Cooking · Fitness

A week as a Vegan

Summer 2014 068

 

 

Time to kick off another week! What does your Monday look like?

 

 

 

 

Over the last few years, I slowly transitioned from eating meat to only having chicken or turkey. This last year, my taste for even those things has begun to diminish. Besides trying a dish here or there, the only chicken I’ve had for a pretty long time is grilled chicken in salads when I’m at a restaurant. In fact, it’s so rare that I eat chicken or turkey anymore, I think I’m officially a vegetarian now. It’s official now that I’ve shared it on my blog, right Smile

 

The next step after being vegetarian – well, that’s where my week as a vegan comes in!

 

Summer 2014 075

Summer 2014 048

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would you believe that all of these are vegan??

picstitch

5-17-14 101

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll be eating a vegan diet for the next week (starting today!) So what does this mean? Eating a vegan based diet assumes eating no animal products at all.

You may be thinking, I’m already not eating meat, chicken, or seafood. What else would I have to cut out of my diet? Well, any dairy products – eggs, milk, cheese, etc. count as animal products. The harder ones for me to cut out definitely would be ice cream, coffee creamer, and yogurt.

 

Misconceptions

There are a couple of misconceptions I want to quickly highlight about being vegan:

*Eating vegan does not limit you to only eating this everyday! Eating vegan really isn’t limiting at all; you are just eating different foods.

*There are plenty of vegan protein sources out there! That’s the question I most frequently hear, or read online. “Oh, you’re vegan or vegetarian? How do you get enough protein?”

 

Speaking of Protein…

According to Web MD, “adults in the U.S. are encouraged to get 10% to 35% of their day’s calories from protein foods. That’s about 46 grams of protein for women, and 56 grams of protein for men.” Obviously this recommendation will vary based on your weight, activity level, etc. Actually, most adults today are getting more than enough protein (it exists in way more foods than we realize).

 

Choosing to participate in a vegan based diet provides plenty of other options for protein that you may have not thought about before. Check out some of these popular sources for protein below:

vegan protein sources

veggie protein

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And no, you don’t need to eat Tofu to be a vegetarian or vegan! So you can all breathe a sigh of relief now. Personally, I’m not a fan of Tofu, or this whole “black bean brownie” idea. Just can’t jump on that bandwagon.

But as you can see, there are tons of other ways to incorporate enough protein into your diet. I didn’t know that veggies had so much protein! Of course, it’s important to think about serving sizes. For example, spinach is listed as having 47% protein the chart above, while beef contains 25.8%. But you’ll need to eat much more of the spinach to be full than you would need to take in of the meat source.

 

Day 1

I started off the morning deciding today was as good of a day as any to try out eating vegan. After fasting for blood work and running errands this morning, I was more than ready to eat something when I got home! I thought eating vegan for a week would be pretty easy, and I would hardly notice the change. It’s more challenging than I thought (and this is just day 1).  It’s not necessarily as challenging for me to not eat a certain food, it’s more challenging to have to remember to check the ingredient list on everything before eating it (lots more things are made with milk than I realized).

 

I first realized I couldn’t have cream cheese on my bagel, or butter. That was easy enough – raspberry jam worked just fine! Then I went to have my coffee and realized I couldn’t put creamer in it. And that brings us to the end of my week as a vegan =) Just kidding… I do like my coffee but I made the sacrifice and drank it black today. It’s really just the little things that I have to keep remembering, like not to eat chocolate chips out of the freezer as I go by!

 

Why Vegan?

I don’t think you need to put a label on what you’re eating, and necessarily call yourself a vegetarian, vegan, raw vegan, etc. We’ve talked about what it means to eat vegan, but why? Why am I choosing to try it for a week? I believe in intuitive eating, and listening to your body to make sure you’re putting the right things into it to make sure it runs smoothly. Simple example, but if you put the wrong kind of gas in your car, it won’t run as well, right? Well, it’s the same thing with your body. Fueling your body with the right foods that you need will ensure you have energy, stay healthy, and feel good.

 

I’m simply curious to see what it’s like – if it’s challenging to eat vegan, easy, or makes me feel different (for example, have more energy). I think it can be challenging, and I want to see if I can do it. I’m not sure if I’ll try it for longer than a week or not, but that’s at least what I’m starting with. While I don’t believe that you need to eat vegan to be healthy, I do believe that eating a lesser amount of meat and dairy products is a healthier option. Without animal products, you will have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, greater energy, healthier skin, migraine and allergy relief, typically lower weight and lower BMI, and a reduced risk of developing various infections or food poisoning, in addition to many other benefits.

I’ll keep you posted on how things go!

 

Questions of the Day

Would you consider yourself a vegetarian or vegan?

What are the pros and cons for you?

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