Thoughts the next morning: “Why HELLO, Buddha belly.”
Oh golly, I haven’t had ANY day of eating like this one! So many people have some sort of stance on cheat days. From what I’ve seen, most people do not recommend cheat days as a regular part of one’s regimen, but some people suggest that cheat days are most certainly okay or even beneficial for one’s progress. Personally, I do not follow a routine that involves cheat days on a regular basis, let alone, intentionally once in a while. Even though I do attend many vegan food-filled events where I don’t eat the best, I wouldn’t consider those a full-blown cheat day. I’d say that I eat at least 1,000 calories over my maintenance during those events, but otherwise, nothing too drastic.
However, I was really, really curious to see what a cheat day does feel like. People often comment on food challenges saying that those food feats are their regular days of eating. Intriguing, right? I wanted to know what it felt like to consume an entire day’s worth of not-so-healthy food, as well as see what I could maximally eat without feeling sick to my stomach. Hence, I scheduled a cheat day to eat all of my favorite foods that are filled with gluten, salt, oil, sugar, fat, carbs, and deliciousness that I wouldn’t eat often. They were all 100% vegan, of course! In general, I cook with little to no salts, seasonings, and almost no oils. But that cheat day was an exception. If it tasted good, it went in my mouth.
As a disclaimer, I would NEVER, EVER recommend that anybody consume this amount and this type of food daily. It’s not healthy, not reasonable, and most certainly not feasible (at least for me). I would rather spend a week where I consume enough nutrient-dense foods for the entire week with one cheat meal maybe 1-3 times in that whole week, versus restricting myself for 6 days a week and then offing all bets on the last day. To me, that’s yo-yo dieting, which is never a healthy lifestyle. If you do want to schedule a cheat day in your weekly or monthly routine, I suggest talking to a medical or dietetic professional, being smart, and listening to your body wholeheartedly.
Anyhow, going back to my intentions for this cheat day, I wanted to firstly celebrate my last full day in Los Angeles during Memorial Day weekend with a bang, gain some weight that I lost (in an unintentional and unhealthily fashion) the past weeks, enjoy some delicious vegan treats that I brought to the trip, and see how much I can possibly eat! Everything tasted absolutely fabulous, and I am stoked to be sharing these wonderful meals!
MEAL 1: Vegan zucchini chocolate chip loaf (provided by my college’s dining and culinary staff) with a Purely Inspired Organic vegan French vanilla protein spread, mochi, a raspberry double chocolate brownie Fig bar, and Big Kettle cinnamon French toast apples. Tasted like the offspring if you were to cross-breed a brownie, a chocolate chip muffin, zucchini bread, a s’mores bar, and apple pie. Otherwise, AMAZINGNESS.
MEAL 2: a heaping bowl of Kashi GoLean Cinnamon Crisp cereal, a single-serving bag of Organic Pantry Company raisin coconut granola bites, and a cup of Silk vanilla plant protein soymilk. The Kashi cereal tasted amazing, the granola tasted more like plain flax crackers with coconut and raisins than granola, but the soymilk was so creamy and perfect! I still loved it a lot, and the mildness and crunchiness of everything contrasted with the sweetness and fluffiness of the loaf very nicely.
MEAL 3: random plate of broiled tempeh and a whole bag of Gardein mandarin crispy orange “chick’n” in all of the orange sauce provided in the package. Hands down, THIS WAS CRAZY. The chick’n pieces tasted more like chicken nuggets in orange sauce rather than actual pieces of orange chicken, but I still loved them wholeheartedly! Not something I should eat everyday, but yep. Ate the whole bag. No bloody shame. I would definitely try the nuggets with ketchup as well!
MEAL 4: (unpictured) a CLIF chocolate peanut butter-filled bar. Did I eat it before taking a picture because it was so yummy? Maybe… (hey, you can’t blame me! They are so easy to down!)
MEAL 5: Half a bag of Beanfields ranch chips. ADDICTIVE, but I got full pretty quickly from the meals earlier. I also love their barbecue and original flavor!
MEAL 6: “I Am Open” maple miso glazed Brussel sprouts and the “I Am Resolved” soul food plate of red beans and dirty rice, collard greens, barbecue jackfruit, a gluten free cheddar jalapeño biscuit, coleslaw, jerk tempeh, and barbecue sauce at Cafe Gratitude! The Brussel sprouts were demolished easily–my father and sister also tried some and really enjoyed them, and so were most of the Resolved food except for the jalapeño biscuit and the collard greens, which didn’t really taste that special, in my humblest opinion.
MEAL 7 (unpictured): two small bags of Surf Sweets vegan fruity bears and a small bag of vegan jelly beans that tasted like childhood, a granola truffle that tasted super fancy, a vegan fortune cookie that was like…well, any fortune cookie, and candied ginger that tasted DISGUSTING.
MEAL 8: two R bars–one of them being the Prickly Pear Pecan and the other being Peanut Butter and Jelly. Both tasted like condensed Larabars! I really adored both in their own ways; the pecan bar resembled a pear crumble and the peanut butter and jelly bar reminded me of the PB&J Larabar, which is my favorite flavor! Highly recommend them both!
MEAL 9: My mother surprised me with a vegan mango sorbet popsicle stick! I wasn’t expecting this at all and downed it with enthusiasm. It tasted so refreshing and perfect for the warm weather!
MEAL 10: The famous General Tso’s Brussel sprouts from Cruciferous, a new vegan restaurant in Los Angeles that debuted at the Vegan Street Fair! They tasted like General Tso’s chicken at any Chinese restaurant–a meat eater and vegan will adore them alike! The balance of the greens made me feel healthier, so it wasn’t entirely a cheat meal, I guess!
MEAL 11: Three fist-sized scoops of vegan s’mores ice cream, salted caramel ice cream, and sunbutter and jelly ice cream with rainbow sprinkles from Cocobella Creamery. Easily annihilated–no question about it, this place makes my favorite vegan ice cream on the planet! The salted caramel is so silky smooth like a mix of nice cream and real ice cream, the s’mores was so rich, soft, fluffy, and decadent, and the sunbutter and jelly ice cream tasted a lot lighter yet perfectly nutty and sweet. Cocobella Creamery is a MUST if you’re ever in Los Angeles!
MEAL 12: Bento plate of white rice with sesame seeds, broccoli, fried Pokémon tofu with onions, and a cabbage salad at Gokoku Vegetarian Ramen! I used to be SUPER FEARFUL of white rice because I would usually wake up with some sort of skin malady the morning after. I always thought I had some sort of skin intolerance to it until today when I realized it was my own mind manipulating me into believing so! But I woke up the next morning with clear skin and lots of energy, even after eating more white rice in a day than I’ve eaten in the past four years. It tasted a lot softer than brown rice, but I still prefer the graininess and fibrous density of the whole grain brown, wild or black (my favorite kind) rice. But either way, it was such a refresher to revisit an old “forbidden” item on my list and discover that it’s not entirely bad!
MEAL 13: A takeaway lemon blueberry coffee cake from Cafe Gratitude! I forgot what the name of it is, but it was super delicious! I ended up having it was 3-4 spoonfuls of creamy almond butter to cap off the night. PERFECTION on a plate.
Would you ever partake in a cheat day? What would you eat?