Before I get into this post, if you haven’t checked out my first post explaining my perspective on why I decided to go vegan, and the inspiration behind this month, CLICK HERE!
When you tell people you’re going vegan for a month, you get a mixture of reactions. Some say I’ll gain ten pounds and sleep my way to Christmas, others say I’ll get way too skinny and become the annoying dinner guest that can’t eat anything. Most acknowledge that what I’m doing is awesome, but they could never willingly do it themselves. When you decide to go vegan, you have a choice: you can be the uneducated person that eats bread, pasta and processed foods to survive OR you can do your research, cook amazing food, and ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need. I am determined to be the latter, but I know it’s definitely the harder choice that requires more time and discipline. So here goes nothing!
My first vegan grocery store haul was a long one. I love to grocery shop and generally I have a lot of veggies at my house, so I expected shopping to be fairly easy. I ended up spending an hour or so circling the store realizing I needed things I didn’t immediately think of— like vegan butter, non-dairy yogurt, tofu, and almond milk.
I am a big fan of meal-prep, and I knew that going vegan meant I would have to be creative and plan ahead. One of my biggest concerns was ensuring that I was getting enough protein in my diet. Meat was something I have always relied on for protein, so I knew this was going to be a challenge.
For most of the week, I generally stuck to the same meal pattern:
- Smoothie (fruit, natural peanut butter, flaxseed or chia seeds, and almond milk)
- Banana Bread Protein Energy Bites
- Gluten-Free Pasta with cooked veggies
- Sprouts Quinoa Veggie burger on a bed of arugula topped with avocado, corn, and tomato salad
One of the greatest obstacles I faced in my first week was traveling. I took a quick weekend trip to Colorado to visit my sister. I walked through security at the airport and the first thing I see is Chick-fil-A: Home of the Original Chicken Sandwich. I was upset to say the least. When I travel, I tend to gravitate toward comfort foods because traveling is stressful! For vegans, the options in the airport were extremely limited and expensive. I settled for a kale salad with chickpeas, it was definitely a rough start to the weekend. My sister was supportive of my new diet, she herself was trying to cut out dairy and gluten for her own digestive health. We visited an amazing vegan restaurant in Denver called City O’ City. I had never been to an entirely vegan restaurant before, and was amazed at all of the comfort foods and favorite meals turned vegan. I went with the waiter’s recommendation and got a savory waffle that was topped with seasonal vegetable ragu, vegan cheese fondue, and tofu. It was amazing and something I never thought I would be able to have on a vegan diet.
One frustration I found with eating out in a new place is that it’s not super convenient to find vegan options. Generally, a lot of restaurants have vegan options, but they’re hidden somewhere on the menu. When you rely on a search engine like Google or Yelp to find vegan options, your results are either entire vegan restaurants or places with less than ideal vegan options.
My first week on a vegan diet, I felt hungry a lot more often than usual. This was especially hard when I was tired from traveling and just wanted a simple fix. My sister and I ended up waiting an hour for this vegan restaurant and we were so “hangry” by the time we got our food that we couldn’t really enjoy it. It was definitely an eye-opening experience and I think I felt better and more secure cooking vegan meals at home compared to eating out.
Overall, I would have to say my first week of being Vegan went pretty well. There were many obstacles but I maintained discipline, and embraced as much as I could. As far as how I felt, I think my body is still adjusting to being vegan. There’s a lot of big changes that come with the vegan diet and honestly, your stomach feels like chaos. Frankly, I felt a ton of bloating and let’s just say I had to visit the bathroom more than usual. From what I’ve researched, this can happen in the first week of going vegan, your body is experiencing a lot of change. They say it’s important to give veganism at least three weeks to determine how a plant-based diet really makes you feel. I feel like I’ve already learned a ton, and I’m excited for what’s to come, so stay tuned!