We did it! Scott and I successfully “went vegan” for 3 weeks. This challenge was eye-opening in many ways, and I’m so appreciative of the supportive comments and to those of you that made more meat-less food choices these last few weeks in support of it.
Eating a vegan diet is not something I ever thought I would do. I thought people that didn’t eat meat were crazy/trendy/hippies/etc. The entirety of the idea didn’t make sense to me. Come on guys, how can you say no to bacon?
Completing this challenge has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. It has completely revolutionized how I look at food- what’s good for me, not good for me, what this ingredient means and what gives me energy. I’m reading labels instead of blindly throwing things in the cart. I’m passing on foods with ingredient lists miles long. I’m more conscientious of my daily choices.
Since eating vegan, I haven’t been sick once. This is such a testament, it’s hard for me to put into words. I have struggled with intestinal issues for so long that it has become normal for me to be woken at 2am by debilitating stomach cramps- sitting in the bathroom for hours wondering what I did to deserve feeling that sick.
I feel empowered knowing that my previous diet was causing these problems. I have the power to be healthy, eat clean and take back my life. I’m grateful.
This journey has, more than anything, been FUN. We tried new foods, cooked, baked, researched and revolutionized how we grocery shop. It has been such an adventure to focus on the foods we eat, which is something I completely took for granted.
The Sorta Bad:
Some days were easier than others, but overall, eating vegan was surprisingly easy. I thought that I would miss meat a lot at the beginning, but I actually craved dairy more (especially cheese. God, I love cheese). Somewhere around week 2, I went to make a grilled cheese sandwich with what I thought was vegan cheese. Turns out it contained milk, and I lost it a little. I sat on the couch with tears in my eyes, because I wasn’t allowed to have it.
For those of you who know me very well, you know that my obsession with food runs deep. I love eating and when I get something in my mind of what I want to eat, there’s really no turning back. I texted Scott asking if I could please have this cheese and he simply and sweetly suggested an alternative lunch option for me. In trivial moments of weakness, I am so blessed by his support and care.
Long story short, I didn’t eat the cheese. Danielle: 1 Cheese: 0
The Overall Experience:
I can’t saying enough how eye-opening this experience has been for me. I feel like a new individual. I have a much better idea of food in general and am much more open to trying new things. If you’re struggling with your health or weight or are feeling “blah” in general, seriously try this. Go vegan for a month or a week or even a day! I promise you will start to feel better.
Veganism is not about what you can’t have. It opens the door to thousands of new possibilities. It’s not a fad or a diet. It’s an adjustment to one’s way of life. It becomes part of who you are. 3 weeks in, and I feel very connected to my new lifestyle.
This past Saturday was the first day after our challenge. Scott and I went to breakfast, and I was very nervous. At this point, I had not decided what I was going to do post-challenge. Would I continue eating vegan? Try vegetarianism? Go back to meat?
I ordered eggs and chicken sausage. My food came and I ate the eggs, fruit and toast, but I couldn’t bring myself to eat the meat. It’s wasn’t a moral thing or a guilt thing- it was my mind and body expressing, “we don’t want to eat that.”
After a lot of reflection, I have decided the following:
- Vegan during the week
- Vegetarian on weekends/limited options (eggs, cheese, dairy)
Okay, so a little more expansion on the above. I really don’t see a problem with eggs. They’re tasty and a great source of protein. Also, weekend brunch is my favorite meal and basically everything involves eggs.
Real cheese in small quantities (a couple slices of pizza, on a salad or veggie burger, etc). Most of the issues surrounding what to eat while out circled around the cheese/dairy restriction, not the meat restriction.
During the week, if there is no vegan option or we’re invited to dinner, I will be okay with consuming cheese/dairy. I don’t want to make a huge habit of it though.
You may be thinking, “well, this means she’s not a real vegan” and maybe I’m not. You know what though? That’s okay. I’m not doing this for anyone else. I’m doing this for me. You won’t see me picketing outside of meat-making plants or crucifying a friend for eating a burger. Food is personal. If you want to eat meat or fast food or salads or chips or ice cream or kale, that is your decision alone.
We live in a country where we possess the freedom to decide what we do and don’t eat. You can choose to make healthy decisions or you can choose not to. Clearly, there are better choices than McDonald’s, but not everyone is in a position to make a radical change from the convenience of fast food.
This change will not be accompanied by criticism. Scott ate a bacon cheeseburger on Saturday, and it made me excited to talk to him about his choice. Food can lead to so many awesome conversations about how we operate as people in general, but unfortunately, many ruin these conversations by demeaning others’ choices.
I’m very excited to continue my meat-less journey. I promise we’ll resume to other topics here, but I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to share this with you and to feel accountable for my choices. I still have lots of recipes to share too!
If you have any questions or comments about veganism or this experience, please leave me a comment or email me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org). I absolutely love to hear from you.
Miss the beginning of the journey? Check out: