So my brother and I have just finished weeks 4 and 5 of our vegan exploration. Originally we planned on just going for 4 weeks, but decided to tack on an additional week. All in all, going vegan wasn’t as difficult as we both thought. The first week was the toughest because we didn’t really know about the volume of food you would need to eat in order to feel full. Constantly eating veggies kind of make you feel like you’re always eating while sitting at your desk at work. On various occasions I know I have told friends that I feel like a cow just chewing food constantly. From this whole experience I feel so much better on multiple levels. First off, once I shifted away from eating the processed soy stuff to more fruits and veggies, I could notice myself looking and feeling leaner. It seems like in a way it was a detox for my body. As for weight loss, I did not lose much (maybe 7 pounds) but that would be because I wasn’t as active as I normally am. Also, I have developed a better appreciation for vegan foods and eating more fruits and veggies. Yes, vegan foods don’t look as appealing as other foods, but if you get over the looks and try them, they can be quite good. I was lucky because being in a large metropolitan area made it easy to find vegan options when I went out to eat with friends. I only recall one time where I had to settle for a salad because there wasn’t a vegan option on the menu, but I should have known better since we were going to country French café. From this experience I know that I will incorporate more fruits and veggies into my diet along with more whole organic foods. I also know that after staying away from processed foods and the revitalized feeling it gave me, I’ll try to scale back on the processed foods I eat in the future.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody who took the time to read my blog during this adventure and to all of those who supported my brother and me during this time. It was an adventurous journey and I’m looking forward to see how this experience will change the rest of my life.
As I have stated earlier, the hardest part of going vegan has been the intense hunger pangs that seem to come out of nowhere. This typically happens to me while I am driving home from work in the evenings. I go from being a 3-4 on the hunger scale to being a full blown 8-9. This is probably due to the fact that I have on real cabs in my lunchtime meals and eating all those fruits and veggies fill me up, but more so in the sense of filling a volume rather than making me feel content.
To offset these hunger pangs and to keep me feeling energetic I decided to make a bunch of Vegan Chili that I can take along with me to work for lunch. The recipe below is one that I found on the internet with some minor modifications. I added more quinoa, a larger variety of beans, and Trader Joe’s Beef-less ground beef.
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 jalapeno pepper, diced
- 2 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 (12 ounce) packet of Trader Joe’s Beef-less ground beef
- 1 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 ounce) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 packet chili spice mix.
- 2-3 tablespoons chili powder, depending on your taste
- Cumin, salt and black pepper, to taste
Directions for Cooking Quinoa:
- In a 1 ½ quart sauce pan, combine the rinsed and strained quinoa and two cups of water.
- Bring to boil and then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed – about 10 to 15 minutes.
When the quinoa is cooked, it will look translucent and the germ ring will be visible along the outside of the grain; it kind of looks like couscous.
Directions for Cooking Chili:
- The first thing we want to do is soften the onions. To do this we need to heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat for about 5 minutes. You do not want to brown the onions, just soften them. Adjust your temperature if you begin to see the onion turn brown.
- Stir in the meat-less meat and brown it as if it is ground beef. You don’t need to worry about cooking this because we’re only trying to make it look like cooked beef. One minute of browning should be enough.
- Next add the garlic, jalapeño, carrots, and celery. Cook until vegetables are tender, which should be about 10 minutes
- Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce and all of our beans along with the cooked quinoa. Season with chili powder, red pepper, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Simmer chili on low for about 30 minutes. Serve warm.
To serve, I hollowed out a bell pepper and stuffed it with the Vegan Quinoa Chili and chopped some green onions to put on top as a garnish.