Day 14 The Vegan Experiment. More Bread!

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So for those playing along at home you will know that I have been experimenting with handmade bread for the past few days trying to make the perfect vegan bread recipe. Well I got it working in the end but it really is A LOT OF WORK. As you know I spent my birthday at the Cyclocross racing and I was lucky enough to have my wife buy me a bread maker as I gift. This is really cool. Although after my first attempt using the “Vegan” Recipe i had it din not work that well. I really like it but it ended up a bit doughy. I need to work on the cooking time I think. She manged to make a much better loaf then I did but I will be out for another go!

Day 7 the vegan experiment. Doh!

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IMG_20150408_080841Back to work today after the 4 day break.

Toast for breakfast and lunch was pretty much the same thing. I’m wondering if soy gives me wind…
My wife suggested we have a Vegan meatloaf for dinner, but we got home late and I was missing one ingredient that I needed. This left me in a dilemma of trying to figure out what to have. I had also been to the gym tonight and to be honest was exhausted. My ride yesterday had zapped any strength that I had. I spent the day eating as much as I could but still seemed lacking. I did the best I could at the gym and went home to find some food. However we need to to stop at the grocery store and there was no bread. Well I will make it i thought. How hard could it be, I mean I have been nailing this vegan stuff so far.

Attempt 1 was a fail. didn’t add quite enough water and ended up with a big glupy mess. Attempt 2 went much better and Connor decided to help me out. He was so excited when the alarm went off for the bread to finish rising. The bread itself turned out nice, however it was a little dense. Not sure if it was the recipe or my skills at making it by hand. I’m taking it as a win and it will be tomorrows breakfast and probably lunch.

Yesterday I mentioned about how good the fos talking to stated “If you put as much effort  into cooking non vegan food it would be just as good” Fair point. However two things. So far being vegan I have been forced to cook in certain ways, other wise I would have nothing. In the past I would have cheated and eaten something easy, or bought something ready made. Secondly I find the vegan cooking actually pretty straight forward and I have always struggled to cook meat well. So far I’m loving the food and I’m full. Anyway off to eat hot bread.

Day 5 The Vegan Experiment

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Day 5 of The Vegan Experiment. Todays the first day I was over the breakfast and felt like bacon and eggs. Not so much the meat but the salty aspect was what I seem to craved. Made some berry porridge. That sucked, Started again, made some vegan pancakes, tasted ok but ironically too salty (too much bicarb in the recipe IMO). Maple syrup was good though ūüôā

We ended up having to duck out and I decided to make some bread. However a detour on my wife suggestion to a local fruit and veg store yielded quite a surprise and I was able to get some black beans which I have been searching for. Now this kind of breaks a rule in that it did not come from a major shop but it was next door in a major shopping centre so I figure it counts.

2015-04-05 13.24.40

On a personal leave this is the most tired I have felt. Don’t get me wrong the food is great and I feel physically the best I have in a long time. Just tired, I’m mostly just putting it down to late night to bed and early up cause the Easter came and made a mess in my home and the kids decided 5am was a good time to clean it up.

On that note its the first year I have not received a giant kinder egg from my wife. I’m so grateful that she respects this vegan experiment for me and did not get one. To be honest it kind of feels like a relief to not feel obliged to each chocolate just because its sitting the fridge. For the sake of the argument I did sample some white vegan chocolate. Can’t say I’m a huge fan but I was not really a big chocolate eater to start with. Didn’t end up getting the bread done but did make some marinated tofu (lime and chilli), baked tomato filled with mushroom, tomato and garlic. All with a side of some thin baked cinnamon sweet potato. Ate mine and then helped my wife finish her plate. I will say one thing for this food, I’m not going hungry and have found I seem to want to snack less.

Vanilla & Strawberry Vegan Cupcakes

Vanilla & Strawberry Vegan Cupcakes
Vanilla & Strawberry Vegan Cupcakes

My daughter wanted to make cupcakes so basically I did as I was told and we set off to do just that. Sticking with my Vegan experiment we went hunting. She insisted on strawberry ones so this was the compromise. I later posted the image to the blog and to instagram and was soon asked for the recipe for Vegan Vanilla & Strawberry Cupcakes.



[yumprint-recipe id=’1′] 

Day 4 The Vegan Experiment: It rained all day…

It rained all day today. One of those days that I got to stay home and think about riding. Forced rest day I guess. Instead I turned my attention to making some food for dinner. But first desert as my daughter asked if we could make some strawberry cupcakes. So we put together some vegan cupcakes with icing and cut strawberries on top. The process itself was not difficult but did need some patience in the steps required. End result? Nailed it!

Vanilla cupcake with icing and strawberries


I wanted dinner to be filling and warm but not stupidly complicated. In the end I made some pastry and created two different varieties of galette. Tomato, onion and herbs for galette 1 and mushroom, lemon and chilli for the other. Both came up so nice that it just amazes me how good this food really is and that I have been able to make things like pastry from scratch! Worst part about dinner was that it ran out.

Tomato, onion and herb galette (mushroom, lemon and chilli in background)


Day 3 The Vegan Experiment Cyclocross training

The one thing that became clear today: If you are not prepared, you have nothing to eat.

It was a public holiday here today and it fell on the day that the Cyclocross training was on. Normally I can not get there as I will be late for work but this gave me the opportunity to train with some like minded people and finally ride the Newcastle velodrome CX track before the race next week. Its was shattering! Hard work and it just doesn’t let up. Felt more like mountain biking in terms of power and effoert required but you need some serious skill to put a road bike through this rough track. Not to mention bunny hopping things and when it gets too steep, you have to get off and carry your bike!

Now to get back to my original point. We decided to take the kids out to a local park and a drive. This took longer than expected and being a public holiday only fast food restaurant being open. Having rushed out the door i had not brought anything with me so the day turned out to be somewhat a hungry one until i got home. Then i still had to do some cooking to make something decent. Worth it in the end and i made a bulk lot of patties which i will have during the week and got the pantry cleaned out. Check out No Meat Athlete for the formula 

Chickpea, Mushroom, Capsicum and Walnut patties


Day 2 The Vegan Experiment: To the gym! #TheVeganExperiment

Day 2 started out pretty similar to day 1, just managed to get an extra hour to sleep in as I didn’t have to go to Sydney.¬†Porridge¬†with almond milk, banana and dates. Tasted good however I¬†wondered¬†if the banana is mashed in it would taste better. No major ill effects, if anything I feel boringly normal. I must admit to not felling as bloated but we will see if this continues. From a social perspective I told my coworkers about my vegan experiment¬†today. Nice to get some positive support and not the usually “why would you do that” I have been getting

Gym tonight, back into it after 2 lay weeks because of work commitments. The new plan is hard work but felt good. Went back onto the static bike to set the baseline for this phase of the experiment. PR of 6.38km in 10 minutes on Hills+ setting. Happy with that. My lifting started tonight, actually put a weight on it. Damn hard work but never felt crappy, just tired from the work.
Now this is the first time I have felt like cheating. After the gym I was hungry¬†but I had to cook to get something decent. Took the time, went and got some fresh asian greens and sweet “peppers” as my wife asked my to cook fried rice. Mushrooms, cashews, tofu and vegetables. Turned out awesome and decided that it really is worth the wait for good tasty food. I probably just would have picked crap out of the pantry anyway…

V Day is here. Is being Vegan all its cracked up to be? #TheVeganExeperiment

I’d like to think of myself as a person of¬†science. At¬†least¬†from the perspective of¬†rigorous¬†testing. With this in mind I’m undertaking this “Vegan Experiment” to see if there is a¬†physical¬†and or¬†emotional¬†change in my well-being.

I have¬†minimised¬†my meat intake over the last week and have tested some vegan recipes. Now¬†arguably¬†I should make the switch to show a¬†dramatic¬†change but it’s not to far off what I have eaten and to be honest I want to give myself the best chance at¬†succeeding. This should negate that sudden change in diet. Even leading into it I could see some of the difficulties. Work turned out to back to front in what i expected. It was easy to say not to the chocolate egg I got with coffee but lunch was provided and it would have been easier to have what I assumed would be vegan but you just don’t know. I ate what I had brought and went to by some fruit.
Feeling tired, more than likely from the spontaneous run I did last night and getting the end of a very long few weeks. Finally got go on a late but quick hill climb on the CX bike.
I will update this post in the morning with more data.

Natural Whole Foods? Or going Vegan? #TheVeganExperiment

I told my friend that I was going to do and experiment and go Vegan for a month. His reaction was “Why” followed by some comments about “Bloody Vegans”. Wow, this is going to be interesting.

I had thought about making the transition to a Whole Food diet for some time and whilst it may seem strange to some to choose a vegan diet, it felt right for me. From my research being a vegan and being an (amateur) athlete does actually go hand in hand.

¬†I grew up in a vegetarian household, the only real exception to this being fish.¬†Through my teens and twenties I ate really really badly. I¬†remember¬†being 17 and living on my own in Sydney¬†regularly¬†eating¬†McDonald’s¬†for 3 meals in a day and sadly thinking it was great to be out eating whatever I wanted. This caught up with me pretty quickly and I went from a 55kg teen to a 92kg 24 year old. A lot of hard work and 10 years later I’m down to 62kg

I have been¬†intrigued¬†by the idea of a Whole food diet for some time. For me, given my past and what I feel is the most versatile option was a vegan diet. It’s interesting that if I had said to my friend “hey I’m going to do a month-long experiment on the paleo diet”¬†whether¬†or not I would still have the “whats wrong with you” type response. Cause meat is good and awesome right? I feel that the two diets are actually quite similar in¬†context. Both require¬†you to have only natural whole foods. Cooking process are ok but not processed food. So right there out of the box you are ahead of the bulk of the population. Secondly from the¬†perspective¬†of animal¬†treatment¬†you still must¬†respect¬†the farming and process used on the paleo diet. You can’t simply just go out and buy meat or a burger etc. You must adhere to the underlying¬†principles¬†of limited¬†agriculture¬†and no modern-day processing of food.

Now let me point out this. I’m not only of these preachy¬†individuals¬†that am trying to make a¬†statement¬†on animal welfare and the like. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for ethical treatment and farming but I do feel that as a¬†society¬†we do eat way to much animal¬†products¬†and the reality is at this rate the world will not be able to sustain the demand. For me this is about natural whole foods that are well prepared and I know what I’m eating.

Its 4 weeks till the end of the criterium racing¬†season¬†(bring on Cyclocross!) and I have decided that I will don an experiment and commit to a vegan diet/lifestyle on April 1st (fool me or fool you, not sure ūüôā ). At the moment I’m collecting my baseline data about me eating, fitness and general day-to-day stuff and then will do a comparison throughout April. This may seem silly to some but for me I’m more¬†likely¬†to¬†succeed¬†if I have a goal and project to work with.

So stick with me through April and get a day-to-day account of how this will work. The more of you that hold me to it the better!

The baseline data is underway. The metrics I will be collecting for now and the period in question are
  • my_weight
  • my_fat_percent
  • intellectual¬†(self rated scale)
  • emotional¬†(self rated scale)
  • physical¬†(self rated scale)
  • run
  • run_distance
  • run_time
  • run_cals
  • run_suffer
  • run_race
  • rideride_distance
  • ride_time
  • ride_cals
  • run_suffer
  • ride_race
  • ride_comment
  • StaticBike
  • SB_Distance_10_min
  • SB_Watts
  • Avg_HR
  • Weights
  • W_time
  • W_cal
  • steps
  • sleep
  • water
  • Goal
  • cals_in
  • cals_out
  • Difference
  • Carb
  • Pro
  • Fat
So in addition to these metrics the goal is to work within the following rules.
  • A daily blog post giving a summary of the above metrics
  • Food consumed and how difficult the preparation process may have been
  • Social elements. “dietary¬†requirements” through to¬†people’s¬†reactions.
  • I will shop at local everyday stores
  • Not resort to vegan “junk food” and process food.
  • I can still consume coffee however I will stick to black.

The Static bike is simply one of the bikes at my gym. The key settings for this will be distance covered in 10 minutes at level 14 (this is the level they used to test my VO2 max) using the “Hills” interval training.

Wish me luck or join in! #TheVeganExperiment

2015-03-07 10.16.45
Hills interval
2015-03-07 10.14.46
Static Bike