January 11, 2012

21-Day Sugar-free Vegan Challenge - Week 1

You know I like a bit of a challenge, yes? Well, this time I’m asking you to join me – so, are you in?? Let’s do a 21-day sugar-free vegan challenge together!

Since quitting sugar, meat and dairy off my diet, people kept asking me "what can you eat then?". This challenge is hopefully proving the point that vegan food can be versatile, nutritious and tasty. Vegan food is not a sacrifice, but enjoyable, energising and inspiring way to eat.

What is veganism and why should you go vegan?

Vegans avoid consumption of all animal products, including food, clothing, accessories and beauty products. (See a list of food items commonly mistaken as vegan here).

Although a vegan diet may seem somewhat radical and even extreme, it can actually have some great health and environmental benefits. For many people, a vegan diet is also an ethical choice and more than just a way of eating. Veganism as a lifestyle reaches across all areas of daily life.

How the challenge works?

You can start the challenge whenever you feel ready. I have provided you with a list of recipes for the first week of the challenge (see the links below) and I will post more recipes again next week.  Most of these recipes will be from my own archives, but I will also share some brand new vegan recipes during the challenge. There will also be some repeat of recipes (like breakfasts), but I've tried to provide a wide range to suit all climates and tastes. I’ve included recipes across the seasons so if you can’t find all the ingredients, try mixing and matching the recipes to suit the produce available in your region. 

If you do decide to take the challenge, I would love to hear your feedback! Email me, leave a comment below or message me on Twitter to let me know how you’re going. 

Let’s go! 


Day 1. 

Breakfast: Sugar-free granola
Dinner:  Beetroot Orzotto

Day 2. 

Breakfast: Green Smoothie
Dinner: Amaranth and quinoa stuffed capsicums (can be made with quinoa only)

Day 3. 

Breakfast: Oats, quinoa or buckwheat porridge with ground cinnamon and almond milk
Lunch: Cashew cream cheese with quinoa flat bread and raw veggies (carrot, celery, cucumber)

Day 4. 

Breakfast: Sugar-free granola

Day 5.  

Breakfast: Scrambled tofu made with firm tofu, nutritional yeast, tamari, olive oil and some ground black pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Day 6. 

Breakfast: Green Smoothie
Lunch: Pea, herb and almond crush on vegan bread or wraps

Day 7. 

Breakfast: Soy barley porridge (leave out the umeboshi for a sugar-free version)
Lunch: Zucchini rolls with almond stuffing (serve with fresh salad and whole grains)
Dinner: Quinoa-Mung Bean Patties (served with quinoa, rice or other whole grain of your choice. Leave out the orange in the avocado dip for a sugar-free version)

In addition, every day, eat fresh salads (with avocado, flaxseed oil, sunflower seeds) and nuts. 

Shopping List

This list may seem extensive at first, but if you don’t want to stock up on everything, just repeat some of the dishes you find suitable. I keep most of these items stocked up at all times. They are a good basis for a healthy and versatile vegan kitchen.

*Vegetables and Fruit: fresh or frozen garden peas, watercress, snow pea sprouts, snow peas, green beans, yellow squashes, avocados, lemons, beetroot, cauliflower, garlic, fresh herbs (chives, mint, basil, oregano, rosemary), celeries, ginger, cucumbers, spinach, frozen edamame beans, carrots, red capsicums, zucchinis, spring onions, broccoli

* I've left out most fruit to keep this challenge sugar-free

(Raw) pulses, grains and flour: Quinoa flour, quinoa flakes, quinoa (seeds), rolled oats, buckwheat kernels, pearl barley, amaranth (optional), mung beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, black beans, red lentils, beluga (or French) lentils, Non-GMO soy beans

Nuts and Seeds: walnuts, almonds, cashews, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds (optional)

Oils and vinegars: virgin coconut oil, flaxseed oil, extra-virgin olive oil, walnut oil (optional), brown rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar

Spices: ground cinnamon, ground cumin, ground cardamom, ground turmeric, ground ginger, black pepper, good quality salt, ground licorice, pink peppercorns

Others: Good-quality organic vegetable stock (preferably home-made), non-GMO tofu, non-GMO tempeh, unsweetened coconut flakes, coconut cream, kelp noodles (or dairy-free, eggless noodles), miso (without dashi), tamari or Bragg's liquid aminos or all purpose seasoning, nutritional yeast, vitamin B12 supplement

Please note that I am not a qualified nutritionist and all the recipes are my personal suggestions only.

Vegan Books and Links:

Moskowitz, I. S. and Romero, T. H. Veganomicon The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook (2007)

Davis, B. and Melina, V. Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant-Based  Diet (2000)

The Vegan Society