We test out what's it's like to eat food free of animal products, as we go vegan for one week
‘Boring’, ‘difficult’ or even ‘unhealthy’ are words that have been associated with going vegan, meanwhile stars such as David Haye and Jared Leto are singing the praises of how much better the way of life is for our bodies. But with Dubai’s Tidjoori restaurant dedicating their entire outlet to vegan eating and their month-long meal plan delivery service, cutting out animal products might be more fun than you think. We made like Beyoncé and tried it… for a week.
What it’s like day to day… Day one: Vegan wholemeal pancakes are for breakfast – four mean we don’t go hungry before lunch, which is a rather filling pasta with soya pink tomato sauce with a starter of tomato soup. There’s a side salad (lettuce, tomatoes and onions with croutons), plus a quinoa bowl for dinner. So far being vegan isn’t so bad. Day two: It’s French toast and berries with caramel syrup for breakfast. Pizza with vegan cheese, air-dried fries, soup and croutons are on the menu for a rather large lunch, which is a bit tricky for taking to work. Dinner consists of a wild rice bowl with tofu and veggie skewers so we swap the meals around. Despite having a cheese made from coconut oil topping (let’s be honest, it could be worse) we’re feeling a bit guilty after the pizza and its salty accompaniment. Day three: We’re more excited than we probably should be about getting to have empanadas for breakfast, they’re stuffed with orange cream and tofu, on top of that there’s a fried potato cake and salad. With a filling banana and peanut smoothie plus cashew nut cookies all included in meal one of the day, we begin to get a little worried we could gain weight. Lunch is spaghetti primavera with slices of grilled zucchini, plus pea soup with garlic bread, then for dinner we enjoy our second serving of potato for the day, mashed, with sautéed vegetables. On top of that there’s an Indian dish of Chana malasa (spicy chick peas) with paratha bread.
The rest of the week… Other dishes on the menu involved a granola, yoghurt and fruit pot for breakfast, which made a refreshing change to all the morning meals we regarded as weekend treats only (think mini muffins with kiwi jam, tofu omelettes, etc). The variety of soups on offer are satisfying, with Thai coconut one day to pumpkin and croutons the next, even gazpacho makes an appearance. Many of the dishes are paired with thick slices of bread or croutons, so if you’re not used to loading up on carbs this deliver-to-your-door plan might be overkill. You can of course request meals in line with certain food intolerances, like a gluten-free plan for example. Highlight meals are the creamy risotto with mixed mushroom, baked red kidney beans and stir-fried Kamut spaghetti.
The verdict: It’s probably not a plan you’re going to lose weight on if you already eat healthily as there are some utter treats from Tidjoori. However, the meals delivered showed that it’s not all beans and pulses with the vegan way of life and might just be what you need to give your digestive system a break from meat. Some of the dishes our friends would have had no idea were vegan if we hadn’t told them, so it’s a good thing many of the portions sizes are huge so you can easily order the plan to share.
Working out to be around Dhs150 per day if you get the 28 day plan (there’s also the option of 20 or 24 days) the amount you get and the convenience of a home drop-off is well worth it.
To sign up for the monthly meal plan, here’s how: 1. Visit the Tidjoori website 2. Sign up in the restaurant 3. Call 043863131 or email email@example.com