A lot of people have asked me to put up examples of my plant based dairy free, meat free daily diet. People always say they could never do the plant based diet because they would find it hard to be prepared but in truth whatever diet you have, fruit and veggies should play a huge role regardless of anything else you include. I woke up this morning and decided, right, this is the week I’ll document what I eat. No mad preparations, making crazy exotic non- practical dishes just for Instagram. Just my rough and ready diet, trying to get whatever goodness I can get into me, using the ingredients in my presses on any given day and especially on a budget. I must be doing something good, bloods constantly showing a healthy level of nutrition across the board. So here we go, documenting the good with the bad.
- Monday morning I woke up feeling groggy and hungry but not wanting to put much effort into anything. Walking around the kitchen for about twenty minutes, wanting everything and nothing at the same time, I ended up having a slice of white bread toasted with low low plant spread and 1 banana sliced on top. Already I was getting off on the wrong foot. I try my hardest to avoid white bread but when it’s sitting under your nose and just so easy/ nice to eat I find it so difficult. Not only has it virtually no nutrients, it spikes your blood sugar levels and it is so processed.
- Mid-morning I began to get into the swing of things and ate a portion of grapes while blogging. (A portion of fruit/veg is 80g. 32 grapes is one portion).
- I nibbled on a portion of Almonds. (30g serving, around 24 almonds)
- That brought me up to lunch time. I had a whole grain wrap with hummus, half an avocado, carrot, yellow pepper, scallion and bean sprouts.
- A portion of strawberries then filled the tummy.
- I stopped to get petrol and feeling thirsty stupidly I grabbed a can of Diet Coke. SO FRIKIN BAD FOR YOU. Bold Sarah.
- For dinner I made a curry. The recipe can be found here. The veggies I put into it varies each time depending on what I have in my press. Today it contained an onion, carrot, broccoli, peas, sweetcorn, courgette, yellow pepper and if course garlic. Take a look at Dr. Michael Gregor’s presentation on the best vegetable to consume to fight cancer here. Was pretty yummy. I kept it quite mild because of the hot weather I didn’t want any more steam coming out of my ears. It was flavoured with my usual turmeric and cumin. I paired it with brown rice and for the day that was in it I made a few wedges, for collecting up the sauce afterwards of course.
- I drank over three litres during the course of the day, about two cups of tea with soya milk. I may have indulged in a square, okay two, okay three, squares of 70% dark chocolate.
I was all set for bed, teeth washed, and then suddenly you would swear I had never been fed a day in my life, a hunger came over me. After walking into the kitchen about ten times I settled on another slice of toast with plant butter and raspberry jam.
So I had a pretty good day all things considering. I missed a few things I usually try and incorporate like beans/ chickpeas/ lentils for protein, more cruciferous veggies, green matcha tea for all the antioxidants, flaxseed, wheatgrass. It’s so hard to get everything into you. Sometimes it feels you are eating all day just to get in all the required daily amounts.
I woke up Tuesday feeling a little more enthusiastic about the whole healthy thing. I had a bowl of blueberries, strawberries and grapes with a generous serving of Alpro Soya Yoghurt with coconut and ground flaxseed. I grind my flaxseed directly before consumption to yield maximum amount of nutrition. I don’t tend to buy the pre ground packs that you can find in Aldi because once the seed is ground up the omega 3 fatty acids begin to break down, losing a lot of the goodness. You have to grind the flaxseed/ linseed up because the hard shell protects the nutrients and if ingested as a whole, it would pass right through the body undigested. Different benefits of flaxseeds include aiding digestion, high in antioxidants via lignans, high in omega 3 fatty acids.
I was driving up to Dublin and had a quick cup of homemade vegetable soup before I drove up. My sister made a big pot of vegetable soup for me (eh no I’m not spoilt what ya on about). It contained yellow peppers, onion, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, salt and pepper. A small cup to keep me ticking over.
Once I got up to Dublin and settled in I had a bigger bowl of soup, a warm decision on such a roasting day. I paired it with my usual pitta containing hummus, avocado, scallion, yellow pepper, lettuce, bean sprouts, raw carrot and cashew nuts. I really love the wholemeal pitta. It serves as an edible pouch to throw in literally whatever you want. It hit the spot.
I kept hydrated and cool with a couple of chunks of watermelon.
A small cappuccino with soy milk was bought at Costa Coffee, to keep me awake mainly.
One of my good friends popped over, which led to needless munching on dark chocolate and cashew nuts. I probably ate close to the whole packed of cashew nuts I bought in Aldi. A cup of tea or two was drank in between the yapping of course, did I really have to mention that.
I had left over curry and rice from yesterday, but it needed to be spiced up a little. I added more broccoli, spinach and butter beans to it. Threw in a little more turmeric, cumin and added some heat with chilli flakes.
After that big feed I finished the evening with a cup of Matcha Green Tea.
Over three litres of water was drank through out the day. I am a little addicted to drinking water, a habit I picked up during my chemo sessions. The more I drank, the quicker it was be flushed through my system. The tendency to always have a glass of water nearby did not leave me. I usually drink a litre in my sleep at night. Getting up to the loo a couple of times is the downfall
Waking up I was feeling carby (what’s new?) so I went down to Dunnes and got a packet of, yes you guessed it wholemeal pitta breads. I had been eating a brand of pittas, thinking they were pretty clean, well as clean you could get bread. I try so hard to stay away from bread but it seems to occupy one meal a day. Anyway this particular brand had all the marketing ploys; buzz words such as healthy, had seeds in it. I looked at the ingredients after I had devoured a pack over the past week and there were at least ten different ingredients. I couldn’t believe it, mostly ingredients I couldn’t pronounce or know what their use was. But yet I was eating it without any bother. Putting it into my body, letting it enter my bloodstream and have an impact on cells of my body, without questioning what it was. I found another, cheaper less fussy brand. It had about five ingredients. I can’t fully remember now but it was basically wholemeal four, water, yeast, fermented wheat flour and salt. No crap in it. There is no compromise on taste. I paired it with Meridan’s Coconut and Almond spread with banana on top. Holy mother of dragons get in ma belly. The pairing of the spread and the banana was insane. A cup of tea with soy milk to wash it down then completed my brekkie.
I went down to Costa to give me a distraction from the house and looming chemo the next day, plus when I’m sitting there with my laptop I feel like a mysterious hipster for an hour rather than a Gaa loving, trackie wearing, spud devouring typical Irish girl. I usually spend a couple of hours there, writing and trying to use my brain a little but the only problem with this is that hunger looms after an hour or two. Today I didn’t have much of an appetite. I think it was because I suffer from insomnia a lot and tend to feel headachy and have no appetite after a sleepless night so today I felt pretty much like that, my brain hurt to think of what to eat. I packed a little lunch box with a portion of big juicy 8 strawberrries, 32 grapes and 4 heaped tablespoons of blueberries. Coupled with a packet of almonds and monkey nuts I had enough pickings to get me through a couple of hours. A small soy cappuccino gave me my brain fuel.
Feeling no bone pain or general desire to get two hip and knee replacements (biggest side effect I am feeling now. Woeful joint and bone pain two/three days after treatment. Of course die Familie loves to remind me that it’s mostly self inflicted from doing too much. I absolutely refuse to rest ‘just because’, I’ll rest when I can’t walk no more), I decided I would try out a Zumba class. I hate feeling full before exercise so a big bowl of Bud’s soup came in right handy once again. Talk about putting elastic bands around something and making it stretch. It left me feeling satisfied but not horribly full that I felt like there was a brick in my tummy.
So after Zumba, which I nailed by the way, sweat running from places I didn’t know was possible I’ll have you know (whoops not a nice image for a food blog), I just felt like a big farmers dinner. What else than spuds to satisfy that hunger. I had a humongous dinner, a portion big enough to feed a small family in Roscommon, with spuds, cauliflower, peas, sweetcorn, spinach, Brussel sprouts, carrots and broccoli. Seasoned with Himalayan Sea salt, pepper and a knob of Flora plant butter, I was like a queen munching away. The thing I love about those dinners, you don’t miss meat if you have enough variety of vegetables. The floury potatoes just remind you of home and there is literally no work involved. I just threw everything into the steamer, got a shower and dinner was prepared by the time I was finished.
After that I tried out my porridge bread. What a success. In an attempt to get away from processed bread, my buddie Luke gave me an idea of making porridge bread. So I said I would try it. Not knot knowing what to expect I threw in 500g porridge oats, 500g Alpro Natural Yoghurt, a packet of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, a teaspoon of oil and a teaspoon of treacle. I added a dash of soy milk to wet the mixture a little more. A good mix and into a tin for around an hour. Once it was ready I took it out of the tin and wrapped a damp cloth around it. I’ll put up the recipe when I have it perfected but I must say for a first time try it was delicious. It looked and tasted like normal brown bread. I am a little child and texture plays such an important role in my food and I loved the texture of seeds, was so lovely. So I had that ready for the next day and ready for the freezer for later days.
The night before treatment days I have to take steroids at 12am and 6am. Thankfully this time I didn’t have to make any sneaky trips to the kitchen after taking them. The unnatural hunger they give you is unlike anything else. Last week at 1am you could find me scurrying around the kitchen trying to make anything that resembled a take away. A veggie burger with lettuce, onion drowned in ketchup was the masterpiece I created. I wasn’t going to sleep without food. My mouth was watering, trying to listen to a mindfulness app while you are literally drooling is not very relaxing. Anyways I was a good girl this week and managed to fall asleep before I turned into the hungry hippo that can be sighted around the Clondalkin area in the wee hours of the night rummaging through peoples fridges.
Today was chemo day. My mind is never in the right place today to eat the right things and in the correct amounts. I just try to get in some sustenance and hope for the best. It’s always so hard to shake the notion of nausea like I had the last round of chemo so I am always preparing for the worst. It never ever comes, thankfully, but it means I eat the most bland foods possible.
For breakfast I ate some of my porridge bread. Janie mac it was beautiful. It tasted just like brown bread and the seeds added so much texture. I added the coconut and almond butter and a banana on top like yesterday. You just can’t beat it.
In between breakfast and lunch my day included an oncology waiting room, trying to find a vein which is always impossible, damn arms, and then finally getting into my recliner chair, blankie and cold cap. My lunch included.. guess what… another bowl of Bud’s soup and another slice of porridge bread with plant butter. Nice and easy on the tummy but nutritious and delicious. Feeling sorry myself I had a couple of handfuls aka the whole big bag of O’Donnell’s Salt and Vinegar crisps. I drank as much water as I could too. It helps flush out the toxic chemical, leaving it less time to do any damage in the kidneys.
I munched on my usual monkey and almond nuts throughout the day. I also picked on strawberries and blueberries throughout the day but I didn’t reach my daily serving, just feeling so full from everything else. It can be so hard to actually feel hungry for all the foods you are supposed to eat.
I am usually tired or high as a kite when I get home from the hospital, delighted I can tick another box off on the road to getting better. I wasn’t feeling too hyper this evening so my enthusiasm for a big showdown in the kitchen was just not there. Nonetheless I managed to make a tasty enough dinner. Not too unlike last night dinner I made a stew of sorts which included broccoli, peas, sweetcorn, spinach, cauliflower, courgette, carrot, yellow and red pepper, onion, garlic and potato. I threw all the veg I had coming to an end into a pot, a little saute-ing here and there, seasoning with turmeric and chilli powder, a vegetable stock and let stew until veggies were soft. Rough and ready meal for a rough and ready day.
So Friday began full of hope as all other days begin. I always treat myself to a nice meal out somewhere the day after treatment, ah sure if ya can’t treat yourself then, when can you treat yourself. I went to Umi Falafel and had a falafel wrap, wedges and can of diet Coke (second this week I have just realised. Noooo). It was so tasty, the day was a good day..
I went with a friend to a&e where all concept of the outside world ceased and the clock seemed to stand still. For twenty two hours we were there (I got home for a couple of hours in between), so any concept of eating healthy food, eating in general went out the window. Seating squished on blue plastic chairs as your eyes got droopier with every drunken person brought in before you was not the best idea of a Friday night, but what could you do. Not preparing enough and just having no appetite meant I ate a hipster salad in a jar, nuts on occasion, O’Donnell’s crisps, a soy cappuccino. Not a carrot in sight. Saturday when we got home finally at 4pm I tucked into a wedge roll smothered in ketchup with more wedges on the side. I regretted nothing. It’s a prime example of how not being prepared or in the mind set can really throw you off.
I will admit since getting back on the chemo train at times my determination can weaken just wanting that big massive cheesecake because f**K it, why shouldn’t I? Sometimes when I haven’t gotten to sleep until 5.30am because the pain in my joints and bones is too much to take I just want one area in my life where I go crazy and do what I want. *Queue image of Bruce from Matilda. I am not going to pretend to be all perfect. If mam is sitting beside me with a big slice of cake I will dip the little spoon in and have a little taste. That seems to squash any further need to want more. It hasn’t and I feel positive that it will never ever progress to doing that with meat. I don’t crave meat at all, whereas I still struggle with sugary things and sugary desserts almost always have milk, cream, butter, massively cholesterol increasing products. It is something I am working on but I suppose it is me being hard on myself. A day of pure goodness would be overshadowed by that small teaspoon of cake, totally disregarding all the good things I put into my body.
There are times I might be in a shop by myself, a bar of chocolate sits on the counter, and I think nobody would even notice if this went into my belly. Then I think, I am not doing it for anyone else, I am doing this for a reason and I am doing this for me. I should be the only person who cares and I will know exactly what I ate. I don’t care if anyone looks at me with ‘I told you it wouldn’t last eyes’ because I don’t care what they think. This is my life, my attempt at trying to help myself beat something that a toss of a coin seems to determine, so I am now focusing on myself rather than people who sit on the side-lines with their high cholesterol levels waiting and only delighted when I fail or eat something I shouldn’t. It’s all a journey, focus on your own!!