan eyes when I clocked this red velvet cake doing a memorising cake dance in the dessert cabin behind the bar on the way in. I was pretty full from my cheeseburger and chips but I wanted to take advantage of a vegan pudding option for once (plus I could share it with the table so they knew how yummy vegan cakes could be!).
Day 21: Saturday
Today I headed to Liverpool to see my family. I’ve got some belated birthday presents that I know my niece is going to be excited to open and I’ve not caught up with my Gran for a while.
I was off to a late start as I was putting the finishing touches to my second week vegan diary post on the blog so ended up having a sort of brunch on the go to make sure I at least got to Liverpool around lunchtime. I opted for a banana smoothie, a great ‘on the go’ breakfast and was in the mood for a creamy, chocolatey version with almond milk, frozen bananas, coconut yoghurt and a little raw cacao powder.
Despite a rail strike knocking out half of Manchester’s railway network, I got into Liverpool at about 2pm, just in time to enjoy an afternoon gossiping in the back garden with my Gran and catching some rays. It was the hottest day of the year so far (and long may it reign!).
My Gran is a bit of a feeder so upon hearing of my new found veganism she went to the shop to buy a load of vegan friendly snacks and told me she had spent ages reading labels to make sure that it was all ok for me to eat. How cute is that? She wasn’t sure what to make for dinner and a lot of the time when I’m there we usually have a takeout for the ease of it but this time we made soup using her fancy schmancy soup-maker.
We added broccoli, carrot, sweet potato and onion into the mix and it made this delicious golden soup. Gran is celiac, which is an allergy to gluten (found in bread and pasta) so we had toasted gluten-free bread, which was surprisingly tasty.
I interviewed my Gran for this week’s vlog about veganism and what she thought about me staying vegan and she gave a surprising response after initially calling me a nuisance upon my arrival ?
For more on my third week as a vegan, check out my third week’s vlog below. You can also follow my progress on Facebook, Twitter 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 ?