What started off as a 2 week vegan “challenge”, has turned into an eating lifestyle I’ve stuck with for a few months now.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not full blown PETA vegan.
I’ve eaten meat all my life, my blog is plastered with recipes of meat and dairy, my hubby is a power lifter and eats a lot of meat as his protein source, plus my fur babies are on the raw food diet, so I haven’t shunned the idea on eating meat out of my life completely.
The decision came after watching the documentary What the Health, which featured a few people dealing with health issues and on meds, and had them try a vegan diet for 2 weeks, in which they noticed results from their ailments – call me a “go getter” but that night, I decided to cut out all meat and dairy from my diet.
The documentary What the Health, actually received a lot of criticism and backlash of the health professionals involved in the documentary, for exaggerating and misrepresenting data to promote a vegan diet (doesn’t really surprise me to be honest).
For one thing, I don’t believe everything I watch period.
So please be smart in doing your research, speak to a health care professional (one who is knowledgeable in nutrition), and make a decision for yourself.
Back to the topic at hand…
So, the main reason for making the decision was my health.
Being on a spiritual journey, and being consciously aware, it only made sense that I am mindful of what I am putting into my body as well.
After sharing my health issue in Manifested Dis-ease, sooo many people had reached out, including some who are on a plant based diet. Looking back at being in a depressive state, the idea didn’t cross my mind since food was comfort, BUT having been (and being) a healthy eater, eating vegan made sense and was easy to adjust to.
Another reason for switching to vegan is semi-PETA.
I do believe we are in an ever growing population, that the food industry is trying to keeping up with, and in order to do so, they pump out meat through factory farming, and processed foods, which is polluting the environment and the earth, through unsustainable practices.
I would like to incorporate meat into my diet again (not sure on when), however the meat would have to be sustainable, such as being local, clean (free from hormones, steroids and antibiotics) and on a grass-fed diet… just to name a few.
Plus, I feel like it aligned with my current eating habits, as I had unintentionally decreased my meat consumption naturally.
I think I overdid eating red meat last summer for the iron deficiency; I lost interest in eating chicken, and barely ate pork. As for dairy, I’m an almond milk drinker, so no milk here, but what took some adjustment was no cheese and butter.
BUT, it was’t hard to switch as some may imagine it to be.
Maybe not so drastically as I did, but I can see it be deterring for those who don’t cook or prep meals, and lack a general basis on the food to eat (and supplementing), for your nutrient intake.
After speaking to a few people who had shown an interest in modifying their eating habits, I wouldn’t suggest jumping into becoming vegan like I did, however I recommend it for a day or 2 a week, just to start.
Being Vegan for a Week
The first week was a bit tough.
I noticed I had crazy food cravings and became cranky… like hangry cranky.
My mood wasn’t pleasant, so I did a lot of chanting, and singing mantras to get me through.
I can see how some may give in and not be able to make it without eating food you’ve been accustom to eating for so long, but 1, I wasn’t going to let food rule me, and 2, I just repeated “I can but I won’t”, instilling change to introduce this new eating habit.
On a positive note, I was on my period and noticed my flow days shorten, BUT I also broke out with pimples on my face, shoulders and back *ugh*
I treated the blemishes with lemon essential oil, which contains antibacterial properties, and by drinking a lot of water! … I just accepted the process as a way of my body detoxifying itself.
Week 1 was also educational, as I found I had to come up with new recipes, and food substitutes to eat, and also introduced me to new foods I wouldn’t have considered eating before.
Look for my list of suggestions at the end of the article!
Being Vegan for a Month
By the time my next period was expected, I was actually a week late, so I knew my body was regulating itself – hallelujah! That week must have been the best period I’ve had in 3 years – no lie!
My flow wasn’t as heavy, and I actually had left over pads *yay*
After being vegan for a month, it seemed to naturally fit in as my eating lifestyle.
Prepping and making meals became less of a chore, as it became easier to put together a meal or snack from what I’ve prepped prior in the week, or by reinventing another recipe with leftovers.
When going out, my hubby would ask if I wanted what he was having (which is very non vegan), where I would give him a look like “really?!”, so it took a while for him to adjust to, and I found I’d remind him (and myself), “it’s not that I can’t, I wont”.
I feel like “I can’t”, creates a restriction, that causes issues for anyone trying to commit to a new eating plan, which sooner or later, they fall off the wagon, and back to a doodoo way of eating.
“I won’t”, is more a decision you are accountable for – I can’t really see myself drooling over a a triple cheese pizza, crying “I won’t!” and eating it anyway.
What Vegans Don’t Eat
Anything that is animal / seafood related, including: meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs, honey – and if they are hardcore, they don’t use animal by-products such as leather, fur, silk, wool, and any soaps or cosmetics that contain animal by-product.
I for one, am not hardcore, or completely anal in the way I eat.
Remember, I plan to eat meat again, so I do consume honey, and I’m sure I have some leather purses laying around.
What Vegans Shouldn’t Eat
There’s an actual term called “dirty vegan”, which are unhealthy vegans that turn to junk food for calories. I can see how easy it is to turn to junk food as a filler, but it’s not the healthiest way to get your food intake in.
There wouldn’t be much point in swapping out animal products that contain protein, vitamins and minerals, for processed foods that have little to no nutrition.
So it’s highly recommended against, if you can’t fully commit to consuming wholesome earth grown nutrients as your food source.
How Vegans Supplement
Because it’s hard to intake all the proper nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed, it’s good to supplement with a good quality multi-vitamin. I take a multi and supplement with B12 and Iron, to avoid anaemia.
Skip your local drug store, and properly invest in your supplements from a health store. Many “cost effective” brands use synthetic or fillers which do not provide the right amount of nutrients.
And if you read the ingredients, you will notice some contain small dosages, which is why you may need to take “3 pills a day” – this is because the rest are binders or fillers, labeled as “Other” or “Inactive Ingredient”
Tips to be a Healthy Vegan
- Switch gradually. Substitute your meat/fish meals 2 days a week, and slowly wean yourself off within 2 weeks tops
- Try to vegan-ize your favorite meals … for instance instead of chicken parmesan, try eggplant
When eating out, avoid anything cooked in chicken stock, butter, or listed as “creamy”
- When eating anything processed, read the food labels, to ensure there are no animal by-products (for example, whey is a milk product, and gelatin, or suet and tallow are derived from meat)
- Be sure you are getting your adequate protein intake in
- Use a calorie counter like My Fitness Pal to keep you on track
- Drink lots of water
- Juice! It’s a great way to get your nutrient intake straight from veggies and fruit.
Here are my food recommendations on eating vegan…
Quinoa (really good protein)
– Navy beans
– Black beans
– Mung beans
– Kidney beans
Eating vegan hasn’t been so bad.
I’ve purchased lentil pasta that has 25g of protein per 100g serving (!!!), and have an excuse to eat more Indian food, which has been my staple and inspiration for sauces.
I’ve come across recipes for meatless burgers, pizza with non-dairy cheese, vegan ice “cream” (that look damn delicious!), mac and non-dairy cheese, and donuts! *yum*
So the road to veganizing my meals looks promising!
Think you can give up meat and dairy? Let me know in the comments below.