The seven day vegan challenge - Juice Daily
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The seven day vegan challenge

It’s not uncommon in my line of work that people, mostly clients, will ask ‘are you vegan?’ I’ll usually question what made them ask and the response is generally based on me being a nutritionist and that only eating plants being a logical leap. And then, quite often, it’s because they’re considering a vegetarian or vegan diet for themselves.

In previous articles written I’ve expressed caution around some individual’s motivation to go on a vegan diet because too often it can create unhealthy obsessions with food and eating, and be more harm to health than good. However, for those who are genuinely interested in changing their lifestyle, not just wanting to be on a vegan diet because they’re keeping on trend, my role is to provide them with the education and support they need to ensure their nutrition and health does not go astray.

Interestingly enough, in the years of writing vegan diets, I’ve not actually experienced one for an extended period of time. So I felt given the frequency of which I am asked about it, that it was time for me to experience it too. Nothing quite like being your own guinea pig, especially when it comes to testing your prescription in health right?

The philosophy I have with health is using an 80/20 rule, meaning there’s always a little room to move and have fun with it, and the ingredients that constitute the diet are simple, nourishing whole foods. My diet includes:

  • proteins from meat, fish, chicken, eggs and vegetarian sources including legumes (chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans) and tempeh or tofu on occasion.
  • quality carbohydrates from wholegrains such as quinoa, oats, buckwheat, rice, teff, spelt and rye and fruit and those carbohydrates we find in fruits and vegetables.
  • nourishing fats integrated from avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil and whole milk yoghurt, milk and good quality butter.

There’s no strict philosophy in the way I eat. So, as I committed to a week of eating a vegan diet there were a fair few components from my regular diet that were eliminated.

What you take out, you need to replace

When reducing or eliminating specific food groups from any diet, we need to consider the valuable nutrients those foods offered and how these can be substituted and/or supplemented through other foods in the diet we assume.

In a vegan diet there are 3 main nutrient considerations, they are proteins, B12 and iron. These macro and micronutrients are those we most easily obtain through non-vegetarian (meat, fish, poultry eggs and dairy) so ensuring they’re integrated via other sources in a vegan diet is essential.

PROTEIN

Protein can be acquired by ensuring there is a variety of protein rich plants across the day including:

  • quinoa
  • nuts
  • spirulina
  • chickpea, lentils, kidney beans
  • hemp, chia and flaxseeds
  • tofu, tempeh and edamame (preferably organic and in moderation if you are female)
  • rice and pea protein powders

B12:

Although our gut can manufacture some vitamin B12 it’s not sufficient to sustain our body’s requirements. So for vegans and anyone considering veganism, it will be a vitamin that may require supplementation. Best to do blood tests and check B12 status frequently if you are a vegan or have transitioned recently, to avoid deficiency status.

IRON

Without appropriate intake of iron planned within a vegan diet we put ourselves at risk of aneamia, cold sensitivity, poor energy, depressed mood, digestive disturbances, headaches, poor immunity and appetite. I’ll take a pass on any of those and instead ensure my non-haem iron sources (the type of iron found in plant sources, versus haem iron found in animal tissues) are abundant and their absorption increased by eating some Vitamin C rich foods with them.

Rich non-haem iron plant sources include:

  • dark green leafy vegetables
  • tempeh
  • almonds and pine nuts
  • apricots
  • avocados
  • parsley
  • sunflower and pumpkin seeds

So, from here I take a bite into my 7 days of vegan eating and make a record of my daily food intake and the energy, moods and other changes associated within the 7 days too.

Day One

MORNINGLUNCHDINNEREnergy and emotions
Two glasses of filtered water. For breakfast, Smoothie bowl - mango banana, nuts, seeds, berries on top with carrot and celery juice. Dried figs and almonds for a snack.
Raw : zucchini noodles with italian tomato sauce, dehydrated vegetables with olive oil, flax crackers with pepitas, green salad with apple. Raw green juice as an afternoon snack.Raw enchiladas, avocado salsa, flax cracker, tomato salad, green salad. For after dinner, coconut water with flesh.Lucky enough to have someone else doing the cooking for me today and for the next couple. Energy is great, gut is definitely feeling the change from cooked to raw foods.

I’m fortunate enough to be on location for work and it’s a raw food only experience. Winning!!!! This is one of the raw plates we eat during our stay – completely vegan, and just as complete in deliciousness and nutrition

image suppled

Image supplied

Day Two

MORNINGLUNCHDINNERENERGY AND EMOTIONS
Two glasses of filtered water. Watermelon and pineapple smoothie. Raw spinach wrap with gado gado vegetables and peanut sauce. Raw almonds for a mid morning snack.Raw: hummus, cashew cheese, flax crackers, capsicum, cucumber and carrot sticks, raw felafel with coconut dressing, green salad. Afternoon snack of raw green juice.Buckwheat and quinoa wraps, mushroom and pea curry, avocado and coconut raita, green salad, raw slaw, Indian curry soup. Raw chocolate ball and raw cranberry oat biscuit after dinner.Feeling great, energy is high, gut is adjusting to increase in raw food.
Image suppled

Image supplied

Day Three

MORNINGLUNCHDINNERENERGY AND EMOTIONS
Two glasses of filtered water and one green juice for breakfast. Mid morning snack of ginger turmeric juice.Raw salads: carrot noodles, raw kelp noodles, raw zucchini noodles with olive oil, bean sprouts, green salad with apple, dehydrated vegetables, flax crackers. Afternoon snack of raw corn chips and raw chocolate ball.Same as lunch with peanut dressing and flax crackers. After dinner, raw chocolate ball and raw cranberry oat biscuit.Definitely hungrier in later part of the day due to smaller breakfast but energy is high and moods are great. Going to miss someone else doing the cooking and planning for me because I’m loving it!

Day Four

By Day Four I’m on my own and begin integrating cooked foods and my own ingredients for vegan diet into the mix. Enter the activated seed bread. One of my dietary staples.

MORNINGLUNCHDINNERENERGY AND EMOTIONS
Two glasses of filtered water. Fresh fruit, oats with almond milk, banana and hemp seeds. Mid-morning snack of coffee with soy milk (no almond milk on hand).Carrot, capsicum and cucumber sticks, kale chips, hummus, sliced beetroot and seed snaps. Green juice for afternoon snack.Carrot soup, roast cabbage, capsicum and cauliflower, slice of buckwheat turmeric bread. Strawberries for after dinner.Hungrier today, and adjusting body to eating more cooked foods again after primarily eating raw for the first few days. Energy feeling great. Kind of feel like throwing an egg in the mix.
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Image supplied

Day Five

MORNINGLUNCHDINNERENERGY AND EMOTIONS
Two glasses of filtered water. Smoothie - banana, carob, almond milk, raw pea protein, maca powder, chia seeds. Mid-morning, a decaf coffee with soy, date with cashew butter.Carrot soup with roast vegetables, dollop of kale and almond pesto, sprinkle of chia and hemp seeds. Handful of fresh strawberries and glass of kombucha in the afternoon.Kaffir and tamari tempeh with stir fried asian greens and teff. After dinner, cup of chamomile tea.Extra kick of protein in the smoothie first thing in the morning set me up well for the day, didn’t feel overly hungry which helped reduce temptation of dessert.
Orange choc balls by Hippielane. Photo: Image supplied

Orange choc balls by Hippielane. Photo: Image supplied

Day Six

MORNINGLUNCHDINNERENERGY AND EMOTIONS
Two glasses of filtered water. Smoothie - acai, apple, water, beet powder, mint, raw brown rice protein, psyllium, lemon. At mid-morning, snack of Small serving of cacao and pecan granola with one tablespoon coconut yoghurt.Cauliflower and parsnip soup with dukkah and seeds snaps. Afternoon snack of Almond milk hot chocolate and handful strawberries.Lentil bolognese with zucchini noodles and nutritional yeast, with small portion of sauerkraut. After dinner, cup of chamomile tea.Energy high - feel as though the raw start and then the cooked from lunch onwards sits particularly well for my gut and digestion.

Day Seven

Day Seven comes around and I’m pretty ready to eat an egg, or some fish, or some ‘fast protein’ as such… To be honest, finding diversity in vegan meals as consistently as I like to eat isn’t as easy as when I have eggs or fish involved in my diet.

MORNINGLUNCHDINNERENERGY AND EMOTIONS
Two glasses of filtered water. Smoothie - fennel, kiwi, rice protein, mint apple, coriander, water, chia and camu. Mid-morning snack of seeds snaps and almond milk hot chocolate.Activated buckwheat bread with avo, hummus, tomato and herbs. In the afternoon, fresh berries and then later 2 carrots.Vege felafel bowl with tahini. Followed by two dates with nut butter.Feel great, but still craving eggs and perhaps a piece of fish. Preparation has been the key to the week, because eating this way is definitely requires more consideration to start!
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Image supplied

I’ve loved the energy and change, and know what I prescribe works well, but now have a greater understanding of the prep time to make a vegan diet function at its best. If I were to transition to a vegan lifestyle (all components) long term I know I’d need to allocate more time to making it more diverse. I believe being creative with the ingredients and foods we acquire our nutrients from is key for enjoying and connecting with the food we eat and thriving from its nutrition. I’ll revisit the vegan diet in time, but for now, baked eggs is on the menu.

Jacqueline Alwill

About the person who wrote this

Jacqueline Alwill

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Jacqueline is a qualified nutritionist, personal trainer, mother and is utterly passionate about everything health, food and life. She is committed to providing nutrition support and education to give your health a makeover, feel radiant and put an energetic bounce into your life. Living optimally is about finding the balance on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level, loving your body and feeling well nourished. It’s about understanding and eating fresh delicious whole foods, using your food as your medicine and not feeling intimated by the journey to get there.

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