Doing 12WBT As a Vegan – Melissa’s Story (And a Free Recipe!)

Nutrition // Melissa Humphries

My 12WBT story

I’m a PhD student, which means my days normally go like this: Get up, get in the car and drive to uni. Sit at my desk at uni all day, get in the car and drive home. Make dinner. Eat dinner. Sit and do more work or watch TV to “unwind”. Go to bed. Repeat.

This was my life before signing up to 12WBT in February 2015. Before I started 12WBT I weighed almost 130kgs. I would try and exercise, don’t get me wrong! In fact, when I signed up I believe I couldn’t lose weight – I had tried so many things!

So, I joined 12WBT to get fit. I figured just because I was overweight didn’t mean I had to be unfit too, right?! would get moving and if I lost some weight along the way, great, but fitness was my goal.

Well, imagine my surprise when I looked at the menu plan and saw Peanut. Butter. Smoothies. There was bread! Pasta! Even bagels! I thought, how am I not going to put on weight eating like this?! But I gave it a try, I stuck with it and did what the plan said. And the weight just started falling off. No deprivation. Nothing out of bounds. No good and bad. Just health. YES!!! My favourite hash tag on Instagram is #WhoGetsToEatLikeThis. No one else seems to use it, but I swear I think it almost every meal.

I now weigh less than 90kgs (I haven’t been this small since I was 16!) and I have gone from barely being able to run for a minute to running 16kms non-stop. I have signed up for my first half marathon. That’s my next goal. Run a half marathon. Me. Mel! I’m going to do it too.

Me, Veganism and 12WBT

I went vegan in November 2014, before I started 12WBT. I am a fully qualified chef and I was big meat eater… And if they teach you anything in chef school it’s that “fat is flavour”!! And very few of those “fats” are vegan. Some good friends of ours were vegan and my husband and I decided to give it a go for a week. We have never looked back. There are so many vegan alternatives out there now that making the swap to a plant based diet was a lot easier than I ever imagined! The food is delicious and vibrant and I love the way it makes me feel in my body and my heart, so I’m happy to keep going!

The 12WBT meal plans offer a vegetarian option. It’s not technically a vegan option, but so many of the recipes are vegan anyway that you really don’t have to put in much effort. The customisable meal plans mean you can swap all the recipes for vegan ones or you can make simple substitutions to make the other recipes vegan. The Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie is vegan if you swap the milk for soy or almond milk, for example. Easy. Swapping chicken for some pan fried tofu or for some of the fake meats you can get these days makes for some pretty stellar meals and it means I still get to have stroganoff and chipotle tacos and bolognese! Yay! Who gets to eat like this?! (See, it’s totally worth a hash tag).

12WBT Recipes Made Vegan

Some of the recipes I have made vegan after substitution are:

⋅ Chicken Tikka Curry with Cauliflower mash (sub half tofu and half sweet potato for the chicken and sub in vegetable stock)
⋅ Chicken Enchiladas (tofu or vegetarian ‘chicken’ strips for the chicken, coconut yoghurt)
⋅ Roasted Beetroot and Zucchini Salad with haloumi (grilled, seasoned tofu for the haloumi)
⋅ Vegetable Donburi (toasted almonds for the egg)
⋅ Beef Stroganoff with pasta and beans (vegetarian ‘chicken’ strips)
⋅ Dukkah crusted pork with roasted vegetable salad (Grilled tofu or a vegetarian ‘chicken’ schnitzel)
⋅ Penang Chicken (tofu and soy sauce)

12WBT Free Recipe: Red Curry of Pumpkin & Green Beans


600g Pumpkin, cut into 2cm cubes
1g Olive Oil Spray
40g Brown Rice
1 Tablespoons Red Curry Paste (20g)
1 X 400g cans Reduced Fat Coconut Cream (400g)
200g Green Beans, cut into 3cm pieces
200g Broccoli, cut into florets
2 Kaffir Lime Leaves (1g), thinly shredded
1 Tablespoons Brown Sugar (20g)
1 Tablespoons Reduced Salt Soy Sauce (20g)
1 Tablespoons Lime Juice (20g)
1/2 Cup Basil Leaves (20g)


1. Preheat oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Arrange pumpkin onto tray and spray lightly with oil. Roast for 20 minutes, until just tender.

2. Meanwhile, cook rice in a saucepan of boiling water for 25 minutes or until tender. Drain well.
3. Place a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add curry paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic (be careful as paste may spit). Add coconut cream and stir until well combined.
4. Add pumpkin, beans, broccoli and kaffir lime leaves to pan. Reduce heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in sugar, soy sauce and juice.
5. Divide between bowls, top with basil leaves and serve with rice.

Mish Tip

  • If you can’t get kaffir lime leaves, add a teaspoon of finely grated lime rind with the lime juice.


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