Never in my life have I ever done this before…I’m not necessarily just talking about making a video dedicated to Instagram. My focal point: allowing others and fate decide what I should eat in a day.
If you are aware of what I’ve shared in the past, you may remember that I have and continue to struggle with maintaining a sense of control in almost every aspect of my life. Personally, I believed that every single factor I encounter remains in my control (at least to some degree). Even any reason that may seem completely inexplicable is explicable. As ludicrous as this mentality sounds, I hold it. One day, I felt like challenging this mindset, given how inspired I was by YouTube videos centered around the “Instagram Controls My Day” ordeal. Thus, I conducted a few polls to showcase some food ideas that my Instagram followers selected from. Majority ruled accordingly and my foodie fate was chosen by them!
First meal of the day started off on a sweet note. The first poll I conducted asked whether I should eat vegan sticky buns or vegan beignets for breakfast. Though a close call, vegan beignets victored by a small margin. Nevertheless, it was time to find some of these French-native Louisiana favorites!
Right after getting ready, I drove to Krimsey’s Cajun Kitchen, a completely vegan Cajun restaurant in North Hollywood. They are well-known for their delicious plant-based spins on Cajun dishes such as jambalaya, okra gumbo, poboys, cornbread, and of course, beignets! My order consisted of the classic beignet plate that came with two freshly made fried pillows of dough dusted with powdered sugar.
Despite its simplicity, the French donuts were absolutely phenomenal! The dough basically crisped up upon each bite and melted in my mouth. The flavor wasn’t too overbearing, but perfectly sweetened from the powdered sugar. Two thumbs up, this dish was a home run. Fantastic start, Instagram!
Originally, I planned to enjoy my dessert from the fourth poll either after lunch or dinner, but my mother and sister would be driving to a mini Korean market and to Trader Joe’s, both of which were situated in a private mall very close by the particular place of my dessert. Speaking of which, my fourth poll boiled down to the highlight dessert of the day: sweet potato soft serve or raw vegan cheesecake? In the end, the sweet potato soft serve took the cake for my Instagram followers. No pun intended (yeah right).
Anyways, you read that right. Sweet potato soft serve. Hugo’s Tacos is a small taco stand in Sherman Oaks that sells all types of Mexican dishes as well as unique desserts, including vegan churros and the famous frozato, otherwise known as the popular frozen yogurt-like dessert that the restaurant confirmed was made from Japanese sweet potatoes, soymilk, cashews, vanilla bean, and sugar. How insanely amazing does that sound?
Upon arrival, I selected a cup of the vanilla and chocolate swirled sweet potato soft serve. The sweetness of the flavors along with the complementary factors of each other are wonderful. Texture-wise, the ice cream is quite icy and I found myself chewing through each spoonful. It’s possible that I came on a day where the batch was not as creamy as the typical soft serve, but it’s not too shabby! I would definitely try it again another day to really experience the lusciousness.
And no, I didn’t taste any sweet potato. Whether that’s a good element or not depends on whether you like the taste of sweet potatoes or not!
Now for the main middle-of-the-day meal. The second poll was a battle between two unique protein dishes: protein waffles and a protein milkshake, and protein waffles earned the win! Using a recipe I found on the Fit Vegan Chef blog, I created these beautiful cinnamon maca protein waffles topped with nectarine slices, monkfruit maple syrup, a scoop of my favorite sugar free vanilla ice cream, and dark chocolate protein granola.
While this isn’t the first time I tried this batch out, this was the first waffle-style dish I created, given that I made blueberry pancakes with the base last time. Anyhow, this entire platter of deliciously soft, fluffy, and satiating waffles did not disappoint! Given that I did not add any Stevia to the batter itself, adding Lakanto maple syrup, chocolate granola, and vanilla coconut ice cream on top elevated the sweetness phenomenally. Collectively, this meal was flawless!
Obviously, I had to finish the leftover ice cream and the granola in the bowl. Duh.
Plans did not flow accordingly with dinner. Originally, I intended to order Indian food from Doordash because the cuisine that triumphed in my dinner poll was Indian. However, the rest of my family wanted Vietnamese food and I could not have possibly been an a-hole and stay at home for the sake of a video.
That being said, I joined them and had my go-to: vegan spring rolls that were LOADED with mushrooms, carrots, lettuce, tofu, cilantro, and jicama. Absolute deliciousness!
In addition, I was given two peanut sauce cups and added a side of Sriracha and (confirmed) vegan hoisin sauce into the mix. If anything, this would have probably been a lot lighter and more pleasant than a heavy and creamy curry. Then again, Indian food still sounded nice.
Munchies time! The very last poll I published on my Instagram stories inquired whether I should mix it up with new items for snacks or stick to my tried-and-trues. Taste-tests with new foods swept most of the votes!
Even though I anticipated to miss my vegan peanut butter brownie and snickerdoodle cookie, it was thrilling to visit my favorite grocery stores to find on-sale items that I’ve never eaten before and have always wanted to dig into. Lucky for me, I stole so many A+-grade-looking snacks for this day!
First up, Trader Joe’s Ghost Pepper Potato Chips. Lattice-cut and kettle-cooked potato chips that pack in a seriously spicy punch. Personally, I didn’t find these bad boys deathly spicy, but it’s just because I compare the hotness level to the time where I added a whole tablespoon of ghost pepper chili flakes on top of my noodles in a Food Science lab. Still, the chili hit is definitely present. If you have a very low spice tolerance, avoid this product. On the contrary, anyone who loves hot foods would love to try this out!
Time-travel to the evening and we’ve got a beverage, a movie snack, and a dessert! The products I decided to taste-test for the video were Health-Ade’s Reishi Chocolate kombucha, Lesser Evil’s Himalayan Pink Salt popcorn, and Lenny and Larry’s Choc-O-Mint protein cookie.
Health-Ade’s kombucha was most certainly an eye-catcher. Kombucha that tastes like chocolate? AND contains reishi mushroom powder? Man, who wouldn’t want to get a sneak peek? That being said, sipping it was…underwhelming. The kombucha tasted like there was a 3% chocolate content. The flavor is barely, barely present. It doesn’t taste terrible, though it’s disappointing that the profile doesn’t match the actual product. Personally, I wouldn’t buy this flavor again and would stick to my tried-and-true pomegranate or pink lady apple varieties!
Secondly, the Lenny and Larry’s chocolate mint cookie also seemed like a show-stopper! The combination of mint and chocolate isn’t my favorite–I have to have a strong craving for the two in order to love it. That being said, upon examining the structure of the cookie and its contents, I was impressed with the softness and brownie-like texture, but slightly let down by the lack of mint chips (then again, mint isn’t my favorite, so it didn’t bother me too much on a subjective level). Flavor-wise, this cookie was delicious! Rich, decadent, perfectly minty and chocolatey, and the cookie was light and tender with each bite. You could correctly guess that this cookie did not see the sunrise.
Last but most certainly not least we have popcorn! Specifically, Lesser Evil’s take on salty popcorn. What makes this brand particularly special is that they use Himalayan pink salt and coconut oil for this product. In addition, the ingredients are all organic! Upon tasting two kernels, I noticed that the popcorn isn’t greasy or overbearingly salty at all. If anything, the quality of this product is very pure. My preferences lean towards foods that have a clean finish and don’t leave any grease or residue on the mouth or the fingers. Thus, I absolutely love the purer tendencies of this popcorn! If you watch the video, you’ll probably see the turnouts of this product.
OVERALL + PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
Facing my fears pertaining to a lack of control over my actions and decisions seemed quite daunting at first. However, I realized that it was exhilarating to anticipate what my followers would select. Do most people prefer something easy like protein waffles or a new meal like a protein milkshake? Would my followers rather see me try completely new items or dig into my personal favorites?
In summary, I found that this day benefited my sense of flexibility. Even though this poll was conducted a few days beforehand for the sake of deciding where to go and what to buy prior to the day, I still recognized that it’s totally okay to place your fate in others’ hands once in a while. Heck, I didn’t even follow my plan completely because my family took us out to Vietnamese food for dinner instead of my Indian food blueprint. I definitely suggest taking a day off with food and allowing your intuition select your meals right there and then, or following others’ directions with your food decisions!
Would I do this again? Absolutely! I plan on conducting my next set of polls sometime in October once I settle back into school and surround myself in an entirely new environment!
Would you allow your Instagram followers to decide your food for a day?