your thoughts: vegan for a day.

mmm animals

{ a typical text exchange between me and my pesky little brother}

So proud of my awesome friends who tried my little Vegan For a Day challenge! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me.

Kristi from And Babies Don’t Keep had this to say:

1- I’ve done this for a day or a week before, and I’m always amazed at how much good food is available, even with the restrictions of something like a vegan diet. We have access to SO much. I had yogurt make from coconut milk for the first time this morning and it was AWESOME. I’d really like some ice cream right now and I know I could find something satisfying that meets the requirements of this particular diet. We have food in abundance…so what else am I eating? Mostly crap, although not entirely. So, this was a good reminder to reach for something real and whole first, rather than something boxed and processed.
2- I love cheese. {editor’s note: word to that, Kristi. I’m still not over it yet!}
Kristi gets major bonus points for getting her vegan on while pregnant with baby #3! You go, mama! Y’all, read Kristi’s blog. I love the way she writes!
 
Another mama-to-be, Jamie, went vegan for a day and had this to say:

One thing I learned about eating Vegan (or any strict diet for that matter) is that you have to do a lot of planning, at least at first.  I kind of just went with what I had and I ended up starving all day. 🙂
 
I had oatmeal for breakfast, grapes for a mid morning snack and then I went to chick fil a for lunch. I did a quick search on my phone for “vegan at chick fil a” and quickly and excitedly saw that their fries are officially vegan, so I went with fruit and fries for lunch.  I didn’t want to eat salad because I had a big salad waiting for me for dinner.
 
That afternoon, I felt pretty hungry so I scrounged for something that my body would tolerate  (pregnancy cravings and distastes) so I ended up with some chips and salsa.  (is that really vegan?)  For dinner I had a lot of squash (pre cheese).   I felt really sick and couldn’t handle a salad at that point! 🙂  But, I am proud of myself for at least trying and learning more about the foods I eat.  I usually try to eat as much fresh food as possible and the least processed food as possible and I found myself wanting to cheat and eat (vegan) things that I would never dream of eating on a usual day.
 
The biggest lesson I learned is that I need to plan better so I can eat better! 🙂

Our friends Erin and Brandon went plant-strong together earlier this week. They both said they felt no different but were surprised by how easy it was to be full, and they didn’t notice that meat was missing from their meals. Brandon said that the food was good and peoples’ reactions were dramatic. It forced him to try new things. Erin said it wasn’t that hard but that it would require some serious adjusting with regards to grocery shopping and menu planning to continue plant based eating long term.

I agree- it definitely rocked my world to start thinking about meals differently. Vegan cookbooks and blogs majorly helped me. Happy Herbivore even sells vegan meal plans that do all the work for you!

In case you missed them in the comments, here’s Brandon’s play-by-play:
A day in the life of a vegan
8:00 am: Realize that Jiff Peanut Butter with Honey is not Vegan. Looks like I’m fasting until lunch. Good thing coffee’s vegan.
1:25 pm: Mention to my coworkers that I’m heading to lunch and they ask where. No one takes me up on my lunch invitation so I rush off to the vegan cafe.
1:30 pm: Starving. I park and rush for the door, but not fast enough to miss the “Pork chops stop a beating heart” car in the parking lot. It’s parked two spots down from the BMW with leather seats. These vegan folk sure are a diverse lot.
1:50 pm: My philly cheese steak arrives. It has no steak, no cheese, and we’re a long way from Pennsylvania, but it tastes amazing. The candied yams on the side rival Grandma’s. I leave stuffed; I’ll be back again, even if I don’t stay vegan.
2:25 pm: Back at work, I suddenly have to defend my lunch choice. I’m trying this diet for one day and I still get smart remarks and smirks. But I feel fine, I’m full, and so its the smart remarks that are the most unsettling. Mention you’re trying a vegan diet and everyone suspects you’re a paint-throwing member of PETA.
6:15 pm: Back home, ready for dinner but feeling normal so far. I grabbed some vegan Oreos and Erin made a great pasta/tomato dinner.
9:00 pm: Beer time. Not sure I could go gluten free, but vegan? Not so bad.

My girl Suzannah sent me an amazing recap of her day:
Vegan Day 2K13 was a success!  I found a day was plenty, and yet also not enough time.  It was plenty in that I’m not sure I could do it for a week or more.  I can take or leave meat and milk, and usually drink almond milk anyway, but am a big fan of eggs, yogurt, and cheese, glorious cheese.  Cholesterol has never been my issue (luckily, although I have others) so I make and freeze a batch of breakfast burritos (eggs, pepper jack cheese, and whatever veggies need to be used up) on the weekend for breakfasts all week.  I frequently have yogurt for a snack or in smoothies, and oh, cheese.  I love it.  Melted, stinky, powdery, sharp, creamy, I love it all.  So although I was able to do without for a day, and I suppose I could for longer if necessary, a day without was survivable without approaching miserable.  On the other hand, a day wasn’t enough time.  I found myself thinking way too much about the things I “couldn’t” have, just because they weren’t in the day’s plan.  Normally, for a snack, I may have apples and peanut butter or string cheese, and not think any further till the next meal.  Instead, I thought about food all. day. long.  I imagine I’d need a few more days or a week to turn that thinking off and readjust.
 
Besides my obsession with forbidden foods, planning was a minor challenge, although in an unexpected way – I had already planned and grocery shopped for the week when MB threw down the vegan gauntlet, so I had to figure out a way to adjust my planned meals to accommodate my newfound veganism.  I figured breakfast would be easy to do – swap out oatmeal for my usual breakfast burrito or hard boiled egg – and lunch was doable too.  I’m a teacher, and because I’m frequently tempted by the hot lunches our cafeteria serves (square pizza, y’all!), I keep a stash of Amy’s organic vegetable lentil soup and Amy’s frozen black bean burritos at school.  Both happen to be vegan, although I often add a stick of string cheese or something to go along with them.  So, dinner was the only thing that remained to be factored in, and thus a night at Chipotle was scheduled.    
 
Here’s a brief run down of the day:
 
Breakfast – Doing my early morning hall duty with a bunch of 4th graders, eating steel cut oats with a blob of pumpkin, a shake of pumpkin pie spice, pecans, and Craisins.  Text MB and tell her that I’ve been a vegan for 7 whole hours already!   No problem.
 
9:00 – Ooh, I would love some Cheetos!  When’s the last time I even had Cheetos?  Why am I even thinking about food now?  But seriously, I could put down some Cheetos.  Wonder if any of the kids brought Cheetos?  I don’t even normally eat a snack till 10, but I have a handful of almonds.
 
10:00 – Planning period.  Eat my popcorn.  Then eat some more almonds.  Then eat my apple.  Thank goodness planning ended or I would have eaten straight up until lunch.
 
Lunch – Soup.  Student having a birthday brings snack size bags of Skittles.  Eat mine, then freeze, wondering if Skittles have gelatin and are thus not vegan.  A quick internet search reveals that I’m safe, at least of animal products, if not sugar.
 
3:00 – Dig around in my emergency stash and find a Kind bar which appears to be vegan.  If it’s not, I don’t want to know.
 
5:00 – Text MB a picture of my preemptive celebratory glass of (vegan) wine.  I think I’m going to make it!
 
Dinner – Chipotle burrito bowl with rice, beans, salsa, lettuce, vinaigrette, and lots and lots of chips.
 
Annnnnnd…done.  I could definitely do this day by day, but pretty sure it would take a few days (or more) to get over the craving for all the things I wouldn’t normally eat anyway but suddenly wanted.
 
Major props to MB for making such a huge change and embracing it, and thanks for encouraging me to give it a try!  Love my happy herbivore homie!
{MB: aww, thanks, Suz! love you too!!}
 
Here’s my friend Lorien’s take on the day: 
i went vegan for a day. it was today. at first i was completely overloaded with what was legal vs. illegal. actually most of the time i thought about veganness, that it was i was thinking about. but when i stopped to eat, i was completely fine. i’m a meat eater. not gonna lie. i love meat and cheese. and ice cream. but! eliminating so many ingredients actually made my food decisions easier. i could see our family having a vegan dinner once or twice a week. if nothing else, it will stretch my cooking rut i’ve been in. 🙂

 
Shani gave it the old college try, but kids’ sickness sidelined her and she had to kick into survival mode. Proud of you for giving it a go, Shani!
 
And my dear buddy Shawna made it almost to the finish line… then her dear mother cooked chicken for supper so she minded her manners and ate what mama served! She said though she felt hungry, she felt lighter all day! Way to go, Shawna! 
 
Big Thanks to everyone for participating, and for telling us about your experience! I think it’s always fun and eye opening to try doing life differently, even for a day!

And now…. the winners of the Vegan For A Day Challenge are:
ERIN AND BRANDON!!! Way to go, team! 
(Since you live down the street, I’ll be hand delivering your delicious vegan chocolate chip cookies!) – and no, this isn’t rigged- I gave you each a number and had Scott pick one randomly! 🙂

gray31daysthis is day ten in a series called 31 Days of Mindful Minimalism.  Start here to read from the beginning.

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3 responses to “your thoughts: vegan for a day.

  1. What! Come on! Totally thought you would go all Oprah and be like, “You’re ALL GETTING COOKIES!!!!!!!!”

  2. I know, Suz! Didn’t mean to tease. Come visit and I’ll make you cookies anytime. xxoo

  3. Just noticed last night that we won!?!?!?! Woohoo! *excitement*

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