I can always go for some wings; nice spicy wings. It’s hard for me to go a day without ice cream or cheese. Let’s not even get started on some steamed shrimp with old bay. My mouth is watering just thinking about the foods I have left behind this past month.
January first rolled around and I started my new ‘vegan life’. Following the advice of some of my wonderful friends to take it day by day and transition slowly, I was ready for my life changing experience. I went online to come up with recipes prior to my grocery store trip, and found a whole ‘January 1st, new year new vegan’ trend. Yup, I involuntarily found myself as part of a movement.
Grocery list in hand I headed to Trader Joe’s (shameless plug). My cart was packed with all kinds of fresh produce and as I expected, my bill was less due to the lack of seafood and meats. Aside from sometimes finding wild caught frozen salmon or Kosher chicken, I mostly purchase my fish and meats at farmers markets. That comes with a hefty price tag for a tiny portion that feeds my household of two.
So why the vegan change you may ask?
In short: health benefits of avoiding toxins that are found in meats, and of course the guilt factor of eating animals. Regardless if bought at the store or from a local farmer, the toxins are hard to avoid in our meats nowadays. Fish is even more complicated to purchase, since most of the waters are unfortunately heavily contaminated. Going vegan might be an impulse decision for me, but I have already spent many years riding my diet of certain foods deemed harmful; like red meat for instance.
Transitioning is making it a lot easier on my body and is allowing it to slowly adapt to the new changes. I have cheat meals here and there when my meat cravings get too intense, and it is okay! I felt that the option of going from zero to one hundred seemed too radical of a change, and I felt that I was likely to fail. Throwing out food is also never an option in my home, so I am determined to finish up all the animal by-products, while slowly replacing them with vegan options.
One month in I can see that the diet is doing wonders for my gut and digestion, but my skin not so much. I have been breaking out like a kid going through puberty. I do not recall my skin reacting in such a violent way even during various detox sessions that I had. This is certainly not a side effect I was expecting, but it is remarkable to see how many toxins are getting released from my body. I stopped wearing makeup a year ago, so lets just hope this is a swift transitional phase.
As previously mentioned, going vegan sliced a few dollars off of my grocery bill. I love to cook so I was excited to try out all those recipes that I googled. A new diet comes with endless menu possibilities, so I thought. By the end of week two I was fed up with my sweet potato and pasta variations. I could not figure out how to make my butternut squash less plain and the amount of beans I ate trying to get close to my daily protein intake made me quite bloated. I was constantly under my daily intake goal. Such a drastic drop in protein caused me to be tired all the time. I could not go a day without a power nap. My normally tasty meals felt rather bland without meat and fish. I was not only fresh out of ideas, I was also craving spice! Towards the end of January I had consumed two rather large orders of spicy wings.
One Month Takeaway
A vegan diet is certainly not for everyone. It takes commitment and a strong will to let go of the things you love, just like with everything else in life.
I have not given up on the idea of going vegan, but it would be unfair to those truly dedicated to call myself such. I still have so much to learn, more meal ideas to try, figure out how to get my correct protein goal (without the bloat), and most importantly commit to the idea of a cheese and ice cream free life.
This past month has been quite a journey and I will continue to better myself and transition until I am comfortable with my diet goals.