I don’t know about you mamas, but a typical week’s menu in the Naqvi household goes something like this: chicken stir fry, steak, honey chicken salad, Pad Thai noodles and homemade beef burgers. Not to mention adding three kiddie meals into the equation – chicken nuggets, spag bol and chicken fried rice. It’s all very yummy – thanks to my lovely helper at home as I can’t cook, won’t cook! And as you can see, it’s all fairly meat-laden. Well, let me tell you, I decided to give it all up and try a new way of eating.
The Tidjoori restaurant is a new, vegan outlet in Dubai Marina founded by Krishna, a man so passionate about vegan cuisine that not only did he start his own restaurant, but he also started his own vegan food range under the same Tidjoori name (available in most UAE supermarkets including Al Maya).
When Tidjoori asked me to participate in a 27 day vegan challenge, I immediately remembered they news hype when Beyoncé turned vegan and launched her own vegan brand called 22 days and thought hey, if it’s good enough for Queen Bey, then it’s good enough for me!
The challenge went like this: Tidjoori would provide three meals a day delivered directly to my home, consisting entirely of vegan dishes. That meant no dairy, egg, meat or produce cooked in animal fat. I could still have coffee (black, no milk) and chocolate (dark, not milk chocolate). All I had to do was eat the home delivered meals, enjoy them and try not to cheat! Sounded perfect, especially as I’d eaten at the Tidjoori restaurant before so knew firsthand that the cuisine was amazing. So the challenge was accepted and it was time to give Vegan-ism a very good go.
On the first day, the food was delivered as promised in the evening directly to my door – three meals all prepared, labeled and ready to eat. Breakfast consisted of a fruit smoothie, lunch was a Mediterranean salad (great, all going well) but then it was the kids dinner time, which proved to be a little more of a test. I’m sure we all do it mamas – we can’t help but pick at whatever the littles are having! I had to slap my wrists and step away from the kitchen. Once the kids were in bed, I sat down to my own meal which was a yummy Ratatouille.
The next day’s food had arrived and the kids welcomed the delivery man with eager eyes and hands. This ended up being a 27 day ritual, as we all emptied the contents of the delivery bag on a daily basis and looked at mummy’s menu for the following day.
For the rest of the week, the menu consisted of roasted vegetables, quinoa, gluten free pasta, Pancakes Florentine, Beetroot smoothies, salads and mashed potato with falafel etc. So by the end of week 1, I was not only proud of myself for not cheating at all (not even one little bit – no mamas, I didn’t touch one mouthful of the kid’s food), but I actually started to feel a little lighter and less bloated. What a bonus!
Not only did I get to eat great food, but I felt pretty good as well. Some of the meals were carb based, not all gluten free. I haven’t eaten carbs in a very long time due to weight gain and bloating, but I ate it all anyways . Something definitely seemed to be going right.
Week 2 and the food was still consistently good; there were a few meals that I didn’t enjoy as much as others, but that’s just down to personal taste. At the end of week 2, all the challengers met to share our feedback. Our Vegan Expert from Health Food Spa, Joanna was on hand to support us in our vegan quest. Joanna shared some seriously important facts below with the challengers, which I feel I need to share with you just so as you understand how important Veganism really is:
“Animal agriculture is responsible for more green house emissions than all transport in the entire world put together. A vegan who drives a hummer is greener than a meat eater who cycles! It takes 100 to 200 times more water to produce a pound of beef than it does to grow a pound of plant foods. The UN even says that ‘a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, alleviate poverty, and the worst impacts of climate change.’ By the end of the 27 Day Challenge, all 5 participants combined, will be saving 83 animals, and just over 300,000 liters of water. That’s one person’s showers for 25 years!”
And to think we were doing all this in just 27 days!
Week 3, leading up to 22 days. A few new dishes from veg gluten free pizzas to stuffed mushrooms were introduced to the daily menu. The amount of variety on the menu is quite impressive and shows this is a lifestyle, not just a fad. I definitely felt lighter and had bags of energy. Most of the challengers had even worked out during the challenge which I didn’t do – even though I had all good intentions to include a workout three times a week (wishful thinking for a busy mama) and they have ALL lost weight.
It was great to see all the challengers sharing their thoughts on social media. Latoya was posting that she had lost weight, while Big Rossi made me laugh with his funny foodie videos!
So, mamas there must be a few questions you must be eager to know the answers to. I’ll give it to you straight!
Did I lose weight?
No, but the challenge did stop my bloating and I felt lighter and more energetic.
Would I do the challenge again?
Absolutely, where do I sign up?
Could I be a vegan?
Yes, easily. (Especially if the food is prepared for me!)
Will I eat meat again?
Honestly yes, but only because I like the taste. I’ve realized that it’s not that important to my diet any more. I will definitely cut down on the amount we eat as a household now.
Do I feel better?
Absolutely! There is a fresh energy to my general outlook, which I can only attribute to my change in diet.
They say it takes 22 days to break a habit and well believe me, it’s true. I really did become a vegan, I embraced a greener lifestyle and I felt really good doing it. This challenge and the exposure to this particular lifestyle did open my eyes to many things, diet, environmental impact, etc and I am really glad I participated. If nothing else, I know that if I’m looking for a fresh start, more energy, responsible living and great food, I don’t need to look far. The Tidjoori restaurant and brand is a fantastic way to embrace the vegan lifestyle and they’re true ambassadors of healthy living.
You too can take up the 27 Vegan Challenge delivered directly to your door!his package will retail for: 2,999 for 27 days, 3 meals a day. A person can also eat 3 Vegan healthy meals a day, spending AED 21 for breakfast, AED 45 for lunch & AED 45 for dinner.