In front of me is a plate of delicious-looking courgette spaghetti Bolognese with almond Parmesan. My mouth waters, and a smell of fresh tomato sauce, lovingly prepared with a dash of red wine – just for the purple colour, of course – rises. But can this healthy, low-carb meal really taste as delicious as it looks, or is it too good to be true?
Food trends are now as much on our minds as fashion trends. As a Millennial, I am of course an avid avocado bread eater and to be honest, I am also still so “cringe” and take a picture of it every now and then. One of these trends that have long since established itself as a philosophy of life is veganism. It’s easy to make the world a better place with food, Instagram and Tiktok show you how. So if it’s that easy to live a healthier, more conscious life, then it must be the right thing for me. I started eating meat only on weekends years ago and cheese isn’t as important to me as it is to some people. So I decided to try it myself. Vegan for a week is not a huge challenge, so I add low carb.
During my Pinterest research, I come across a vegan low-carb diet plan. Long live the internet! Next week, all foods that have ever come into contact with an animal will be avoided. Meat and fish anyway, but also no eggs, milk and dairy products. Instead, there are lots of fancy things that I would never have bought in my life. “Don’t worry, there are lots of delicious alternatives,” my vegan friend Julia encourages me. An experiment like this starts with shopping. Because I want to do everything right, I naturally go to the organic market. There I find things like almond paste, agave syrup and lots of tomato paste in my shopping trolley. At the checkout, I have to dig deep into my pocket, 72.95 euros for a week’s shopping for one person. Well, some products I’ll probably have in my cupboard for longer than five days, but still not exactly the usual budget for me. At home, it starts right away. The aforementioned courgette spaghetti bolognese is on the menu. Shaping “noodles” from courgettes is a bit of a challenge without a professional peeler, but with poor hand-eye coordination, but the result is impressive. And indeed: they taste fabulous.
In the diet plan, from which I cook all the recipes, all the dishes are given a funny name. For example, in the evening we have “Broccoholic”, which is nothing more than cooked broccoli garnished with cream of lemon juice and almond paste. Although I am a great lover of green vegetables, the combination with sweet almond paste doesn’t exactly knock my socks off. With my stomach rumbling and my wallet empty, my motivation is already sinking a little.
New day, new luck. On the second day of my self-experiment, I start with the so-called “mini crunch pancakes with raspberry yoghurt ice cream” and what can I say, pancakes also taste great with soy milk, then ice cream for breakfast, even small children would have devoured this healthy meal with relish. At lunchtime, we have a salad with tofu and in the evening a lasagne with courgettes instead of pasta and mushrooms as a substitute for meat. These courgette lasagne sheets don’t knock my socks off; I’m a pasta lover and always will be. Nevertheless, I feel surprisingly light, without that tiredness that always haunts me after a meal. A vegan can’t simply rely on finding something to satisfy his or her hunger everywhere, so I cook breakfast for the next day, apple-cinnamon-millet porridge. It tastes really good and strengthens me for the day. Since I also have a life outside my kitchen, I have to go to work, so I only have a small snack for lunch – hummus with vegetable sticks – but in the evening I have delicious “kohlrabi ravioli”. Finally, I can breathe a sigh of relief, I am well satiated, happy and really fit.
I wake up rested and full of energy, I have a “Firestarter”, an oat milk drink with blueberries and oat flakes, very good and for once quickly made. Of course, I can’t do without a filling lunch forever, and because it’s going to be a long day, I cook “aubergine rolls” with an avocado-pepper filling for lunch. Phu, this is an interesting experience, but as they say, “hunger drives it in”. My hope is the oven vegetables, which I’ll make for myself right after work. At the weekend, the whole experiment becomes more of a challenge. But I resist every temptation and treat myself to two more pancakes for breakfast. For lunch, I have lentil bolognese with zoodles and salad. There’s not enough time to cook in the evening, so it’s just a light snack.
After seven days of cooking, cooking, cooking, I draw my conclusion. Vegan is definitely a lifestyle I don’t rule out. I definitely don’t miss the meat and there are plenty of alternatives. Positive side-effect: It’s amazing how quickly my body has changed. That sluggishness and slight nausea that have been a regular part of my life for years have blown away. Let’s see, maybe I’ll continue the experiment – indefinitely.
What I don’t want to deprive anyone of: The most delicious pancakes recipe in the world, suitable as breakfast, lunch or dinner or simply as a delicious summer snack: Ingredients:
- 60 g wholemeal flour
- 140 ml soy milk
- 20 g agave syrup
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- ½ tsp ground vanilla
- 30 g popped amaranth
Raspberry sorbet recipe:
- 150 g frozen raspberries
- 30 g agave syrup
- 80 g natural soy yoghurt