This Styler Went Vegan For A Week And Here's What Happened

This Styler Went Vegan For A Week And Here's What Happened

Cheese doesn’t count, right?

By Melissa Myrteza | 11th June 2019

Veganism is the new trend circulating foodie hubs and aesthetic Insta feeds. This plant-based, dairy and meat free diet is said (by my podcast library, AKA an APA referenced source) to do wonders to one’s overall health, and with so many friends already on-board, I thought I’d give it a crack. No, my lamb-loving Greek grandma was not at all impressed. So, why do it? I was keen to challenge the daily food norms I lived by and to see what all the fuss was about. This was as much a chance to mix up my cooking repertoire as it was to test my tastebuds. I was determined not to solely live off Mi Goreng for the week and to learn some go-to vegan recipes for a rainy day. I challenged myself to one week as a strict vegan as the first serious diet I have ever undertaken and it wasn’t at all what I expected.

Monday Motivation

My Monday motivation was high as I met my first adjustment head-on, swerving past the Persian marinated feta and over the mild chorizo at breakfast, latching onto my one true millennial constant for the week; avocado. I really should have timed my little adventure around growing seasons, because I was stuck with the heart-wrenching realisation that Hass avos were replaced on the shelves of Coles with Shepards; the scum of the avo family. Great.

I first hit up our local Market Organics store in Newmarket to pick up a few survival supplies. Walking out with organic tofu, sweet potato pasta (because it was purple, not vegan) and 85% dark chocolate for my inevitable cravings, I felt pretty empowered and up for the rest of the challenge. I whipped up a pasta sauce of sweet potato, capsicum, parsley, red onions and chilli, questioning why I ever tried to complicate recipes with meat and dairy.

 

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I happened to be testing out a Life Cykle kit from Biome at the time, which grows Oyster mushrooms out of a recycled box of coffee beans. Wholesome, right? Well, these mushies were my base ingredient to a winter soup with onion, spices and black bean organic spaghetti, bursting with natural flavours and nutrients.

Hump Day Slump

Of course, my week of transitioning to the dark side happened to coincide with a few distressing work events. Not only did I somehow muster the self-restraint to refuse TWO birthday cakes, but it was also print day lunch at Style HQ, meaning an epic platter from Hawthorne Garage was a huge test to my newfound restraint. While it felt foreign scraping the cheese from my wrap, I was surprisingly grateful for the falafel option, a meat alternative I normally wouldn’t have opted for.

 

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I was halfway through without breaking and I was surprisingly still feeling pretty normal. I had been excepting a huge hit of change, or weakness of some sort but everything just kept on keeping on. The only difference I had noticed by this point was lingering tiredness by the 4pm plummet, but even that wasn’t a deal breaker. I had been living off Macadamia flat whites from Freja’s and herbal teas galore, happily taking a break from dairy with such epic milk alternatives now available.

By this point I had tried the at-home meal option but I was keen to see how easy it would be to dine out. I ventured into an authentic Nepalese kitchen I came across on Latrobe Terrace one night called Kathmandu Newa Chhe’n. Insane flavour combinations of tomato and veggie-based curries were in front of me, as I counted more vegan and vego dishes on the menu than meat! I ordered a spicy cauliflower curry while dining barefoot on the ground. You rock, Kathmandu Newa Chhe’n.

 

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Sunday Summit

While I would like to say that I kept strong through the whole 7 days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes and 604,800 seconds of depriving myself of fromage and KFC, a few gin cocktails eventually got the better of me. Yes, on my second last night after a one too many, I consumed a single chicken nugget. Chicken, eek! Well, I’m not perfect. I got to Sunday with a few little slip-ups but let’s look past that. By this point, I honestly hadn’t noticed too much of a change in my skin, energy levels or weight. What I did notice, however, was a lightness. 7 days had passed and not once was I left hungry, stuck without an alternative option. In fact, I felt pretty bloody great after every meal.

Maybe our bodies aren’t meant to consume meat and dairy, maybe they are. I was seriously impressed by how many vegan options are now available to consumers and how many easy everyday alternatives like macadamia milk and Nuttelex butter that barely took adjusting to. The key tips I learnt were to have snacks always at-the-ready and to meal prep enough to last a few meals. My goal was to generate a new appreciation for vegetables and fruit, which I did. I won’t be going vegan again anytime soon but a visible reduction will be my contribution to a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle and to a better environment.

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Article by Melissa Myrteza

Mel always has one eye on the funkiest happenings around town and the other one on the best ramen joints. When she’s not crossing another country off her bucket list, she’s either reading, painting or sippin’ on a glass of red.