Breakfast is my first challenge. I have a product called Orgran Vegan Easy Egg, which I thought I’d try in one of my favourite breakfasts, banana pancakes. These are simple, usually: one banana, two eggs, a dash of cinnamon. They take about 10 minutes to get on the plate and I eat them for breakfast once or twice a week.
First hurdle: Vegan Easy Egg is a powder you mix with water, but it doesn’t have any instructions on the pack to tell me how to make the equivalent of one egg. Googling, swearing and calculations ensue. I get a pancake mix together eventually, which looks okay, and cooks in a way that’s not unlike how they usually look. They taste odd, though. Savoury, and weirdly spicy. Turns out, on reading the ingredients, that Vegan Easy Egg contains salt, turmeric and garlic! Breakfast is saved by the addition of maple syrup and some beautiful, highly calorific Cathedral Cove Naturals coconut yoghurt.
A quick go-to lunch when I’m working at home is something on toast. Avocados are out because they’re all rock-hard… but I have hummus, tomato and vegan ‘casheta’ – nut-based vegan cheese from the Savour brand. This looks and behaves like feta, and tastes savoury. It’s not cheese, but it’s tasty. The biggest problem with this meal is actually the bread. Most commercial bread seems to have dairy in it, in the form of whey. I finally find a gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free loaf from Venerdi. It costs over $8. I make a coffee with almond milk, which is pretty good.
The afternoon brings the first function of the week: a celebration of new potatoes by Potatoes NZ, at which I am speaking. It’s a fabulous event with fabulous potato-based food. Potatoes are naturally vegan but, unfortunately, I can’t eat any of the potato-based canapés, as they all have some sort of non-vegan addition: sour cream, crème fraiche, bacon, smoked fish. I can eat the potato crisps, olives, carrots and the fries from the Double Dutch food truck. I don’t starve, but it’s not fun turning down things that look delicious.
Dinner: After the function I make a quick favourite for a light dinner: a spring soup of broccoli, asparagus, courgette, rocket and potato. I usually make this with chicken stock and a little bit of parmesan or blue cheese. It’s an easy swap to use miso instead of stock, and leave out the cheese. It tastes okay. Dessert is a little bit of Kohu Road chocolate sorbet, which is deliciously vegan-friendly.
*Follow Niki’s journey on her Instagram account @nikibezzant
Why I’m going vegan for a week