March 21, 2012

Go Big or Go Home: A Vegan Day

Posted by Laura

Shopping for a vegan diet is expensive! Okay, I must admit that I'm a complete newbie at this so I'm sure I got suckered into expensive items due to lack of knowledge, but wowzers! Our grocery bill was like double what it usually is. It was however totally worth it and we're still glad that we made the decision. Oh and for those of you in the back, I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives and it inspired Caleb and me to eat a vegan diet one day/week for health purposes. We are not going 100% vegan (because we love steak and ice cream too much - not together though, gross), but we are committing to a vegan diet one day/week. The one day/week part is loose, but the diet the day that we choose is not.

The no-meat part was fine, but holy moly we realized that there is dairy in literally every meal we eat! I really had to sit down and plan out the details of our first vegan diet day with research, thought and patience. First, I started a pinterest board to gather inspiration.

Then, I assembled a menu and put together a shopping list.

Then, I had to pick a day that I knew we could easily execute our meals (i.e. a day on the lighter side of the social calendar). Sunday.


MAIN COURSE: Poppyseed Bagels with Trader Joe’s Almond Butter
SIDE: Clementines
DRINK: Coffee with Soy Creamer

Breakfast was a little tough for me, and I must admit not very creative. I think that whenever my coffee is not exactly as I like it, then it's just not good. I light strong, dark coffee with plain creamer (not milk, not sweetened creamer, not fat-free creamer...just plain creamer). For my vegan-friendly substitute, I used Silk Original Soy Creamer. It definitely worked out (and I used the creamer all week until the container was empty), but it just wasn't my ideal. Caleb drinks his coffee black, so this was an easy-peasy one for him.


MAIN COURSE: Beans and Rice
SIDE: Tortilla Chips
SIDE: Apple Slices
DRINK: Coconut Milk

Lunch was great. I was able to make a meal that we love to eat anyways, beans and rice. I simply subtracted the side of sour cream, and this meal was instantly vegan-approved.

This bean recipe came from my friend Ailea who whipped it together one night as a taco add-in. I have since adapted it and turned it into a full-fledged meal (by doubling it and adding it to rice). Here's the quick and easy recipe:

Beans and Rice
-1 can of black beans
-1/2 container of fresh salsa
-1 tsp cumin

In my humble option, this brand of salsa is THE best.
It can be found at Big Y.

  1.  Combine all ingredients in a small pot on the stove top (do not drain beans). Let simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Note: If using beans from a dried beans recipe, add extra water to the pot to give the beans some juice.

  2.  Cook rice on the side and serve beans over rice.

On a non-vegan day, I would add a dollop of sour cream on top.

Happy camper.


MAIN COURSE: Falafel in Pita Pockets with Tahini Sauce
SIDE: Salad with Cucumbers and Tomatoes
DRINK: Almond Milk

Dinner was delicious. We really enjoyed prepping this meal together. I was surprised how easy the falafels were to make and how authentic they tasted. One of my favorite restaurants in Northampton is a little Mediterranean joint called Amanouz Cafe. Their falafels are ah-mazing, and I must say that these ones we made were pretty close to theirs. It was like a sweet little surprise for us!

Here are the recipes we used:

All in all, it was a great day. We are so happy we did it and plan to keep doing it. I'll wrap up with some fun observations about the day. Here they are:
#1 I was full, all day
#2 I felt like I had more energy (which could have been the placebo affect, who knows).
#3 I wasn't craving anything, just perfectly content with the food we had.
and #4 I felt really good and well nourished!
Oh, and by the way, does anyone have any suggestions for good dairy-free creamers?


  1. I did a vegan for a week challenge last year and it wasn't too bad (it's documented on the blog, if you're interested). I too ate rice and beans for lunch and one of the hardest things for me was not putting milk in my morning tea. You're absolutely right: if it's not exactly the way I like it, it's just not good.

    1. Hey Emily! I would love to hear more about breakfast ideas. Do you have any direct links to your blog posts that you could list here?

  2. Just stumbled upon your blog through HolyokeHome.
    This idea is really great. Our household is mainly vegetarian (2/3 of us are, so therefore, the third usually eats veggie, anyway) but I may even consider this at our place. (We sort of smother cheese on most things... :S)

    For breakfast, if you want to do a savoury bagel, you could do an avocado, tomato, spinach thing with this stuff: We like the smoky bacon one which we grill up. (disclaimer - tastes nothing like actual bacon, but still tasty and adds a good texture).

    Also, your pinterest board has some delicious stuff on it! I started following it like a little creepo. I have a board called Foodie, (it's vegetarian, so you'd have to pick some out of there) but I've managed to find some really amazing recipes on there.

    - agata

    1. Hi Agata,
      Thanks for the tips. The bagel with avocado, tomato, spinach and "bacon" looks really good. I may just have to use that for our next vegan day, and then blog all about it of course.

      Speaking of being a creepo, I just stalked YOUR blog and found this to be my favorite line:
      "One day I hope to be a hippie with a vegetable garden and, hopefully, a pet goat named Howard. But, I do hope I am sitting on a Harry Bertoia Diamond Chair whilst being this hippie."

      Keep blogging!