Friday, November 4, 2011

We Don't Just Eat Lettuce

My mom has been wanting to try being vegan for quite some time. I always told her to do it and I'd do it with her, but we could never get my dad on board and for whatever reason she just never attempted it. Back in the spring, my best friend and I tried being vegan for a month and I lasted about 3 weeks but not without some cheating. I was never really committed to it.

A few weeks ago, my parents decided that after we got back from vacationing in the Smokey Mountains that they would be vegan for one month just to see how it goes. Of course, I joined in because I was already going to be eating vegan meals at home since that's what we'd be cooking.

I haven't missed cheese. I would say that I haven't missed eggs or milk, but I already drank soy or almond milk and don't really like eggs if they aren't cooked in something. Eggs are easy enough to replace in recipes. Milk is a bit more difficult if you're replacing with soy just because soy milk has a flavor. Almond milk definitely has a milder, more milk-like consistency and flavor. I really haven't missed cheese though... and I like cheese. A lot.

It's been surprising that I haven't missed cheese. Actually I haven't missed a lot of things. I've noticed that I'm not craving fatty, fried foods. I'm not craving sweets. I'm not craving snacks. I'm not craving carbs.

I'm also not hungry. The meals we cook are filling and the take me through to the next meal.

I feel better. I have more energy. The digestive benefits have been... well, let's just say that going vegan has been a moving experience.

And oh yeah. I've lost a few pounds too.

We've had some tasty meals. Black bean soup, lentil loaf, haystacks (basically a taco salad with beans) without the sour cream and cheese, sloppy joe's made with griller crumbles which we later discovered have milk and egg ingredients (oops!), spaghetti with marinara and tofu meatballs... umm... we've had other things but I don't remember what they are. We've also eaten in restaurants. We went to our favorite chinese place and ordered their sesame tofu and various vegetable side dishes. I have been to our favorite mexican restaurant twice. Once I had vegetarian fajitas and the other time I had black beans (amazing there), rice, and grilled veggies.

Did I mention that I haven't cheated and slipped cheese onto something? Even when we were at someone's house eating haystacks I bypassed the cheese and ranch dressing and just poured on a little extra salsa. When one of the offices I was working in ordered pizza for the staff (and even got a vegetarian pizza!), I politely declined and ate my black bean soup I had brought from home even though the cheese was really tempting because at that point I was only a few days into being vegan and I was still craving everything.

I've also been exercising at least 4 times a week. After Kirby's trainer comes this morning, I'm heading to the gym. I've been trying to add more weights to my routine rather than just doing cardio. I enjoy cardio more because I don't hurt from it the next day, but I know I need resistance training to build muscle.

Water... yeah. That's more difficult for me. I did cut out my caffeine and suffered through the caffeine withdrawal. I had a little caffeine yesterday, but I mostly cut it out to quit being dependent on it and drinking it everyday. So once a week or so, no big deal. I'm trying to increase my water intake to about a gallon a day. I can usually manage half a gallon, but when I'm at home and not thirsty I just don't drink.

My dad says that he's not going to continue being vegan when the month is over, but as for me... I think I'd like this new diet change to stick around. I'm not going to be so strict that I don't eat if someone else is serving something with cheese or if I'm at church potluck, but when I eat at home or in a restaurant (except for on rare occasions) I think I'll choose vegan.

And guess what? I've eaten more than just lettuce.

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