Last month I constructed a little challenge for myself. I’d been flirting with being a vegetarian for a while, cheating more than I want to admit with breakfast burritos, and decided that if I was going to every really get this “I decide what i’m going to eat, not my cravings” thing down I was going to have to do something drastic.
So I went vegan, cold turkey, for 30 days. I know that this may not seem drastic to some of you… but let me offer you all a little glimpse into my life. If you’ve ever seen 30 Rock then you probably know how much Liz Lemon loves cheese. I, in real life, am that cheese loving Liz Lemon. For those of you that don’t know 30 Rock, this means that I find it to be a perfectly acceptable and enjoyable Saturday night to sit on my couch, wearing a snuggie, eating a plateful of cheese and talking to no one.
I also have less self control than a 2 year old, on all things in life. If there’s ice cream in the fridge, I’m going to eat it. If I just got paid, I’m going shopping. If there’s a bottle of liquor, we’re doing shots.
So with these two very self-destructive and unhealthy notes about myself in mind, I jumped in head first to being vegan, as it seemed like eating a very restricted diet would be a good flex of muscle in my life. No meat, no dairy, no exceptions. The only thing I didn’t count out was yeast, because I live in Denver, and if I don’t have at least 1 craft beer a week I lose my residency.
I did falter once or twice, two girl’s nights in bars with crackers and once when I bought a noodle lunch and forgot that Pad Thai has fish sauce in it, which is made anchovy paste, but I feel like all-in-all I was a pretty successful vegan.
Being vegan was tough, but I loved it. It made me feel a lot healthier and resulted in some pretty quick weight loss. Being vegan was also annoying, especially for someone who really tries not to be picky (and refuses to ask “is this vegan” in restaurants). I found that even in a town like Denver, which is specifically geared towards hipster yuppie kids, it was pretty hard to find food to eat in a lot of restaurants. I can only imagine how hard this could be in other cities. There was a lot of cooking at home in June.
In the end I couldn’t wait until 7/1 to eat a beloved breakfast burrito and then go out for Pho, but even after just 30 days off of meat I can feel that the food that I ate yesterday is weighing me down today. And just the idea of dairy makes me want to puke a little bit. I made waffles yesterday and had to touch an egg white and gagged. So… I’m going to take a little break from vegan for my 4th of July trip this week and then probably go right back to it.
If you’ve every thought about trying out being vegan for awhile, I would totally recommend it. I didn’t really look around too much online for sample meal plans, ect, but I did find Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet, to be a good way to get myself over eating meat and (especially) dairy. She’s got some great recipes in her book, but I mostly just stuck with “easy” or “basic” foods that I could throw together.
A couple of things to note:
– Something a friend let me in on early in my month is that when you are eating vegan you need to remind yourself to eat larger portions of veggies/fruits/ect, because it’s easy to think of something like a salad as a “snack” or “side”, and prepare that size portion, and then you are starving later and considering a cheeseburger.
-I also found that everything was a lot easier if I ate at home before going out with friends, even if I was going to an event like a BBQ. Like I said before there aren’t really that many vegan options at most restaurants, and I found that I was much nicer to be around if I wasn’t stuck with only french fries as an option for a meal. I also am not one to make a big deal about being served based on my dietary restrictions, so I didn’t ask people to put anything special into their party/bbq plans for just me.
– Know that the first 5 days of being vegan are the absolute hardest. As I said before, I’m a cheese-aholic, and by day 7 or so I didn’t miss it anymore (but those first 6 days were horrible). If you do go vegan, do it for a real amount of time, not a weekend or just one week. This is really just torturing yourself.
This post is a stand in for CSA Weekly Meal Plan, which will continue as normal next week. Thanks for tuning in! Image credit linked in image.