This past January I decided to do a 30-Day Vegan challenge with my oldest daughter. Back in December one of my friends said she was looking for some people to be a support system for a 21-Day Vegan Challenge starting the following month. I’m always down for a challenge and decided that this sounded like something I’d love to do. During December to help make the transition a bit easier I did a 21-Day Smoothie Bowl Challenge. I seriously think that made the vegan challenge so much easier. The funny part of the challenge is the friend that mentioned it…never did start! LOL
Veganism is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients. Many vegans also do not eat foods that are processed using animal products, such as refined white sugar and some wines.
Vegan refers to either a person who follows this way of eating or to the diet itself. That is, the word vegan can be an adjective used to describe a food item, as in, “This curry is vegan“, or, it can be used as a noun, as in, “Vegans like cookies, too.”
The first week or so I tried to stick pretty much to a meal plan that I found online. I figured it would make my life easier but it ended up just being a bunch of things I couldn’t eat. I’m allergic to avocado, melons, sometimes banana and a few other random azz things. I think avocados are in about 99% of the recipes that I came across…LOL! After a week of eating oatmeal and trying to make meals that turned into fails I decided to search out more things on Instagram. That became my savior!
So after a day of literally stalking folks on Instagram I found my tribe! I’d seen stuff by Peta for a vegan starter kit but just like the natural hair police some of that stuff was just too much for me. I’m all about eating better and living a healthier lifestyle but I’m not one for shaming those that eat food that contain animal products. I had joined a group on Facebook too hoping to just get recipes ideas and tips and some of those folks took veganism to the extreme. So I politely rolled up on out of there!
One of the down sides for me starting this challenge in the winter was that I’d basically have to buy more frozen fruits because since its out of season the cost is either ridiculous or just not available. The other was when I realized that all wines weren’t vegan. *insert a range of emotions here* I had a glass of wine last month and something told me to google and see if wine was vegan. I’m like its fermented grapes what kind of animal products could it have. During the winemaking process, the liquid is filtered through substances called “fining agents.” This process is used to remove protein, yeast, cloudiness, “off” flavors and colorings, and other organic particles. Popular animal-derived fining agents used in the production of wine include blood and bone marrow, casein (milk protein), chitin (fiber from crustacean shells), egg albumen (derived from egg whites), fish oil, gelatin (protein from boiling animal parts), and isinglass (gelatin from fish bladder membranes). So basically I haven’t had any wine in over a month and I’m too lazy to hit up the liquor store with my phone and google each wine I come across.
While eating healthier can sometimes be a bit expensive I have noticed that I’m not going out to eat near as much. So the extra money I’m spending at the grocery store is actually better for me. One of the biggest perks is that I’ve lost weight. I haven’t paid any attention to calories and have been working out more which resulted in me losing 8 pounds in January…win win! My stomach doesn’t feel as bloated, my skin is clearing up and I feel better. I’ve also noticed that a lot of the foods I’ve been eating have been gluten-free which might also contribute to how I’m feeling.
Like I mentioned before I’ve been buying a lot of frozen fruits. I like to use those when I make smoothies or smoothie bowls. They are also a great way to get into a lot of nutrients needed. You also want to make sure to have a well stocked pantry. To make my meals my appetizing seasonings and sauces have helped a lot. I try to always have a few staples like black beans and rice on hand for quick easy meals or when I’m being lazy! When I want to try and be fancy I’ll sautée som portebello mushrooms, add some more veggies and throw in some hokkien stir-fry noodles. Gardin and Follow Your Heart make some products that have made this challenge a lot easier too. The verdict is still out on vegan cheese…HAHA!
I went to Trader Joe’s once and it was a waste of time and I’ve actually had a lot of success getting things I needed from Kroger, Publix and Walmart. Haven’t been to Whole Foods in a while but its in a part of town where traffic is basically like rush hour 24/7 so I’ve avoided it like the plague. Getting started can be a bit confusing trying to keep up with all of the ingredients that aren’t obvious or where to start so I created a little infographic to help you out!
It’s been over 30 days now and I believe I’ll stick with this vegan lifestyle for now. There is no way that I would have ever believed that I would give up meat. I mean I’d drive to this farm 30 minutes away just to get their delicious bacon. Do you think you could live a vegan lifestyle? Let me know in the comments if you’ve thought about it and what’s holding you back or if you have made the lifestyle change what’s been your biggest hurdle?
Later this month I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes that require little to no cooking skills which is exactly what I have…LOL! Stay tuned!