When my boyfriend called me randomly one night and said he had made a crazy decision- going Vegan wasn't what I was expecting to hear. This is a guy who would order mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, cornbread, AND fries/chips to accompany his pulled pork sandwich. I was surprised, to say the least.
He told me he had just finished watching a documentary on Netflix- "What The Health"- and that he was 100% committed to ridding his life of all animal products right then and there.
I was hesitant.
I mean could I really give up Whataburger's honey buttered chicken biscuits when I visited home? I crave Chick-Fil-A every Sunday, would I be able to withstand craving them the rest of my life? & what about In-&-Out?! Or the Shack Sauce that I splash all over my Shake Shack hamburgers as I double fist a vanilla & chocolate shake?
Not only did it seem like a ridiculous idea when all my go-to fav foods revolve around meat, I doubted the benefits. Sure, maybe you would lose a few pounds (from hardly eating anything but lettuce) or maybe actually hit the daily recommended veggie intake the FDA suggests- however, I highly doubted the difference would be noticeable.
I consider myself extremely lucky because my boyfriend has always pushed me to be my best self. I think it's rare to find someone (nonetheless someone you love!) who cares and inspires you to be the best version of you. As someone with an open mind (and a persistent boyfriend!), I decided that I would give the Vegan lifestyle a shot for 1-2 weeks. & I was pretty convinced once those two weeks were up that I would be happily ready to denounce the lifestyle of Veganism and be back to a plate full of ribs...
The Start Of A New Era....
Flash forward nearly a month and I am 100% Vegan- & THRILLED about it! I can honestly sit here and say that going Vegan was one of the best decisions I've made for myself and my life. I realize I've hopped on the bandwagon & have become one of "those" people. SOOO before I go any further I would just like to say-
I would never push any lifestyle choice on anyone! What works for me may be different for you. It's also important to make cautious, rational decisions when changing your diet or making a lifestyle change. I recommend consulting your doctor and doing research to ensure you are getting all of the vitamins, protein, & nutrition your body needs to function.
Now that that's out of the way- on to how this has been one of the best choices of my life!
Making The Switch.....
I transitioned pretty easily- basically giving up all animal products over night. While this might be super difficult for a lot of people, I didn't find it too hard. I also haven't really had cravings yet for anything- besides the occasional pizza slice or smelling someone cooking out on my street.
Give it a week. Or rather, give it two weeks. It's true that everyone reacts different to lifestyle & diet changes so go easy on yourself and don't rush into anything too fast. I suggest starting out by just cutting meat from your diet and then slowly but surely cutting out dairy & other animal products. I can honestly say that if you just give it a few weeks, I think you'll realize how amazing the Vegan lifestyle is and that the benefits outweigh the few minutes satisfaction your taste buds get by indulging in cuts of meat!
Vegan meals can be super yummy and you don't have to just rely on fruits & salads to fill you up! There are so many amazing Vegan cookbooks and online resources that you can turn to. Also, Ben & Jerry's has a few Vegan ice cream flavors soooo that's amazing!
Trust me on this- one week Vegan and you'll question why you've been eating so much meat & dairy products. It's disturbing how much of our food intake revolves around meat and animal products- with very little fruits, vegetables, and "healthy" food. Making these changes will make a huge difference in your health and quality of life- I can assure you that!
My Go-To Meal Plan:
I think the hardest thing about being Vegan is the planning you have to do. It can take a bit to get used to preparing your food at home and when you're hungry not always having the option to just throw a pizza in the oven or grab something from Subway (although there's definitely quick, easy options!).
Planning & being prepared is essential to going Vegan. Doing research and coming up with a meal plan will help you make sure you're getting all the vitamins + nutrients you need on a daily basis. I recommend talking to your doctor and considering taking a multi-vitamin (at least at first) just to ensure you're not lacking your body on anything. It's also essential to take a Vitamin B12 supplement!
This is an easy & fairly cheap meal plan for a few days. All of these are relatively quick to make and are super satisfying!
Meal 1: Curry "Chicken" With Rice & Garbanzo Beans (I use Quinoa Patties)
Meal 2: Quinoa + Salsa CrockPot Dip
Meal 3: Sweet Potato + Black Bean Tacos
For Recipes / Ingredients of the above listed Meal Plan (among other recipes!) - Click Here :)
Fast Forward 3 Months....
When I wrote this post I originally left it unpublished & had only been Vegan for about a month. I'll be honest with you, going Vegan was something I never thought I would do. I love my meats & while I'm an animal lover, I've never felt that me cutting out meat would make a difference in the American meat industry. C'est la vie....
So fast forward 3 months in & I'm really loving it! I still have a lot more energy than before. I don't crave meat or cheese/dairy products at all. I attempt to take a multi-vitamin daily to ensure I'm getting enough nutrients (sometimes I forget!) but overall I don't think I've lacked any vitamins thus far. I think the hardest part now is just having to look in ingredients because you would be shocked how many food products unbeknownst to majority of us include milk, eggs, or other dairy products in their food.
I haven't been super picky when it comes to small amounts of butter or possibly eggs/dairy in certain foods. I realize every Vegan is different but to me cutting out 95% of my meat/dairy/animal products is substantial enough- I'm not going to worry about rather or not a loaf of bread contains 2% butter or eggs. Understandably, everyone is different on their beliefs and how much of the Vegan lifestyle they want to embrace.
I ran my first half marathon (with hardly any training mind you), I don't get near as many stomach/headaches, my hangovers are slightly more tolerable, I have 10x more energy, on a daily basis I feel less anxious or like my blood pressure is high, my skin has cleared up significantly, & *fingers crossed* it already seems like my body is adjusting to fall weather better than before.
Will I eat meat/animal products again? Probably on the occasional vacation or family holiday, however, I feel so much better healthwise & to me that's all I need to know in order to believe that dairy/meat/animal products might not be that good for you- at least on a daily basis.
Sooooo here's to being Vegan & loving our bodies & loving nature. Also, here's to not being Vegan because the last thing I want to do is be one of those Vegans- who condemns everyone for not adapting the same lifestyle. You do you! & if you're happy & healthy then that's all that matters! :)