It’s time to break down how going vegan for a month went!
Was it hard to give up meat?
No, it really wasn’t but I have never been a huge carnivore anyways. Besides, there are so many great alternatives by which you can get more than enough protein. Lentils, chickpeas and beans have become staples in my house now.
Was it hard to give up dairy?
It was a bit trickier than going without meat but after the first week, I didn’t really notice much until I was out in the city for a day. More to come on that below.
What was the most valuable thing I learned?
Awareness – firstly, it turns out there is an unwarranted amount of emphasis on the body’s need for protein. Check out this article. All of your body’s demands are easily met by incorporating foods such as lentils, beans and quinoa into your diet. I actually gained a pound during this month! The other valuable thing I have taken from this “crash” diet so to speak, is how enriched my diet has become because I was became more conscious of what I was/am consuming. It has opened up a whole new world of cooking and using ingredients I hardly used before. I have always equated milk and butter with deliciousness that cannot be had in their absence. I was wrong. I made the most delicious vegan Black Bean Brownies I have ever had! I have made enchiladas, pancakes, creamy pasta, chickpea burgers, coconut curry and more!
What was the most challenging part of eating vegan?
Being out. I live a ferry ride away from Vancouver and there were a couple occasions in that month when I was over there for the day or longer running errands and what not. Never have I been so inadvertently aware of how our restaurant industry relies heavily on meat and dairy. Even many veggie burgers come with mayonnaise and cheese. Choices become limited to salads which just don’t cut it.
Did I cheat?
One word, bread. I used to make my own with my bread maker until I lost the paddle. I didn’t just want to get whatever naan or flat bread was available since a lot of times, it’s mainly just water and flour. So there was my cheat. To go all out vegan is a learned skill I think. Doesn’t help that I have two often picky eaters. I am happy to get them eat anything besides yogurt and fruit (we decided not to enforce a strictly vegan diet, you parents who have picky eaters can understand this!).
So now the question is….am I vegan?
I haven’t actually bought meat yet. I have had some dairy but each time I have, either my stomach has protested or my skin has broken out in itchy, stinging patches. I plan to continue to avoid it. As for meat, as I said, we haven’t bought any yet but we are not opposed to indulging all together. We came to this conclusion about our “vegan-ness” – we aren’t making a religion out of it where we have to pay penance if we consume anything non-vegan. It’s more about having far less meat and dairy than we used to and considering where it comes from when we do buy it. A big part of this experiment for us was the ethical treatment of animals in the food production industry not to mention the environmental impact. One thing we currently do is only buy our eggs from some happy hens coop down the road. They taste delicious!
I guess you could say we model a vegan diet.
Going vegan for a month was a super educational and all around great experience. I highly recommend it! To learn a bit more on why going vegan is not such an odd idea, click here to read my informative post.