Sunday, September 11, 2011

Guest Post: Laura's 7-Day Vegan Challenge

Anyone that knows me, know that I do gently push people to try more vegan meals, if not try going vegan full time. Most respond by telling me to eat more meat, but my sister kept an open mind and tried some vegan meals. Liking what she had she and her family now have vegan meals regularly enough that they all get to enjoy my company at many of their vegan meals (by the way.. thanks guys! Much appreciated!). Anyways, Laura recently decided to try a seven-day vegan challenge with a friend and when she told me, I asked her if she would track how it went and we could include here.

Also, if anyone out there is a avid reader, Laura is also a blogger and has a pretty cool blog found here:

This is what she had to say:
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The Seven-Day Vegan Challenge

I recently challenged myself to eat vegan for seven days. This didn't seem too daunting a task. With the Angry Vegan helping me out, and many vegan recipes already mastered, how bad could it be? Turns out, it was just as easy as I thought it would be in most ways, but much harder than others. Here are the things that made it easy, and hard, for me. If you are newly vegan, thinking about it, or just up for a challenge, this should help you prepare. 

What Made it Easy:

1. Support. My husband didn't give me and grief about doing the challenge. He didn't exactly cheer me on either, but he didn't ask me why, or imply that I couldn't do it... which helps a lot. It's probably because I've been wearing him down for months (years?) with tasty vegan meals! My son who at the time was just beginning to eat solids loved all the vegan meals I was making, so it would comforting to know that he would enjoy the challenge too. It was also really helpful to know someone that I could talk to about it. Angry Vegan was a phone call away to talk about the #1 question, what do I eat? I need to snack through the day and the best tip she gave me was hummus and bagels. What a great snack! Something I will continue to eat in the future.

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2. A really good vegan cook book. Mine is Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet. Everything I've made has been gold. Alicia's breezy delivery of vegan propaganda makes it almost palatable to non-vegans! I love how she lays out a few "levels" for people new to the vegan world. Flirting is when you try vegan recipes, make a few changes to your diet, and try different products to see what you like. You don't "have" to go full-on vegan right away. Vegan is well, a plant-based diet. And Superhero is a super-healthy, whole food only vegan diet. 

3. Be able to advocate for yourself. I think vegans may be, as a group, more outspoken and independnet that the general population (just a hunch), and those are traits you are going to need when it comes to eating outside of the home. I had a wedding on day 2 of my challenge, and almost changed my dates to avoid the hassle. Angry Vegan schooled me... she talked to the head chef the day before, and arranged to bring in her own vegan  entree (Succotash!) and have them plate it with roasted vegetables. Not only was it delicious but it was very pretty! 

The chef at the wedding made a pretty vegan meal using Angry Vegan's Succotash!

What made it hard:

1. Meal planning. Until you are a seasoned vegan, you have to really plan. Not just meals, but snacks, things that will travel, things you can keep at your desk - having good, vegan food readily available is key, and if you don't plan it, it's easy to find an excuse to slip! It took me a really long time to do my meal plan, taking into account everything I put in my mouth and still trying to have variety, good use of leftovers, etc.

2. Sticking to whole, unprocessed foods. I didn't specifically challenge myself to stay away from processed food, but I mostly did (save for a few Luna bars). The point of the challenge, for me, was to reboot some bad eating habits, so no use "going vegan" and just eating chips and bread. The time, planning, and cooking ahead required to have fresh, home-cooked food for EVERY meal and snack was WAY more daunting that the vegan aspect!

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3. Having animal products in the house. I slipped on the last day of the challenge. I wanted a glass of milk SO BAD and it was just SITTING THERE waiting for me to drink it. If at all possible, simply do not have whatever you weakness is in the house! 

4. Pregnancy. Most of the comments I received were along the lines of "but, you're PREGNANT!". Those comments would probably get pretty annoying on a long term basis. I can just imagine if you were also feeding your kids a vegan diet (nothing like mommy judgement). I believe that you can have a very healthy pregnancy on a plant based diet; though if I was doing this for the long haul I likely would speak to a nutritionist. But what *really* made it hard for me was dealing with morning sickness and exhaustion... when I had my slip, I was sick, tired, and just had nothing left in me to stop the milk craving! 

I learned a lot doing, and ultimately failing, this challenge. Going vegan took a lot of time and effort, yes, BUT, food is really important! It SHOULD take a lot of our time and effort. As for the future... I think I'll keep flirting!

I live alone and I think if I had meat and dairy in the house when I made my decision to try a plant-based diet and I think it would have been a bumpier ride if I had. I hope my sister's experience can educate and hopefully empower others to give it a try. Even if you decide to not stick to it forever, I think you might learn a bit about how vegans eat and probably answer many questions (Where do I get protein, what do I eat, where do i get calcium, vitamin B, etc etc). Not only that, but you might think more about where your food comes from and whether you really should be eating it.

Night y'all!

1 comment:

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