I know there are a lot of misconceptions out there about the vegan diet. Like how it is depriving, too restrictive, or that I’ve had to “give up so much stuff.” I don’t see it that way at all. But I will admit, I have shared those opinions before I knew what I know now.
- I’ve actually added more foods into my diet than I have given up.
- I eat more of a variety now than I used to and I definitely get more use of my kitchen appliances.
- I’ve cooked more recipes than I ever have before.
- Did I mention I feel the best I EVER HAVE?! I have more energy (no longer fall asleep on the couch at 8), my workouts are better, my mood has improved, I sleep better, feel more peaceful, and have nearly perfection digestion.
I became a vegan for my health (first) and it has definitely done it’s part.
I know this is not true for everyone. I could see where a really picky eater, someone with food allergies, or other challenges would have a hard time with a vegan diet. For some people, they just like a food too much to give it up and I understand. But it is still possible if you feel led to do so. You just have to put in a little work — experiment with different foods and cooking methods, talk to lots of people in the vegan community (I can recommend a few), and even mess up from time to time. But the rewards, for me, are so worth it.
I have gotten a lot of questions about my vegan diet over the past 2 1/2 months, from family, friends and strangers. One of my favorite ones right now is:
“But don’t you miss (cheese/yogurt/eggs/etc)?”
The short answer is no. Since cutting out dairy, I have had almost no stomach issues (occasionally, I overdo fiber, ha ha). People rarely ask me if I miss meat (since I wasn’t a big meat eater to begin with, I guess). So let’s just address everything else:
Cheese – I always had a love/hate relationship with cheese because while I felt that it met my protein and calcium needs, it almost always led to an upset stomach, especially when consumed in large quantities (i.e. on pizza). I don’t think I knew that is what it was at the time, I even blamed it on veggies, fruit and beans for a while. I eat a lot of those things now and it doesn’t happen. Hmm…
I did go through a few phases where I thought I might be lactose intolerant in the past so I guess in the back of my mind, I did know what was causing it. I do not try to “replace” cheese in my diet with a vegan-friendly option either. I just don’t want it, period.
Yogurt – Before transitioning to a vegan diet, I had yogurt just about every day. My favorite was Greek because of its thickness, high protein content and low sugar (if you stuck to plain). I thought I would miss yogurt a lot and I even tried a few non-dairy yogurts for a while but they are just too sweet and contain too much sugar for my tastes. Occasionally, I do miss Greek yogurt, but not the way it made me fart feel.
Eggs – These by far have been the easiest thing to live without. For me, they were always forgettable anyway. I used to incorporate egg-based dishes into my weekly breakfasts (and sometimes dinners) but almost always found that despite their “gold standard” protein content, they did not fill me up as well as a nice bowl of oats. When I ordered them at restaurants they made me sick (too much butter or oil). So why bother?
However, eggs have been the hardest thing to get around in so many products (seriously, egg whites are in everything). But it’s getting easier over time. But, there are so many egg alternatives out there that I don’t worry about not using them in baking.
Butter was not a problem for me because I never really used it much anyway and I have discovered Smart Balance Light which is much healthier and vegan too. There are also other brands out there like Earth Balance, so there is no need to worry about not having butter.
I’m not going to do in depth with honey, since no one has ever asked me if I miss that (ha ha). But I don’t use it at home and I try to avoid it in products as best I can but sometimes I just don’t worry about it. That’s more of an ethics issue anyway (I’m becoming more sensitive in this area but still have a lot of learning to do).
So, that’s my story!
Vegans: what was the hardest thing for you to eliminate from your diet? What do people ask you about it?
Non-vegans: If you’ve ever thought about trying a vegan diet, what has held you back?
So my camera batteries died yesterday morning, boo. I have literally no pictures to share with you right now but I did want to tell you what I’ve been up to the past couple of days.
Yesterday, I went back to work feeling much better from the cold I caught over the weekend. Thank goodness for healthy eating, rest and vitamin C. I swear, it works wonders.
I also ate a piece of cake! A co-worker of mine celebrated 30+ years of service, so there was a small celebration. Wait, I did take that pic with my cell! I tried to take more throughout the day but they were all crappy and blurry so this is the only one.
The cake was huge and it had a section of the book “Ethan Frome” written out on it. Someone spent a lot of time on that!
I know this cake had to contain eggs and dairy so it was sort of a sayonara to such things as October 1st is tomorrow. It also held me over so well (I ate it after lunch) that I was not hungry again until dinner time 🙂
I also took a nice hour plus long walk with a friend last night, first real exercise I’d had in a while. It felt so good. I’m off work today (had a dr. appt earlier) and think I’m going to check out some of the Exercise TV programs I saw the other day.
I’m really feeling yoga today so it will likely be something like that.
I’m also currently baking some Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate brownies that I’m taking to girl’s night tonight. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, or if you are just looking for some really great animal-free recipes, Happy Herbivore is a must!
If they taste half as good as they smell and look, we are all in for a treat later.
Tomorrow is the big day, the moment of truth. I’ve definitely been able to eliminate meat from my diet with absolutely no problems. But dairy has been showing up in interesting places and I’m also concerned with inconveniencing my family and friends a bit.
But this is a change I really want to make, for my health, because I don’t want to put anything in my body that I’m not completely confident in.
And I know eventually the inconveniences will fade and it will become my way of living, second nature. Here we go…
Hope you are having a good day too!
p.s. Today I also tried the new Starbucks VIA instant coffee. I got a sample a week or so ago when I stopped there with Mom. I have to say, it was quite tasty and I liked just being able to add hot water to it instead of loading up my coffee maker. Definitely convenient. I may have to look into it, at least for the weekends 😉
There are times when I come home from a long day at work and the last thing I want to do is think hard about what to make for dinner. I seem to be having a lot of those days here recently and I have found what works the best and stays within my dietary goals is to have breakfast for dinner. Plus, it’s fun 🙂
Scrambled eggs + red and green peppers and hot sauce and two slices of whole wheat toast with butter (protein, carbs and veggies still covered).
Other things I had that didn’t make it onto my camera were:
- Broccoli and cheese omelet (2 eggs, 1/2 cup of broccoli, 1 slice 2% cheese) with ketchup and a side of plain grits
- Cauliflower and cheese omelet (same way as above only with cauliflower) and a slice of whole wheat toast
This wasn’t really breakfast but it was definitely an interesting concoction…
Pearled barley (cooked) mixed with 1/2 cup chunky vegetable pasta sauce, 2/3 cup Morningstar veggie crumbles, 1/4 cup chopped green pepper and topped with a sprinkle of parm cheese.
This meal was quick, delicious and kept me full for hours. I love it when a random meal works out that way, don’t you?
What are some of the weirdest things you’ve eaten for dinner? Please share 😉
This morning I knew I wanted eggs but not just my normal scrambled, I wanted to try something new, at home. I’ve had fried eggs before at a restaurant but even that seems like ages ago now.
I put a little bit of canola oil in the pan and cracked my two eggs open and put them in the skillet.
I let them cook until most of the whites had settled and then sprinkled some water on them and covered it until the yolks were firm.
Served with PB&J toast and a half glass of OJ!
I’m off to Six Flags with my family today and I’m hoping to be able to sneak some food in my bag because I hate the choices at amusement parks. The exception of course being the Ben & Jerry’s, he he.
Have a great Monday!
Somewhere along the way on my drive home, I got to thinking about dinner. I stopped at Fresh Market to get some yogurt because I haven’t had any in forever (like a week!) and I wanted to have some tomorrow most definitely, no exceptions!
I got to explain to a lady shopping there the benefits of Greek yogurt (she saw me pick it up and asked me about it) which made my day. She left with a container of strawberry and blueberry Chobani 😉 I left with plain and vanilla Chobani, plus a new Stonyfield that I can’t wait to try later.
Anyway, while I was there I saw orange juice, which made me think of breakfast, which made me think of eggs and I decided eggs, toast and orange juice would be great for dinner tonight!
My inner critic, voice, what have you, kept telling me no, I need to have a sweet potato with some beans and maybe another vegetable, but why? I’ve had plenty of veggies today, from my green smoothie this morning to my falafel burger, veggies and hummus at lunch. So I finally shut her up and went for it!
I topped my eggs (two, scrambled) with some shredded Mexican cheese and organic ketchup (which is the way to go to avoid HFCS) and my toast with some butter and grape fruit spread (whole fruit, not jelly). I had a cup of orange juice fortified with calcium 🙂
It was delicious and I’m so glad I honored my cravings and didn’t go by what I thought I had to eat for dinner. I’m very happy right now. My only dilemma…what’s for dessert? I will just have to see where the mood takes me.
I’m on Day 3 with no ice cream and sadly (?) I don’t really miss it. That just goes to show you, I was in a rut.
Off to play Guitar Hero Metallica with Josh. Have a good night everyone!
Happy Birthday Jenna!