Those that know me are laughing as they read this, and I am crying as I type it. I am probably one of the biggest carnivores on the planet and in 4 weeks I’ll be a vegan! Every year for Lent I pretty much torture myself for reasons that start to become blurry by week 3. A few years ago I was a vegetarian for 6 weeks and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I vowed I’d never do that again… and this year I’ll be adopting a vegan lifestyle for 6 weeks (from February 10th to March 26th). I sure did up the ante didn’t I.
I think my biggest mistake when I decided to go vegetarian was not doing any research and being extremely close minded. I’m super picky and hate most vegetables. This time around I’m attempting now as we speak to transition smoothly into the vegan lifestyle instead of just crashing into it. This means taking small baby steps. What I’m most interested/ excited to experience while being a vegan is how my PCOS reacts to the major change in diet, and that extra boost of energy everyone promises I’ll get. Here’s the beginning of what I’m doing/practicing and preparing in order to truly adapt and adopt the vegan lifestyle.
Adopting A Vegan Lifestyle: How & Why
What does it mean to be a vegan: In the basic form of the lifestyle being a vegan means not eating any meat or animal by products. Which means I’m not only cutting out meat, but also most dairy products like eggs, milk, cheese and butter. That is the difficult part for me this time around. I think I’m more mentally prepared to give up meat, than to give up the basis of many of my go to comfort meals like ice cream, pizza or pasta.
What type of vegan will I be: I know that is such a weird question, as if there are various levels to veganism, but there are! I know for a fact that I’m not going to attempt the Raw Vegan Diet at all… its just not going to happen. I’m going to be a whole foods/ plant based vegan instead. The last two years I gave up processed sugar and fell in love with whole foods and now I’ll have to add a bit more plant to that concept, and remove the meat/dairy. Easy Right??!? Not quite.
I don’t want to be the type of vegan who just substitutes meat with fake meat options, or get stuck with the same source of protein. I know it is extremely important to continue to have a well balanced diet (though I probably don’t even have a well balanced diet now). So I will be incorporating different sources of protein and carbohydrates. That means I’ll be doing quite a bit of research in these four weeks (I’ve been doing some prior to that too) to find different recipes that tickle my fancy1
What will I need in my transition: Many people give the side eye to Vegans for a few reasons (I know I sure have), but one of the biggest concerns when it comes to deciding to be vegan (besides the meat/dairy part) is the affordability of it. During my transition I’m going to need a few things and I’m going to cut corners on a few others. First off I’m going to need snacks. I’m a huge snacker. So if my current snacks don’t meet the cut I’ll be swapping them out for vegan friendly snacks. That may be a bit more expensive than the usual bag of chips, or it could push me to be more creative in making my own snacks. I’ll also need something I can grab and go to eat when I don’t necessarily feel like cooking a meal. I know that I can cut corners/cost in my weekly shopping trip because I won’t have to buy meat (though I only buy chicken really). I’ll need something to take my mind off of pizza and ice cream specifically as those are my two go to comfort foods! Most importantly what I’ll definitely NEED in my transition is different sources of protein. I know I’ll have to increase my nuts, beans, and legumes drastically. I’m using both the old school and the new school to help with figuring out different meals. I’ve taken to Pinterest of course and searched high and low for recipes meals and things I may love. You can check out my Vegan Dedicated Pinterest board here. I’ve also turned to two books: “Thug Kitchen The Official Cookbook Eat Like You Give A F***” (the title alone on that one got me) and “125 Recipes that Prove you Can Live With out Cheese“. I like options and I like humor and these two books have both!
How Will I Adjust: It is going to be difficult. No doubt about it. No matter how much I psyche myself out and try to get super excited about whats ahead I am terrified. The fun part is taking you along the journey with me because there is not doubt that if I am able to successfully complete these 6 weeks then anyone can! I am slowly removing one carnivore thing from my repertoire each week leading up to the big V day! I’ve decided to remove meat last (I know that sounds crazy). But 1. I don’t want to fully torture myself longer than I have to, and 2. I think its best if I start to eliminate dairy completely as I transition since I believe that will be the harder of the two. I’m starting off by removing butter/eggs as those are the parts of my diet that I don’t eat individually but are apart of the other things that I do eat. Then I’ll remove milk and cheese in the second/third weeks. And finally remove all meat from my diet right before I begin so I can adjust smoothly. On February 10th I’ll be detox/juice cleansing for three days (which juice I haven’t decided yet) just to kind of get off to a clean start. I also figure that by the end of the three day juice cleanse I’ll be so hungry for an actual meal that I’ll jump right onto that plate of Kale!
What Will I Eat: I normally meal plan my breakfast and lunch for the work week. That is the easy part and I plan on continuing to do so. My breakfast is already vegan friendly as it just consists of fruit, green tea and a green smoothie. My lunch is usually a boring Grill Chicken Ceaser Salad. I’m obviously going to have to remove the grill chicken part, and add another form of protein or something yummy to be just as filling. Dinner and the weekends are where I always fall apart. I am going to have add dinner/ weekend food into my meal plan prep at the beginning of the week. It is going to be more time consuming but it’ll help down on cravings and dietary transgressions. Eating out will be limited but my pockets will be pleased. The Pinterest and book recipes I’ve seen so far look kind of yummy and scary (again I’m not a very big risk taker when it comes to foods especially vegetables.). So far I’ve found desserts I want to try, Lentil Pasta dishes, and some vegan pizza spots in the City (thank God for living in New York).
Overall I’m excited and nervous for this journey ahead. I know that it will be an experience… whether it is a good one or a bad one I don’t know yet.
If you want to follow along more closely to my Vegan journey (I really think you should… because if anything you’ll at least get a great laugh out of my potential misery) here’s where you can have quicker access to me and my Vegan shenanigans. I’ll be documenting daily updates via SnapChat (@MjbTheOne) on what I’m eating, making, or just how I’m feeling. Feel free to send snaps with advice and help!! The more the merrier! I’ve also got a dedicated Vegan Pinterest board that I’ll be capturing, and sharing vegan tips, tricks, meal ideas and more. I’ll also be doing weekly Periscope (@TrialsNTresses) chats leading up to my Vegan transition and during the actual process.