Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vegan For A Week

As a fun experiment (and yes, you can argue my definition of "fun") I decided to go meat- and dairy-free for a week. I didn't do this for ethical reason, however I did recently watch Food, Inc. and since have been much more strict about where I get my meat. And I didn't do it for weight loss or health reason; I feel that I have a pretty balanced diet (with the occasional indulgence, of course) and I'm pretty happy with my weight. I did it merely to see if I could- to see if I had the ability to limit my intake to vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes (which is basically a bean).

And to my surprise? It was quite easy! I don't eat much red meat, so staying away from beef, chicken, and fish wasn't too difficult. However, I'm a girl who loves her dairy and eggs!  But instead of craving milk, I found myself craving grilled asparagus. And instead of wanting chocolate for dessert, I found myself instantly reaching for watermelon.

The best part was that I ate all the time! Keeping up my caloric intake was very important to me because I'm still weight lifting and increasing my mileage; I have to provide my body with enough nutrients and fuel so it can heal itself and perform stronger the next day. Since the things I was eating were dense in nutrients but low in calories, I was able to eat all day long- quite awesome!

My typical day looked like this:
Breakfast: Overnight oats with almond milk; Iced coffee
Snack: Apple with peanut butter
Lunch: Salad with black bean burger; peach for dessert
Snack: Protein fruit smoothie, with extra spinach
Dinner: Bean and salsa wrap with grilled veggies.
Snack: Watermelon

I was literally eating every 2-3 hours and keeping myself constantly hydrated. I found myself having more energy throughout the day, pushing harder during my workouts, and getting a much deeper sleep. I loved that I could stuff my face yet not have the heavy-full feeling. I was full, but it was a clean-full; hard to describe, but I never felt "gross" -a feeling I often get when I eat a meal heavy with meat, diary, or loads of fat.

I don't want to belittle the decision that others have made in becoming vegan/vegetarian by saying it is 'easy' to choose this life-style. I suppose knowing that I was only doing it for 7 days gave me a finish line to cross. Those that choose this lifestyle due to ethical and/or health reasons are truly going against the American culture, something that I got a small glance at. Even though my husband and family were very supportive of my 'experiment', at times I felt others were being accusatory of my decisions and that I was constantly having to defend my choices. Why do people question your choices for eating healthy when no one questions choices for eating unhealthy?

So where does this leave me now? I still have not eaten meat or dairy because I haven't wanted meat or dairy. The next time I crave it, I'll eat it, but until then I'm happy eating only veggies, fruits, and whole grains. So am I a vegan? Definitely not, but I'd like to believe I'm a healthy eater!

Are you interested in looking a little deeper at your eating habits? I received inspiration and motivation by Shelley at Mile High Healthy and Angela at Oh She Glows.  They share yummy recipes, great fitness tips, and show how easy healthy eating can be!

And I also checked out Veganomicon from the library (the title makes me laugh so hard!). This gigantic cookbook is 298 pages of amazing vegan recipes that even Josh liked! And it also shows you how to cook every fruit, vegetable, grain, and legume known to man kind! (Okay, maybe not every type of food known to man kind, but it sure has a lot!)

Have you ever felt the need to defend your food choices? 


  1. You are a stronger woman than I am! I don't think there's any way I could give up dairy for more than a few days.

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience with it! I think I would have a hard time giving up dairy (yogurt!!!) and eggs. I can never really label myself. Sometimes I find myself eating a vegetarian diet. Sometimes an almost vegan diet. I guess I just eat what I feel like and try to focus on health. Like you, I will eat something if I am in the mood for it. It leaves me feeling restricted if I try to label my eating style. But definitely goes to show there are lots of delicious options no matter what eating style a person works with.

  3. I have started a comment on this post about 5 or 6 times! I am just out of it these days. Anyway, I am glad that you tried and enjoyed vegan week and found that it could be tasty and filling! I love the feeling clean, vegan eating gives me...I am always energized and never weighed down. Way to go! - Shelley

  4. Also, I completely agree with having to defend my choices of food. I just don't understand why my decision to give up meat/dairy/eggs could make someone so mad (really, my coworkers have gotten angry about it!). And if i had a nickel for every time somebody asked me "but where do you get your protein?" I would be one rich and happy vegan ;)