Let me preface this post with the fact that I am a life long meat eater. I don’t even really like vegetables and only eat them because they’re good for me or whatever.
Ok. So I mentioned in my last fitness post (9 Week Progress Update) that my husband and I have been participating in The Daniel Fast along with the other members of our local church. And in the middle of this 3 week fast, it dawned on me… this fast is a vegan diet!
Noooo not vegan!
I always said I would NEVER and could NEVER go vegan. And the kicker is that this fast is even stricter than a vegan diet because I can’t have any sugar, sweeteners or anything fried.
I swore that I would never do this and here I am, a week and a half into it. Never say Never right?
The first week was tough, but not because the food I was making at home wasn’t really delicious. I made a bomb Jamaican red peas soup, tomato basil soup and Mexican style black bean quinoa all within the first week and it tasted great. These recipes were good enough that we didn’t miss the meat flavor, but we did grow tired of eating mush. We missed the meat texture, that firmness you get when you bite into a piece of chicken or steak.
So if we were going to stay true to our commitment and complete the rest of this fast we had to get creative, do some research and explore the options our city has to offer. Along the way, there were some missteps as well as some wonderful surprises.
Let’s start with…
Amy’s Thai frozen dinners
This one may seem obvious. I mean it’s a frozen dinner, how good could it be? But this was the first new thing we tried and we were desperate at that point. I was hoping it would surprise me but it was exactly as yucky as I thought. I tried the red and green curry and it was so sweet and there wasn’t enough rice to help balance out the sweetness. I couldn’t finish it, it just wasn’t an enjoyable experience. I ate every bite with a grimace on my face.
On to the next,
Vegan Soul Food from Seasoned Vegan in Harlem, NY
This restaurant would have been in the winner category because everything about it was a winner throughout the entire meal but…
To start we ordered the “Chicken” Nuggets
Sounds basic but they were raved about on their Yelp reviews. And they did not disappoint. They were firm and if I didn’t know that they didn’t have any meat in them, I wouldn’t have been able to tell. And the sauces, divine! They should bottle and sell them.
Next were our entrees, I ordered the “Crawfish” in Basil Garlic sauce with “Cheese” Grits and Veggie Medley.
My husband ordered the “Riblets” with “Cheese” Grits and Collard Greens.
Both of the meals not only looked like real food but were also very tasty, full of flavor and it satisfied our need for the meat texture that we so badly missed. With each bite we were so amazed that vegan food could taste that good. We have been so anti-vegan for so long and now eating this tasty, flavorful food, we were literally eating our words.
But during the meal we did notice that the Riblets were quite sweet. They definitely had some kind of sugar or sweetener in it (Father forgive us, we did not mean to cheat on the fast) and the food also was quite salty. But we continued to eat because, sweet and salty is what we’re used to and it was like we were eating our normal non-vegan food.
So, why is this restaurant not in the winner category? Despite the restaurant supplying us with plenty of alkaline water, we left so thirsty. The food completely dried us out. And then fast forward to the end of our night, because we had been eating very clean for 2 weeks, the sugary, greasy, salty food did not agree with my tummy. And I will stop right there, you can figure out the rest.
I’m sure if we had visited on a regular non-fasting day, we would have had no problem.
Despite our bad after-meal experience, the food was still good but not healthy at all.
#1 Homemade Curry Chick Peas
I’m proud to say, this is a meal that I made myself. And it was inspired by my mom who has been trying to get me to put chick peas in my curry chicken for years now.
Typically chicken is the star of my curry but of course, I couldn’t add that this time, so to replace it, I added cabbage, potatoes and of course chick peas. I put all this on top of brown rice to give it some extra bulk to fill us up.
Let me tell you that this was the best curry I have made yet! I think I subconsciously put extra effort into it because I couldn’t rely on meat.
It was absolutely delicious and my husband loved it too. After dinner, he snuck into the kitchen at 2 am while I was sleeping to eat another 2 bowls. Husband approved!
#2 Acai Bowl from Ian’s Coffee Shop in Brooklyn,NY
I have to be one of the last people in America to try the Acai bowl. I know it was a “thing” a couple of years ago but this was my very first time trying it and guys, it was creamy, delicious and refreshing. All without any dairy or sweeteners. Score! We substituted coconut milk in the blend and nixed the granola they normally sprinkle on top.
In my bowl I got strawberry and pineapples blended in with the acai as well as on top and my hubby got bananas and mangoes.
If there is anyone else left who has not yet tried an acai bowl, this is definitely a must try.
I have less than a week left in my Daniel Fast and these are my final thoughts…
Sorry to the vegan recruitment team but, I will not be becoming a vegan. Even though we had some great culinary experiences, it is just too difficult. You have to do research before you eat anything or anywhere. I like to live a simple life and being a vegan is not simple at all.
Of course, there’s my need to eat that firm meat texture. Vegetables just aren’t going to cut it ya’ll. And I have never eaten so many carbs in my life. I’m a carb lover, but man I need a break from beans, quinoa and brown rice.
However, this fast wasn’t all bad and not nearly as bad I thought it would be, so I will be incorporating meatless meals each week going forward to help me along this fitness journey.
Have you ever done a fast? Or are you a vegan or thinking of becoming one? What are some of your favorite meatless recipes?