You may remember, I was pretty excited about this challenge. While aiming for the full 30 days, I diligently shared all my vegan meals during first 19 days. Following is how our Vegan Challenge unfolded according to our Instagram:
The Day Before– All right, my shopping is done. My order from Thrive Market is on it’s way. I checked out copies of “Thug Kitchen” and “Idiot’s Guide to a Plant-based Diet.” Hooray plants!
Day 1-5 Meals are on point and delicious. I’m eating tons of greens and discovering all these wonderful plant-based meals. While I am enjoying all the meals it’s very time consuming even for me-I love to cook. I also realize that I hate posting food on Instagram. All this additional extra fiber is doing my body good, you know what I mean?
Day 5(later that night) Hello, sweet tooth. I’ve always been a fan of sweets. But, I had no idea this little oreo mcflurry craving would turn into a rabid cookie monster during this challenge.
Day 6-10– Still rocking out in the meal department. Feeling like I could be vegan forever. It’s so easy! At this point I gave in to eating either cookies, chocolate, and coconut macaroons EVERY DAY. I decide to cut out my caffeine intake from coffee because I’m not sleeping well. Page lost weight. I’m just maintaining.
Day 10– I reached my vegan cooking threshold. It takes a lot of effort to make all this food taste like suitable meals. We order a horrible vegan pizza. Fake cheese is awful. I miss cheese. “Why am I hungry all the time? I’m eating so much food!”
Day 11-Day 17-After a trip to the store, I’m back to cooking! Still eating dessert every night with no regrets.
Day 18– I’m straight-up eating cookies for breakfast. But their called, “breakfast cookies” so I guess that’s okay.
Day 19– After I posted a sad breakfast, my Instagram Account went dark…
Something went wrong…
Day 20– I post a mystery #latergram about me being an aspiring vegan. Hashtag–cheat.
So what was going on between that sad breakfast and my mysterious Instagram post? I ate a Chickfila sandwich, feta, birthday cheesecake, eggs, bacon, and potroast. #aspiringvegan
I was traveling and the difficulties of being vegan on the road were realized. I went to a birthday dinner and wanted a greek salad with cheese so bad! After I had cheese, I couldn’t pass up celebratory cheesecake. Then the next morning the option for breakfast was eggs, or nothing. I realized I’m not that hardcore about sticking to the challenge. I blame it on the fact that I breastfeed or my lack of discipline after 20 days.
Day 21– Determined to get back on track while staying at my parent’s house I came up with this pathetic breakfast. For dinner, I had chicken. Give me a break, I’m a recovering cheater.
Day 22– I started the day off right with this southwestern vegan spread. That night I even ate fake meatballs in my spaghetti.
Day 23–Instagram is wondering where I am because I’m sure as hell not posting the Mcdonald’s (first time I’ve eating there in at least a year) Chicken Sandwich I just ate. Have I giving up on life at this point? I’m certain I had given up on the challenge. I might as well start drinking soda again and just SHUT.IT.DOWN. That night I ate some sort of chicken bowl from Salsarita’s and vowed to start doing the challenge again tomorrow-since I would be back at our house.
Day 24-I’m back home baby, with my well stocked pantry and all the tools I need to make amazing vegan meals. “Let’s finish out strong!”
Day 25-Day 30 I posted a picture of tomatoes and one chickpea wrap with no indication of what day of the challenge I was on. What am I trying to hide? I’m hiding the fact that while I may I have a large box of tomatoes I had been eating pizza with real cheese, salmon, and eggs. I would say I ate 75% vegan during this last few days. I just ate tofu tacos for breakfast and chocolate chips for lunch.
So, it’s Day 30. The “Vegan Challenge” alternately called, “The Cookie Challenge” has left me tired and addicted to sugar. I’d learned how to make some really awesome plant-based recipes that I will continue to make. I was surprised that my grocery bill was MORE expensive than usual. I have no energy, the thought of exercise makes me tired. I take a multivitamin but, who knows if those even work. I think I’ll have steak tonight.
Do I hate animals?
No. I try to buy sustainable, humanely raised meat. Except of course, when I cave and eat fast food.
I don’t know how people do it. I don’t know how people do juice cleanses. Maybe in a different life, one where I’m not a sleep-deprived breastfeeding mom. I feel more satisfied when I eat eggs and other animal products. I think it’s better for me than eating sweets. Obviously not better for the animals. I’ve either got to eat Miss Piggy or become Miss Piggy. That’s my moral dilemma.
Just because I failed at this challenge, it doesn’t mean I’ll be eating whatever animal comes across my plate. I still believe it is important that we know more about the animals we eat and try to move away from eating factory-farmed animals. Not eating meat is ideal, think- peaceable kingdom. Eating less meat and more vegetables is the way to go. Better for you and better for the animals!
Will I continue striving to being vegan?
No. I went into this challenge thinking this might be a permanent change for me. I would say the permanent change would be adding in all the new plant-based meals I’ve learned to make. I dream about these chickpea wraps. We will definitely be eating less meat, maybe a few times a week.
Did we notice any positive changes or reap any health benefits?
Yes. More fiber from vegetables=better and more frequent bowel movements. To be honest, I was eating a healthy plant-rich diet before the challenge. I didn’t experience any dramatic changes, I would suspect if you were transitioning from the S.A.D(Standard American Diet) you would experience more noticeable changes. I did start cheating 2/3 of the way through, so my review of 30 days isn’t totally accurate.
Page lost about 7 lbs relatively quickly. I’m not sure if he has maintained that weight loss. He was as consistent with the challenge as I was-except when he went on a Men’s Fishing trip one weekend. He wouldn’t tell me what he ate. I’m guessing it included the worst offender of a vegan challenge-hotdogs.
What about the negatives?
- Tired. So very, tired.
- Difficult when traveling-not really sustainable for us.
- Increased sugar cravings
- Some meals lacked satiety, which meant more snacking for me.
- Increased bloating and gas. Sorry-it’s true.
- In our case, more expensive. We try to buy organic and I tend to gravitate towards meals with a lot of ingredients.
My tips for going vegan:
- Make the transition a gradual one.
- Get creative in the kitchen, check out some vegan blogs and cookbooks. I find that my plant-based meals are much more flavorful than our typical animal-based meals.
- Don’t be afraid of carbs, you need them.
- Learn to love beans and greens.
- Don’t eat as many sweets as I did.
- Have prepared food in the fridge and healthy snacks that you can grab when you are hungry.
I want to thank the amazing companies that sponsored us during our vegan challenge. You all believed in us and helped us share the power of plants! Many, many thanks to: YAWP! nutrition bars, Roots Hummus, Better Bean Company, Snack out loud, Glass Dharma, The Produce Box, and TofuXpress.