Vegan for a Week, or More?

Hey Everyone!

I thought I would do a complete review of my week as a vegan, along with the pros and cons of the week and what I thought of it!  Lets start with the pros, yeah?

Pros:

-It was like a week of clean eating and I used so many fresh ingredients! A lot of the time when I’m tired from working out in the field I will resort to things like processed veggie burgers or crackers and hummus.  But this week challenged me to go beyond that tired/laziness and really make an effort to cook fresh things!

-I made NEW recipes.  Well, I stepped outside the normal realm of the recipes I use over and over again.  It was fun to discover that well, I’m not that horrible of a cook and I can make things that taste good!  I’m always afraid I’m going to fail at a dish and will end up wasting the ingredients, but you don’t know unless you try, right!?

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Snobby Joes from Veganomicon

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The same Snobby Joes but mixed with Tempeh, Cauliflower and Broccoli.

-I have more kudos for vegan baking. I’ve seemed to always have this idea that vegan desserts will be flat and soggy, but after making my own and cutting the sugar by almost 3 fold sometimes, it was wronged of my ideas!  The ingredients you can use to supplement for eggs and dairy are phenomenal!

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Carrot and Raisin Muffins from La Dolce Vegan

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Banana, Walnut and Chocolate Chip Muffins by…Me!

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Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mouse from The Green Temple, Redondo Beach

-It helped my digestive system, A LOT.  I have been eating dairy for years even though I know I’m lactose intolerant but the bloating and constant stomach aches were not something I was willing to go after forever to eat my lovely greek yogurt and seriously sharp cheddar cheese.  Taking them out for even a few days was phenomenal!  No more bloating at all!  And I have never been more regular in my life! Go fiber!

-I was able to kick sugar and cravings for it.  This by far was one of the best parts.  Every night, geez, every meal, I’m always craving something sugary afterwards.  Usually in the form of chocolate, which isn’t bad, but not something that should be done several times a day in copious amounts.  I found the first few days to be hard and even found myself with my hand in some Kashi Go Lean Crunch one night, but after that, no more!  Which also leads to…

-I was able to stop boredom snacking.  This was aided in two ways: most of the things I ate in my apartment were not vegan so I couldn’t eat them when I usually would, and I when I did feel like snacking and was willing to do it, I had no idea what to eat as a vegan.  Yes I had all those muffins, but I kept telling myself that two a day was probably the limit, even though I had decreased the amount of sugar in them, a lot.  This also helped with another things though…

-I was able to eating more intuitively all week.  Because I was not snacking all the time, I was actually eating when I was hungry!  It’s amazing how much I’ve been telling myself to only eat at certain times and to eat certain things at certain times!  Being vegan helped me really listen to my bodies signals and really eat some good foods!  Which in turn…

-My RUNNING felt SO MUCH BETTER!  I can’t even describe to you how much more awesome I have felt on the last three runs I’ve done, including a long one.  Normally, TMI, I am super bloated after a run (it also doesn’t’ help that I run in the afternoon filled with food vs. the morning with very little in my system) and usually finding my way to the nearest bathroom for relief.  No more!  My belly was great and so was my energy!  I’ve had the best splits, time, and endurance than I have had in a long time!  It certainly helps with the self-esteem!

And now for the Cons:

-I felt a bit like a nuisance food wise to my family when I came to visit.  I mean, my Mom and Dad eat vegetarian quite a bit, so it’s not that hard to accomidate for me, but with no milk/eggs it was a bit harder.  My poor Mom got Whit and I a bunch of snacks and stuff (ie candy for Vday! Thanks Mom!) but come to find out I couldn’t eat half of them because of dairy.  Just means more for Whit, right?

-It was hard coming up with snacks.  I was absolutely clueless when it came to snacks.  Of course, being in the field limits them even more, along with the very small variety of replacements I can buy in my little town.  I mean, I love apples and pb and carrots and hummus, but I can only eat them and my muffins so many times a day, let alone weeks or months.  I need to take a better look at Mama Peas new menus to get some ideas…that are portable of course.

-I’m a bit worried about calcium.  Osteoporosis runs in my family and battling at eating disorder so many years my bones are one of my biggest concerns.   With the start of weight lifting and impaction from running I know I’m making them stronger, but I also don’t want to end up with a stress fracture or broken bone because I didn’t eat enough calcium (but for the record, I do take calcium every day and have been since I was 18).

-It was not easy to eat out, though I guess I had an exception.  I mean, the one time I did eat out I lucked out that Whit picked a place that had a plethora of vegan options, but I know this won’t always be the case.  Having to eliminate dairy and eggs can be hard going out, especially with simple things like bread!

Final Words?

All in all I really really enjoyed the week as a vegan!  I definitely want to continue down that path, but am going to go vegetarian in times where it might not be so easy to be vegan.  Don’t get me wrong that I’m lazy or anything, but it just makes for a more calm and stress-free environment when I don’t have to worry so much about my food. I will probably keep eggs in my diet, but they won’t be as often and they will ONLY be local.  After doing research this week on animal farming and seeing a few too many videos online, I’m concerned with how my eggs are being produced and hens living conditions.  I love my animals, and think not a one of them should suffer for my benefit!

I also really enjoyed just overall how much better my body felt.  It took some adjusting at first to the cravings of wanting so many sugary, processed things (even cereal!) but after it was gone, it never even crosses my mind!  It’s so amazing and I feel great about it!  I also really enjoyed the turn that my running took for the better and has definitely help boost my confidence for speed and races!  I know it was only three runs, I feel as if I keep this kind of habit up it’s going to help things along and make them that much better!

Did you go vegan for the week?  How did you feel about it?  What didn’t you like?  If you didn’t go vegan, have you given it some thought?  What do you think would make you want to try giving veganism a chance?

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17 Responses to Vegan for a Week, or More?

  1. Krista says:

    Eeek! For some reason your last few posts didn't show up for me! Sounds like you've had a GREAT few days, Melissa! And I think you did a really good job reviewing your vegan for a week challenge.

  2. Lisa @ I'm an Okie says:

    I'm not sure I'd ever want to go vegan for a week. It would be a dramatic change for me…and Imust say, I am lazy and that would be really hard for me. I loved hearing your experience with it.

  3. ELC says:

    I agree with many of your points–I'm a vegan and I feel lighter and much healthier. I also struggle with the imposition/awkwardness of eating out or at people's homes and it definitely takes more effort. Re: calcium–I am a vegan but still don't eat as balanced of a diet as I should and I just had my iron, calcium, and B12 checked last week at my physical and all were great so I'm surprised it's working with as (relatively) little effort as I put into it!

  4. Amanda - RunToTheFinish says:

    i have been really interested in trying vegan for a week, but you know the honest truth is that it sort of scares me. isn't that silly!

    very cool just to see how you felt, especially from dairy

  5. Gabriela says:

    I noticed a lot of the same changes when I first went mostly vegan. I think that with ED history, strict veganism can be really restrictive, but I never feel deprived having given up most animal products. Do what feels right for you, both mentally AND physically!!!

  6. falafelwaffle says:

    I've went vegan to try it a few times, and I always feel better after it.
    At the same time, I too suffered from an eating disorder and I found myself getting a bit obsessive with food. Also the calcium thing was slightly worrying for me. I know that there are other ways of getting calcium but as someone who suffered from ED in the past I find vegetarian, intuitive eating is best for me.
    I think it's all a question of what works for you. :)

  7. The Hungry Runner Girl says:

    WOW!! YOU ARE MY IDOL!!! Seriously, girl great job. That is awesome that if effected your running so much and so many cool new recipes:) I am glad you aren't setting too strict of guidelines for yourself, you are such a great example wahoo!! s

  8. Allison @ Running With Mascara says:

    I am seriously thinking about going vegan for a week now! Awesome review!

  9. Lauren @ Spiced Plate says:

    I enjoyed reading your pros and cons of being vegan! I was vegan for a while, but now eat cheese and milk, local and raw whenever possible — I feel healthier that way, it gives me a boost of protein and good fats and calcium. But I drink almond millk most of the time.

    It's definitely hard going out to eat, for sure! I'm gluten free on top of it all — we usually have more fun cooking at home!

  10. fittingitallin says:

    I had the exact same great results when I was a strict vegan for a week…it's crazy how great you feel! I don't know if I can give up greek yogurt and eggs for good though. Plus I have a tendency to rely too much on soy, which upsets my stomach even more. Tough decisions!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I came here to say basically the same thing as falafelwaffle (great name, by the way!) I really love vegan food, the lifestyle, the cooking, how my body felt…but with an ED in my past, it became too easy to slip back into those tendencies by refusing to eat certain things. I still eat mostly vegan, but occasionally some cheese, yogurt, or lately even fish find their way into my diet. This way of eating is less obsessive to me and I can go out to eat more, try other culture's food…though my favorite cookbooks remain the vegan ones!

  12. leftcoastcontessa.com says:

    I've never done vegan for a week but it was really interesting hearing your thoughts on it. I think I could give up meat no problem but cheese and butter would present a challenge for me. For now I just try to buy local, cage free and organic.

  13. leftcoastcontessa.com says:

    I've never done vegan for a week but it was really interesting hearing your thoughts on it. I think I could give up meat no problem but cheese and butter would present a challenge for me. For now I just try to buy local, cage free and organic.

  14. Katy (The Singing Runner) says:

    It is so good to hear such positive things about this! I was considering trying the vegan for a week but I did not have enough time to plan it. It is definitely something that I am looking into trying soon! I just need to do more research! :D

  15. Christine (The Raw Project) says:

    Great pros and cons here. Dairy was a nightmare on my digestive system too causing energy problems for me. Having the Vita-Mix and access to so many vegan nut and seed cheese recipes made giving up dairy easy for me. I never worry about my calcium especially after reading that dairy is just not a good source of digestible calcium and the kale and broccoli I eat on a regular basis are better sources. Plus women should take a good calcium supplement no matter what because eating it with other foods can interfere with the body absorbing it. Glad you had fun with this experiment and came up with some interesting points.

    I've been mostly vegan for about a year now, trying new recipes a lot helped me with the transition and not missing dairy. Eating out can be a challenge, I'll sometimes end up ordering a side and an appetizer instead of a main dish, or modifying a dish to go vegan – like ordering a chicken salad without the chicken or vegetarian pizza without cheese. But I've also discovered some great dishes that I would have never have tried before going vegan.

  16. Magdalena says:

    I'm not sure I could go vegan long-term, although I might try it for a week. I try to keep my diet as local/sustainable as possible, and during the winter there's just not that much available aside from dairy, meat, eggs, root vegetables, and grains. In order to get enough greens into my system during a winter I'd need to rely heavily on greens that have traveled across the country. I can only grow so much indoors in my apartment. Plus I tend to be borderline anemic much of the time, and find that I need red meat in order to maintain my iron levels. Leafy greens are a great source of iron, but our bodies can pull so little useful iron out of the greens that it's not nearly enough. Raisins are a fantastic source of iron though…and have the highest amount of digestible iron of any non-meat food out there.

    I think, just like any type of diet (diet as in what you eat, not restrictive diet), it really depends on the person. A vegan diet works for some, but it won't work for everyone, in much the same way as red-meat eating diet works for some but not for everyone. The trick is finding what works for you and your body.

  17. Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) says:

    I've been wanting to try going vegan for a few days and eating veggie more often. I think my body could use it and it'd be a great way to get me to eat cleaner.

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