So I’ve been living the vegan/non-processed way for about 4 weeks now… here’s what I can tell you so far.
It’s not that hard. I definitely have cravings – most notably, Ice Cream, Refined Sugar, Bacon, Bread and Potato Chips – but have figured out how to curb some of those cravings. I’ve identified the bigger reason behind the craving and have replaced it with appropriate alternatives. For example, with ice cream and other high-in-fat goodies, I’m replacing it with a good fat, like some avocado (YUM!). Refined sugars are replaced with handy grapes! Breads (and other low nutrient carbs) have been replaced with raw and cooked veggies… lots of them.
I can’t say that I feel like a vegan superhero yet. My levels of energy seem the same, though I have had some sleep disruptions that I can’t attribute to anything in particular. I’m drinking loads of water and only notice dehydration if I have been expending a great deal of energy (after an especially gruelling derby practice).
While eating away from home, the major challenge that I have come up against is the addition of oil in a lot of food. Restaurant kitchens have been incredibly accommodating and accepting of my requests, but I have found that they are good on lessening the oil used to cook food, but not cutting it out completely. I try to bring along food with me whenever I can and make sure that I have options with me to meet any of the needs that I have.
I find that I am going to the grocery store more often, but it’s always for fresh fruit and veggies, so overall the amount that I am spending on food is less that what was spending before, and I have less fresh food waste in the fridge as that is the food that I am focussed on eating.
My favourite foods so far?
Beans and Salsa – quick to make and super yummy. I toss a cup and a half of my favourite beans (from a can) into a non-stick pan, liquid and all… then I add about a cup of salsa and some hot sauce. To add a little bit of extra nutrition and general good stuff, I will toss in some ground flax. I cook the whole lot over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until it’s saucy and wonderful… then it goes on a plate and into my tummy.
Edamame, Peas, Corn, Onions and Mushrooms – pretty much self-explanitory… it’s all of those things (with the onions and mushrooms diced) tossed into a non-stick pan with some water. When the water boils off, it’s usually all done… or I’ll add more water until I feel it is ready to go… then it goes on a plate and into my tummy.
Blueberry, Banana, Flax Smoothie – Frozen blueberries, 3/4 of a banana, some water and some ground flax go into my Magic Bullet until it’s all nice and well, smooth… then (you guessed it) it goes into a glass and into my tummy.
The most noticeable result of the change is food has been weight loss. I’ve dropped on average about 2 pounds per week so far, so that’s nice too.
People keep asking me “how long I’m doing this for” and my answer so far has been “forever”. I haven’t had any significant trouble so far with what I’ve been eating, so I’m going to keep it up. I have made some exceptions in moderation (1 beer with friends, followed by 3-4 glasses of water) and will likely continue to focus on being 100% vegan, 90% clean eating with options to enjoy something yummy in moderation.
Feel free to pass along your suggestions for tasty vegan options! I’m always looking for new stuff to put on a plate and into my tummy. :)