Preparing for the 7 Day Vegan Challenge

A few days ago I mentioned that I was participating in  a 7 Day Vegan Challenge that came about after Oprah and 378 of her staffers followed a strictly vegan diet for one full week. Admittedly, I haven't seen the show but there was a huge buzz about it in blogland after it aired and I thought, with all the vegan talk, why not try it for myself for seven days?

The truth is I have never been a vegan and while I was a vegetarian for many years I do currently eat some meat (poultry and fish). In other words, while I already eat many meat-free meals this challenge will be challenging.

When mentioning the challenge to people I have gotten the same question over and over: Why do it?

One question, many answers:

  • Its a challenge (and really, who doesn't like a challenge?)
  • Its a chance to try something new and understand a different way of life
  • It will compel me to try to new recipes
  • It will force me to look at food and food labels in a whole new way
I have done some research, asked some questions and done some preliminary planning.

Some menu ideas I am floating around are: Chana Masala, Tofu Scramble, Protein Pancakes, Pizza, Black Bean and Avocado Salad and Vegan Chili, which just happened to be first on the list as I entered the kitchen this afternoon:

Snowy Day Vegan Chili

You will need:

1 cup lentils
1 cup black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 jar pasta sauce
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, diced
2 small zucchinis, diced
1/2 medium eggplant, diced
1 cup baby spinach
2 pkgs prepared chili spice (or equivalent of homemade mix which is ideal)
1/2 cup water

Prepare lentils and black beans in advance (of using canned beans you can skip this step)

Dice all vegetables except spinach and set aside

Add tomatoes and tomato sauce to the crock pot

Add all the diced vegetables, garlic, water and chili spice to crock pot and stir.

Set the crock pot to high and heat the mixture become heated all the way through

Add the spinach and lower heat.

Let the chili cook for several hours on low. In my experience, the longer it does it's thing the better. This baby will be cooking overnight (so no finished product photo or taste test until tomorrow)

During the 7 Day Vegan Challenge you can expect:

  • Posts that include more recipes and food photos than usual
  • Posts that discuss vegan related issues
  • Posts that detail my experience with being a temporary vegan

If you want more information on the challenge check out Life After Bagels, follow the challenge on Twitter using the hashtag #7dayvegan or check out the Facebook page.

Well folks, that's all for now... it's time for the Puppy Bowl! Check back all this week for updates on the challenge and lots more vegan fun!

So tell me, have you ever tried a vegan diet? If not, what would you miss most if you did?


  1. I would definitely miss beef. I know I know, of all the meats, it's probably the worse, but I happen to love it :)

    I've given up dairy for a good amount of time, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't do it forever. I just love ice cream far too much.

    The great thing about trying a vegan diet is that within the blog world, there are so many great recipes out there for vegans! I know the Oprah show featured a lot of faux meats and dairy, but luckily, as with your soup, you really don't need to buy those things. Not to mention, they are super expensive! Good luck!

  2. This is really neat--I look forward to reading about your experience with the challenge!

  3. I think that's a great challenge! I have no problem not eating meat, because I'm used to it. I never really got used to veganism, though. I think it's a great challenge, though!

  4. I've been vegan for 10 years and don't miss anything. If I want "ice cream" I get Turtle Mountain's "Purely Decadent." I don't do it often, though -- it's TOO good! My omnivorous mother moved in with me about 3 years ago, so to accommodate her I buy more meat analogs (like Tofurky) than I did before. Still, we eat well. After six months eating as I did, Mom couldn't believe how much lower her cholesterol levels were.

  5. Great idea! I'm look forward to reading on your experience too. I hope it is a positive one!

  6. I am totally going to rock this chilli! I love the crock pot, so easy :)

  7. So far...not having milk in my coffee has been tough...
    I am still low on protein I am finding but don't want to overdo it too much on the beans...

  8. I'm starting the vegan challenge next week - I'm waiting a week because I just ended the sugar detox, and since I am not including all sweet things back in my diet yet, I don't want to be too restrictive! I can't wait to hear how it goes for you!

  9. I did some shopping for the vegan challenge today! I'm excited about it though it will definitely be a challenge for me too - especially the giving up dairy part!

  10. Good luck with the challenge! I did a vegan challenge for 30 days last year, and I was amazed by how great I felt after the just the 1st week!

  11. I will be checking out your food everyday :) I can't wait to see what you come up with!

    Love the Puppy Bowl you posted :)

  12. Looking forward to reading about your challenge!

  13. I will look forward to following your challenge--looking for your recipes to inspire me to follow this vegan for a week challenge too!

    SOunds like you are prepared!!

  14. I've never tried a vegan diet and am not currently participating in the challenge (I'm battling a ferocious cold) but am considering doing it in the future. Good luck Sam, I'm sure you'll rock it!

  15. Oh I'm SO excited to read about your challenge! I considered doing the same thing, but now isn't the right time. I can't wait to see what you think about it though- I'll be reading :)

  16. Good luck with the challenge! I eat a lot of vegan meals, but I can't make the full leap from vegetarian to vegan.

  17. I'm interested in following along and learning more about veganism this week. Are you planning on prepping all of your own food or will you still go out on occasion?

  18. Good for you! I'm looking forward to following your experience during the challenge.

    Currently I eat about 85% vegan - 85% primarily to cover for sneaky animal products that are hard to find (at restaurants etc). This challenge is really pushing me to go for 100% and quit depending on that little cushion.

    The thing I miss the most is being able to go out and get ice cream with my husband, family or friends. I can get soy ice cream from the store anytime, which is great...but it's just not the same as going on to get it!

  19. I've tried being vegan but I missed cheese! milk and yogurt were easier to give up and meat was VERY easy..but cheese? No. So I decided to allow cheese and eggs and the occasional meat but follow a mostly vegan/organic diet. I still feel like this is healthy :)

  20. Good luck on going vegan for a week! I have never tried it before...and I think the hardest part would be giving up eggs and cheese...I could totally give up the meat with no problemo.

  21. I've never tried a vegan diet, but I think it's cool that so many people are taking on the one week or one month challenge! I am all for each individual finding what works best for them and helps them feel their best. Your chili looks amazing - makes me want to make it again! Lentils + black beans are some of my favorite staples for vegetarian meals.
    By the way, that pic of you on your header is AWESOME!!

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