Life Without Meat Diary – Week 1: The Reluctant Vegan

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Online butcher Emma Pike gave up meat and dairy cold turkey (!) after a friend challenged her. Below is her hilarious, honest and heart-warming diary. 

Ever thought about how vegetarians and vegans live without meat? I hadn’t really considered it much until my friend challenged me to find out for myself by doing a 21-day contest. As a meat seller (I run an online ethical butcher shop here in Hong Kong), I love my meat. So this was going to be interesting. During the first 14 days I had to be totally vegan, followed by another seven days of being vegetarian. Here’s how it went down.  

Day 1: What Have I Done?

Ok, I’m overweight, addicted to Coke Zero (don’t judge) and I don’t eat enough vegetables. What better thing to do than to take on a challenge from a friend to eat (juice?) a plant based diet for 21 days and remove soda from my diet?  So last night, I watched a few videos and bought a few books last night and I’ve started today! Wish me luck! Oh and is beer plant-based? It’s made from barley and wheat right? #Lifechangingchallenges…

Wow, what a day! You say you’re going to do something like this and to have so much support is just mind blowing. Special thanks to my green friends Green Queen’s Sonalie for all the links and info today, Nuzest Hong Kong‘s Melissa for offering to sponsor me with Nuzest plant protein, Project Wellness‘ Ifat for offering to come over to my house to show me how to cook some healthy stuff and Eat Move Glow‘s Lisa for sending me meal plans and for reassuring me that eating more greens does not mean I need to juice everything. Thank heavens! Thank you to everyone, definitely makes me feel committed!

Day 2: I’m Juicing Now?

All I can say is I made it past day 1! I was hungry going to bed but alright this morning. Could have easily slipped and had a sip of Coke Zero last night but luckily Pat (my helper) has taken them all away. Had a juice this morning with my wiz bang juicer that my friends Mark and Winnie gave me last year (and hasn’t been used since). Which reminds me: I want to thank Magic Season Organics‘s Alvin Kwong for sorting me out with fresh organic vegetable and fruit deliveries during my challenge. I don’t need to look like an idiot in the supermarket looking for kale…it will just come to me! Another fun fact: who knew carrots came in so many colors? Ready for what the day will bring.

OMG My friend Amy just told me about Barnivore, a website where you can check if the alcohol you are drinking is ‘vegan-friendly!’ Who knew? Turns out gin is very much so. As are some beers like Asahi! Obviously I wont be drinking much during the challenge but it does help with Australia Day being tomorrow. A girl has to celebrate her heritage, #amirite?

I just got my Nuzest delivery today and Melissa told Charlie (my son) that if you mix 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder with a satchel of Good Green stuff with a bit of ice and water it tastes like frosting! True to form, Charlie and I had to check that out right away! The results? Not bad actually. Charlie even went back for a second sip. Not exactly the Sarah Lee frosting we consume on the regular but definitely a nice sweet treat before bed.

my support crew Charlie and Molly

Day 3: Australia Day

I am sooo tired today. Not sure why, but I’m waking up heaps at night and struggling during the day. I have a breakfast meeting so having a Nuzest smoothie this morning and will try and for a walk later today. On the positive side I’ve lost 1.3 kg! I know, I know, I shouldn’t weigh myself daily and wait for my week’s results. But still. It’s a great motivator to keep me on track especially today, Happy Australia Day everyone ??!

I won’t tell you who won at squash this morning but….I DID! Townie, my opponent (and friend), wasn’t allowed to drop shot too but still. This also means I won our bet Townie! Free juice and free Bootcamp lessons for all my friends!

Today was my first meal at a vegan restaurant. I went with my friend Jenny to MANA! Fast Slow Food. I felt strange walking in the door…like I was 100 years old and everyone else was a funky 20-something looking all cool. I ordered a number of different things on the menu for dinner and everything was surprisingly very good. It didn’t feel likeI was eating only vegetables at all- the burger was awesome! #Killingit.

Day 4: Coke Zero Is My Nemesis

I could do with a burger from Mana right about now but instead I have some brown rice, eggplant and tofu as a filler meal before I hit the tennis court and will do my greens tonight. I did find a Coke in one of the fridge drawers this morning and I was so tempted just to have one sip but I didn’t. I poured it down the sink. #Progress?

Day 5: Tofu Cooking

I am feeling a bit better today. I had a good sleep and I am ready to kick off the Year Of The Rooster. Charlie has decided to join me and have a juice today but Molly’s still not a fan. Everything is closed today so I am off for a bike ride with the kids and taking Carrots (our dog) for a big walk. #KungHeiFatChoi indeed.

My little vegetarian Molly is eating her veggies, whilst Charlie is in the kitchen making himself a bacon sandwich. It is so hard to stop from just having one bite. Lucky for me, both the kids are on my case to complete the challenge and won’t let me get weak.

Today is my first attempt at cooking tofu as chef Pat is away. It feels a little like working with play dough so maybe I didn’t choose the best brand. End result was a bit of a failure but edible. It needed more garlic and a better tofu. Need some serious #tofurecommendations.

my lovely family support all having ham and cheese croissants and me a glass of water

Day 6: Life Without Bacon

To be honest I didn’t think I’d last this long. I was so close to taking a bite of Charlie’s bacon sandwich yesterday thinking ‘nobody will know’, but I didn’t. Trying to distract myself by keeping busy today with the kids.

Day 7: Struggling

I am fully struggling. Vegetarian people lie when they say you’ll be jumping off the walls after a few days without eating meat or dairy. I couldn’t even do a green juice this morning as I was starving so I went for toast instead and then realized I couldn’t have butter. Bummer. Topped my bread with avocado and onion, which was somewhat tasty. I am off to squash this morning and have a lunch at the HK Cricket Club. Then it’s back home to clean out the kids’ rooms this afternoon. I’m dying for some meat and cheese right about now…

Follow Emma’s Life Without Meat Diary – Week 2: My Fridge Has Never Had So Many Vegetables

About Emma Pike

Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Emma Pike is a ex-IT industry professional and squash coach who moved to Hong Kong twelve years ago and now runs Farmers Market, an online ethical meat and sustainable seafood store. Emma is mum to Charlie and Molly, and wife to Steve. The whole family are avid sports players and all of them play on various local school and club teams. Emma is also a dedicated member of the Hong Kong expat community, organizing events and supporting many local charities and small businesses whenever she can. This is her first plant-based challenge.

All images courtesy of Emma Pike.


  • Sonalie Figueiras

    Serial social entrepreneur Sonalie Figueiras is the founder & editor-in-chief of Green Queen, an award-winning impact media platform advocating for social & environmental change in Hong Kong with a mission to shift consumer behaviour through inspiring & empowering original content. She is also the founder & CEO of SourceGreenPackaging,com, the global wholesale eCom marketplace for sustainable packaging products, Ekowarehouse, the global sourcing platform for certified organic products, with a mission to make safe, quality food accessible & affordable for the whole planet. With over a decade of experience in publishing, digital marketing, organic trade and health & sustainability, she is an eco wellness industry veteran with a keen eye for market trends and a sought-after international speaker and moderator, sharing her expertise on stages across Asia and beyond, including TEDx and Harvard Business School.

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