During the month of January, I partnered up with The Fry Family Food Co. to do a plant-based challenge. I was a little sceptical at first, and wondered whether I would be able to last a month without meat. However, I am happy to say that it wasn’t as difficult as I expected it to be; and in the end I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I even decided I would continue to follow a more plant-based lifestyle!
The first week wasn’t really that much of a challenge. It was more about getting used to what I could and couldn’t eat. There was one day, after a hard day’s work, when I went to the store to get a snack and automatically reached for a bag of biltong. Luckily, my dear friend reminded me that I was supposed to be eating vegetarian. Feeling a little bit guilty about forgetting what I had committed to, I placed the bag of biltong back on the shelf and opted for a bag of nuts instead.
My first week was also filled with dread, when I realised how expensive it is to follow a plant-based diet. Especially when it comes to buying nuts. However, with a little bit of a savvy-smart-shopper attitude, I managed to buy my groceries without spending more than what I usually would. The amount of vegetables in my grocery basket also grew substantially, which I was surprised about, since I’m not a big fan of vegetables. Today, I’m an avid veggie-eater and I actually miss it when I don’t have some form of fresh produce on my plate (my body and skin is pretty thankful too!).
The second week came with its own set of challenges. My friends, family and colleagues seemed as apprehensive about this challenge as I was during my first week going plant-based. I was bombarded with questions about why I was doing this, and how would I survive this, and was I not craving meat? There were a few instances where people would try to convince me to have a bite of meat, often saying, “who would know?” But I stuck to my guns and said “no” every time. I was kind of surprised and proud of myself for saying no. But, I was even more surprised at how easy it was, since I really didn’t feel like eating meat.
During the third week, I realised just how few restaurants there are in Stellenbosch that have an abundance of vegetarian options on their menu. I also ended up having to check restaurant menus online to make sure that they actually have vegetarian options. There were a few nights when my colleagues and I visited our favourite post-work beer spot and I was unsure whether I would be able to eat anything on their menu. Luckily, we usually order a big platter with a selection of tapas, and I was able to at least eat three out of the ten items.
The last week was a little bit rough, as I had an intense craving for a juicy ,meaty burger. I also really wanted to eat a Big Mac again, since the vegetarian burger at Mcdonalds is, in my opinion, subpar. With much pride I can say that I did not give in to my cravings and opted for one of my Fry’s recipes instead.
I also had an amazing lunch at Greenhouse restaurant with a colleague of mine during the last week and chose their vegetarian menu, and let me tell you, it was delicious! I must admit, I had a few bites of her non-vegetarian meals, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying my meat-free option.
Overall, this experience was amazing. Not only did I absolutely love creating new recipes to go with my Fry’s products, but I feel great too. I usually suffer from stomach aches which have completely disappeared. My cholesterol, which used to be quite high, has improved, my skin looks much healthier and I feel much more energised. These are the reasons why I am choosing to continue living a more plant-based lifestyle. I also enjoy the idea that by not eating as much meat as I used to is better for the earth as well, and that makes me even happier.
Keen to go meat-free? I’m giving away a hamper from The Fry Family Food Co. worth R500! To enter, tell me about your favourite plant-based recipe using Fry’s. Drop a comment below or email sayhello@9Lives.co.za and be sure to tell your friends (because sharing is caring)! Entries close 8 February 2019.