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« Vegan Brownies | Main | Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa »
Saturday
Jun232012

Thoughts on Going Vegan: Week 3

garden flowers

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 4 | Meal Ideas & Afterthoughts

I've successfully completed the third week in my month long vegan challenge. The hills and valleys of the second week have been ironed out and the third week was nothing but smooth sailing. Vegan eating feels almost natural to me now. I have a few mainstay recipes in rotation, which keeps meal time interesting and varied. Here are a few personal observations about my third week*:

  • I started eating Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa in the morning every day this week and my protein deficiency headaches have completely disappeared (thank goodness). Starting off the day with a protein rich meal seems to be the trick to keeping my body in good health.

  • I've also noticed when I reach for snacks, I end up munching on sunflower seeds or spoonfuls of peanut butter (both relatively protein rich). My body still craves protein in large amounts, but eating these small snacks staves off hunger and keeps my body in check.

  • Grocery shopping has become a breeze. I can walk in and out of the store in about ten minutes and get a week's worth of groceries at the same time. This is definitely a perk. I'm amazed at how much of the grocery store I can simply ignore.

  • Vegan eating has become quite natural for me. When I'm making food for myself at home, I no longer wonder what vegan food I should eat, but rather what food I should eat. It's a small distinction, perhaps completely unnoticeable to most people, but it's a huge step for me. It no longer feels like I'm forcing myself to eat a particular diet. I'm just eating.

  • Today I tried northern white beans boiled in salt water (one of my very first bean adventures). The beans tasted exactly like bacon and I proceeded to eat half a cup straight from the pot. My mother says it's my imagination, blaming "vegan brain" for the perceived taste, but I swear I'm not making this flavor up. Maybe I do have a case of vegan brain, but I'd gladly eat these beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

  • This weekend will be my first real challenge since I've gone vegan. I'm visiting home for a few days, where my non-vegan family will be making many of my favorite cheesy and meat filled dishes, and I will have to use up my willpower not to sneak a taste. My mother is trying to be accommodating, researching vegan alternatives and picking up a few vegan staples (which I greatly appreciate), but this is the first time I will be constantly surrounded by food I simply cannot eat, both in the pantry and on the kitchen table. I'm curious to see how this will play out.

  • Should I let you in a little secret? I'm afraid for this challenge to end and I'm nervous about going back to regular food. I honestly don't know where this fear is coming from (I'm not morally opposed to eating meat), but it lingers in the back of my mind and I wonder if I'll continue to eat vegan on July 1st or go out for a dairy and egg filled Sunday brunch to celebrate successfully completing the challenge (no meat just yet—I don't want to shock my system and get sick).

After the third week, I feel pretty comfortable with eating vegan. I've figured out most of the "tricks" and I'm becoming more in tune to my body and what my cravings may mean. Eating vegan this week was surprisingly easy and didn't take too much work or thought on my part. Here's to the fourth and final week of the challenge!

*I mean no offense to those who have gone vegan for moral beliefs and obligations (in fact, you have my utmost respect). This is just a record of my personal experience with the lifestyle.

Reader Comments (14)

hi kristin! i just want to say thanks for your amazin blog! yes this coment have nothing to do with your post today haha but i have discovered your blog in taste spotting the other day and i d' been literally hours reading it! i cant' believe that you are my age and have managed the time to created all this beautiful writing-photograhy in between your owns changes of work and carree,you have SO amazing recipes i'm looking forward to the first time off for making some but i cant choose one haha !. a lot of wishes from Argentina, and congrats again for your inspiring-beautiful blog. (sorry for my languaje mistakes )
06.23.2012 | Unregistered Commentermaia
You're almost there! Whoop :D The more I read about your expiriences, the more I want to try this. That only thing stopping me is that I honest to God don't like fruits or vegetables. I just gag whenever I taste one (for bananas it's smell). I'm ok with some vegetables (potatoes being my number one pick), but I'm usually not happy when they're put infront of me.

Good luck at you're parent's house. I'm sure everything will work out great. And it sure is nice of your mom to accomidate for the challenge :)
One day, I just stopped eating meat, mainly because I can very rarely afford the type of meat I would allow myself to eat --locally, sustainably and organically raised. So, I just stopped. I eat very little fish for the same reason, and focus my protein intake mainly on legumes, nuts, seeds, quinoa, eggs and dairy. I would never give up the last two for a vegan diet as I really don't see the point --I feel very healthy the way I eat --but after giving up meat almost completely, I feel I never crave it, and I never find myself wanting to order it when at a restaurant. I became vegetarian without really choosing to and now it is hard to go back, as I feel good this way. All of this to say that I understand your fear. You might find that a compromise like you mentioned --eating dairy and eggs--might be the best option at the very beginning. You'll see immediately how your body will react and adjust consequently. Thanks for sharing this experience.
06.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterValeria
I admire you for being able to go vegan! I was vegetarian for a year but meat slowly crept back into my diet. I think if you are apprehensive about going back to eating meat - then don't! Only eat meat when you crave it or for special occasions. The planet and your health is so much better when we don't eat so much meat anyway :)

PS Love your blog.
06.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterShannon
I wonder if you changed the wording " I will be constantly surrounded by food I simply cannot eat" to, " I will be constantly surrounded by food I've promised myself not to eat, until July 1", if it might make you feel more at ease? "Simply cannot eat" sounds so final, as in receiving a lifetime sentence, or learning from your doctor, you'll never be able to eat the foods you love, ever again.

Kudos to you for lasting this long on your vegan diet though, I know I could never do it! If it was Vegetarian, I could do that for a month without feeling deprived, as I cook a vegetarian meal once a week, sometimes twice, as it is.. I'm not a huge meat lover, especially red meat, but I do love my dairy, with yougurt, cottage cheese, & the lovely array of imported cheeses at Les amis du Fromage, downtown, so me giving up dairy?? Nah, it would never happen.

Here's a link that might be of help if you're looking for a vegan friendly beer, wine, or liquor, to take to your family gathering. You'll find an extensive list of what is, or what is not, vegan friendly to drink, inside.

http://www.barnivore.com/#

Best of luck on your final week!!
06.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJay
You should try and include different types of lentils ( in salads, soups, curries) as a very viable alternative for your protein intake. We, Indians use lentils in our daily cooking and without which our meal is considered incomplete. I wish you much luck in this vegan-endeavour of yours. You are doing so well.
06.24.2012 | Unregistered Commenteranita
Wow! You've progressed so fast! It's really impressive. I've been a vegetarian for years but I'd gladly take any extra tips you have to offer.
06.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterElli
This is awesome! I guess two weeks is all you need to get used to the lifestyle. These posts have really helped know that I'll be ok when I try to be vegan for a month...although you may be getting tweets asking a few questions! haha
Greetings from another Kristen who tried a vegan month! ;-) Last July I did the same thing- "tried out" a vegan diet for one full month. I had the same feelings about wondering how I'd feel after it was over.... and, well.... in my case I ended up fully committing to it a few months later and I've been happily vegan since! I think it's about focusing on all the wonderful things vegans can and DO eat, rather than focusing on what vegans don't eat. That, and arming yourself with lots of yummy dishes and treats to bring to parties to show people how good vegan cooking can be! Even if you don't "stay vegan", I'm sure you've learned tons of new recipes and have changed that perception of vegan being limited - or at least that's what I found after one month!
06.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristen
Eating an egg and dairy filled sunday brunch will probably shock your system too, so if you're going back to meat, I recommend you do it more gradually, maybe a piece of cheese or an egg here and there, but take it easy...
Also you could make the most of this challenge by watching a few documentaries and reading about the meat, egg and dairy industry so you can inform yourself more profoundly about the subject.
06.26.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie
I'm a vegetarian and have tried to go vegan a few times without much success. I really admire you for sticking with it as long as you have!
I'm so curious to know what inspired you to try going vegan? I'm personally a proponent of eating animals products if you can get them from a place where the animals have been humanely, sustainably raised, in such a way that their presence actually contributes to the whole farm's ecosystem health. Have you heard of Weston A. Price? He has a lot to say about how meat, dairy, and eggs contribute to our health, especially our teeth! So for me, I feel pretty strongly that animal products can be fundamental to good health, and I always hesitate in conversations with vegans and vegetarians, since we're approaching food and health from such different perspectives, though with well-considered motives all around. I don't at all mean to sound judgmental, but am rather wondering what was behind this experiment, and if you have any leanings to keep it going, and if so, what are they? Cheers!
06.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterErica
As a nutritionist, I wouldn't suggest a vegan diet as a long term option. You just can't get all the nutrients you need, or in sufficient amounts. It's getting easier I suppose with fortified products but I still see a huge problem with long chain omega 3's which really only come from fish oils - walnuts and linseeds can give you omega 3, but they are not long chain. Your body can do this process but only at a rate of about 1-3%, not ideal!

Would love to see free range eggs and pork products on your recipes though :D
06.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
Laura, given you are a nutritionist, I'm surprised you're brick-walling veganism as a lifestyle. There are plenty of happy, healthy vegans out there. Perhaps you need to do some research and so what they're eating before you conclude that it's just not possible to eat this way for life.
07.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJodie

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