Vegan for One Month

My experience with going vegan for one month.

Vegan+for+One+Month

 

There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.”

— Charles Darwin

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In the last few years I have acquired a strong passion for my health, fitness, and personal growth/wellness. I am an advocate for exploring the ideas and concepts we are curious about and walking in another persons shoes in order to fully understand a mindset, lifestyle, or perspective of an individual.

It is well-known that veganism is becoming more popular in our world today. Restaurants have done an exemplary job becoming more familiarized with differences in people’s choice of “diet.” Many people apply this lifestyle in order to acknowledge  the protection of animals through feeding on plants rather than living creatures. It’s the perception between the who we are eating rather than what that speaks to people interested in being vegan.

 The restriction of veganism is well-known as it essentially cuts out the consumption of all meats, fish, dairy products, breads that include milk or animal based ingredients, and any product with some implementation of animals. According to The Vegan Society, the correct definition of veganism is, “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

As someone who has been interested in veganism for awhile now, I decided I might as well try it for myself. The goal is not to lose weight or restrict in any way, but to spend a month learning and understanding what a vegan lifestyle truly consists of. Each week I journaled in order to collect my ideas during this month of a vegan lifestyle. 

 

Week One

For the first week I thought it would be appropriate to create a strict eating schedule to get my body in a routine. Each day I pretty much consumed similar scheduled foods. My mornings consisted of different variations of oatmeal that were both gluten free and vegan. They were absolutely delicious as I eat oatmeal regularly anyways. Then, for lunch I would make vegan/GF toast topped with avocado butter, avocado, and seasonings. With that I would either include chopped carrots and celery or blueberries and raspberries. For dinner I consumed some sort of vegan meat/protein. I tried vegan meatballs, a vegan; plant-based burger, and most nights I made sweet potato fries and roasted vegetables. To top off my day I would have a glass of chocolate almond milk or a protein bar/bite. In order to ensure my ingredients in my food were vegan I’ve been intentionally shopping at Whole Foods, while checking that it is certified as vegan and there is no milk/meat type of products used.

Avocado toast on gluten-free and vegan bread. (Lauren Moore)
Chocolate protein blueberry oatmeal. (Lauren Moore)

After the first week I definitely notice how my body feels very light and I have not once felt full by the end of the day. I found that I needed to hydrate and defecate throughout the day more than usual which I’m learning is a part of the process. 

So far it has not been difficult to adjust to a vegan lifestyle. I enjoy eating healthy and fueling properly and the only major difference is my increase in vegetable consumption. 

Week Two

This week was much tougher than last. I ordered takeout from a few restaurants to change up my schedule a bit and ensured the vegan symbol was included on the menu item before ordering. One of the restaurants I ordered takeout from was Osaka in Lexington, Kentucky. I love sushi and it’s my favorite food! When ordering a vegan avocado roll instead of my typical tuna sashimi I was quite nervous; yet, it was delicious! I would definitely recommend plant-based sushi to vegans and non-vegans who are eager to try new things.  I also went to CoreLife Eatery in The Summit of Lexington and tried a tofu vegan green bowl. It was delicious and very filling.

Tofu green bowl from CoreLife in The Summit of Lexington, Kentucky. (Lauren Moore)

I noticed that I was consuming mostly vegetables and fruit more than any other food group. I even had to invest in a probiotic due to the rich content of fiber in my food intake. I also had to suppress my hunger with liquids and a gallon of water a day in order to hinder the massive cravings I obtained. This week was tiring but I will continue to explore veganism with a positive mindset.

I also did a lot of research on the benefits of veganism for the environment, animals/living creatures, humans, and worldly conflicts. Veganism is much more than a lifestyle; it’s a true dedication to both yourself and your planet. The idea is living on your Earth automatically grants you the responsibility to protect and show love to it. Showing compassion towards the space you live in is vital and a big part of the vegan lifestyle.

Week Three

This week was incredibly difficult to stay disciplined. I ate a lot of vegan oatmeal, chicken-less chicken, protein waffles, pizza, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potato fries. All of which were plant-based and for the most part homemade. I noticed I felt a bit hungrier this week than last. When I exercised I was weaker and I was sleeping more than usual.

Vanilla blueberry oatmeal. (Lauren Moore)
Mixed veggies/cauliflower salad. (Lauren Moore)

It has been much easier to find vegan foods and distinguish between what I can and cannot consume. When grocery shopping, I have stayed much closer to the produce section and less in the snack isles.

Likewise, I have enjoyed all of the new foods I have tried this week. I do find that eating vegan has made me feel clean and bloating has been minimal. I’ve noticed my portion sizes have decreased due to my appetite adjustments and that I am hungrier in between meals but get full much faster. As a result, I have noticed physical changes fairly quickly and can see why veganism has become extremely popular.   

Week Four

This week was mostly focused on perspective; more specifically why I decided to try being vegan. This week was the toughest of them all as I was the most hungry and the least energized. I have slept and rested more than normal and found myself searching for simple vegan snacks to make on Pinterest in order to replenish my malnourished body.

Avocado toast with vegan cream cheese and fruit. (Lauren Moore)

My ¨why¨ is what has kept me going through this month-long journey. I am a firm believer in only making judgments when you have thoroughly experienced and/or experimented with something yourself. I ensured that I began this lifestyle without any preconceived assumptions and spent a lot of time simply learning and trying. I asked a few of my vegan friends what tips they had for me as well as doing my own research on how to safely try veganism when living a very active lifestyle.

An assortment of fruit. (Lauren Moore)

In terms of food, I enjoyed a lot of green smoothies and raw fruits. I made vegan pad thai and it surely did not disappoint. I also made a tofu-based broth soup due to some stomach/digestive issues I was experiencing from the vast amount of vegetables I have consumed. I’ve found that lemon or green tea has helped me feel better on days I’ve felt sick and would recommend it for anyone who decided to be vegan as well. I’ve also noticed that it’s easier to be vegan when you are not busy. On my busier days, it is much easier to miss meals which is problematic when I already feel malnourished. 

Overall, this was the final week and frankly, I will not continue to be vegan but I will implement the foods I’ve tried into my everyday diet in general. I definitely enjoyed this challenge and would recommend it to people who are looking to eat cleaner or more plant-based. Personally, I miss ice cream and sushi so this lifestyle couldn’t work for me long-term but vegan food is just as yummy so I suggest not being too quick to judge. I am very thankful to have the time and discipline to complete this month of veganism and I’m happy to have contributed to a happier and healthier planet!

Products I Recommend:

1. BHU Vegan Cookie Dough Bars

2. Trader Joe’s Vegan Burgers

 

 

 

 

 

3. Vegan Star Gummies

 

4. Chicken-less Chicken Strips