#FEMALEChallenge: Alya’s Vegan Week

This month, we were challenged by reader Reese Ong Bee Bee to go vegan for a week! So four FEMALE team members will be taking turns to do a full vegan diet for a week and we can tell you now: you’re going to want to find out how we fared! Head to our Instagram page for more each week!
This week, our Web Writer Alya reports back on her attempt at to be a seven-day vegan!

Alya’s Vegan Diary:

To start my 7-day vegan challenge, I went grocery shopping the night before. I stocked up on some of my favourite vegetables like spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes and loads of mushroom (to replace the meat). I’m a big snacker, so to my dismay there were not a lot of snacks out there that are vegan-friendly– most of which contains either animal fat, honey or milk. But if you had to put a positive spin on it, it’s probably better for your health anyways.

Monday:

I don’t usually have big breakfast so a nice cold glass of soya bean milk was my morning ‘coffee’ to replace regular full-cream milk. I didn’t mind this as it’s also one of my favourite drinks. On the first day, I thought I was going to ace the vegan challenge!

I had a poke bowl for lunch sans any kind of meat but it wasn’t until I realised that the sriracha sauce mixed with mayonnaise (no wonder it tasted good!).

My family knew I was going vegan, for dinner we had one or two dishes that was animal products and others that were meat-free like sambal eggplant and stir-fry veggies so I didn’t have to miss out on our daily family dinner.  

The Rest Of The Week:

The following days were a mix for me. I found that lunch time was harder as I always ate out and there aren’t many vegan friendly options around the office area. So usually I would customise my meals – no meat, no eggs, no oyster sauce and more. Waiters would give me weird looks and would say, “You want it ‘kosong’ (empty)?” or they don’t understand the difference between vegan and vegetarian. But there were those who were nice enough to add either more mushrooms or more veggies to compensate.

Dinner was easy as I had more control overwhat I ate. My family and I are veggie eaters so everyone was happy that we would always have an extra veggie dish around the table.

P.S. I love desserts especially cakes! And when I’m on cake-eating-monster mode, it wasn’t as easy as buying what I see and like. It is super hard to find vegan-friendly cakes around my housing area as most cakes contain milk, animal fat, honey, eggs– all of which are red flag words for a vegan! On one of those days, I had eaten half a box of Digestive cookies which I taught had a vegan label on it until my colleagues pointed out that it actually says ‘suitable for vegetarians’ and the has the word ‘milk’. Fail.

Also over the weekend, I had a wedding to attend and I know a lot of Malay weddings don’t typically serve vegetables for their buffets. True enough when I went there, there only was chicken, mutton, dahl with potatoes and acar (pickled veggies). I wasn’t about to just eat rice, potatoes and acar at a wedding!! caved and had the mutton.

The Verdict:

The result? FAIL! I would say that being vegan is tough. You don’t realise how much food out there contains milk and eggs. I also realised that there aren’t a lot of great options for vegans to eat out at food joints or restaurants. Which is why vegans often bring home cooked food. But one thing I do noticed is that my appetite became smaller. I would often feel full half way through the meal and I’m not sure if that’s because meat wasn’t in my diet. Overall, I think I would be fine being a vegetarian but to go without milk and eggs? That’s hard!

Now we want your help: share your best vegan recipe with us for a chance to win our September #FEMALEChallenge!