I am into my second week of my my Vegan Month and there have been some lessons learned:
1. Plan ahead.
If you don’t plan ahead you can find yourself without many options. Keeping Larabars or an apple in your purse or backpack will stave off hunger, but it’s good to have a better plan in place. There are so many resources out there these days for the intrepid vegan, that with even a small amount of planning you can eat healthily and happily.
(It’s also OK to just be hungry for a few hours.)
2. Cheating Permitted (Uh, no)
People will casually suggest you cheat, a lot. No matter how supportive they appear, nobody else seemed particularly committed to my experiment unless they were vegans themselves.
Are they just testing me? Or, are they easing their own guilty conscience by asking me to rejoin them versus joining me?
I have no idea, and I have no judgments by the way, but it drives home the fact: you have to be committed to resist.
3. Everything is better than it used to be.
There are a ton of really good options out there compared to the first time I had tofu (spoiler: it was awful) in a natural foods restaurant in Carrboro, NC circa 1985. Some of my favorites are too expensive to be anything but an occasional treat –I’m looking at you Justin’s dark chocolate and almond butter cups–while others are perfectly reasonable options.
4.Veggies are good
I eat a lot of veggies anyway, but I have had to change how I prepare them and doctor them. In particular salads changed–no cheese, no eggs, no croutons, check the ingredients on dressings, etc– and vegetable dishes had to be altered a bit.
Veggies are still good. Turns out I didn’t need the cheese and eggs to make the meal.
I’ll say this, olive oil and salt is an excellent, inexpensive and healthy dressing option. I doubt I will ever buy salad dressing again.
Gutbliss weighs in with suggestions of how to get B12 and Iron on a plant based diet for those concerned.
5. Cashews Make a Meal
Cashew butter is delicious. I thought I would forego butter, but I was wrong. Kudos to Miyokos. Pair it with low calorie vegan crackers and it’s a hit. Easy to eat way too much of this at one sitting so beware of that.
Next, we’re going to try the cashew cheese. And, it turns out you can make cole slaw with cashews.
Somebody casually mentioned cashews are good for your mood. Could this be true? Snopes says no.
I got more adventurous as a result of adopting a vegan diet. Or maybe just more self sufficient. I learned to make oat milk lattes on my stove. It is so easy I have no idea why I waited to try this. All you need is your own Moka Express which can be bought for as little as $13 and a milk frother, which was pricier. Also, purchase espresso beans–I ground them at the store to be sure I got it fine enough.
Over time though–like two weeks, these will have paid for themselves. Or, you can go much fancier.
In addition, I am trying foods I would not have tried in the past.
Watch out for excess sugar. It’s too easy when denying myself so much to then allow myself too much. Also, I thought agave was fake sugar but it’s just more natural sugar which is still..sugar.
I feel like I have more energy. Is it a placebo? I don’t know, but I’m running, lifting and generally moving more. This could also be due to living in my own home and not traveling for work the past two weeks. Being grounded affords me the space to do this experiment.
First week of December though the car hits the road again. Until then focusing on the planet and getting the personal side benefit of healthy eating and healthy living.
Anyway, that’s one week of my vegan month and the lessons learned. I’m enjoying it and watching for the first big test to pop up.