First of all I’ll mention that this post is only going to be in english because I feel like I have so much to say and secondly I am literally too lazy today to translate long posts. I’m sorry!
So it’s been around a month since I started my vegan challenge. It all started with a random documentary me and James happened to watch on Netflix. It’s called “What the Health?” and in the beginning it seemed like any other food documentary about horrible food industries based in USA. I’m not a big fan of those because in my opinion the conditions are very much different in Europe and those documentaries usually only tell one side of the story. This one really made me listen though and they raised some really good points so even me, the ultimate meat eater, was like why not give it a try? Here’s just a few crazy reasons:
70% OF DEATHS AND MORBIDITY ARE LARGELY LIFESTYLE RELATED & PREVENTABLE
ONE SERVING OF PROCESSED MEAT PER DAY INCREASED RISK OF DEVELOPING DIABETES BY 51%
WITHIN MINUTES OF EATING DEAD MEAT BACTERIA TOXINS, THE BODY GETS A BURST OF INFLAMMATION, STIFFENING OR PARALYZING THE ARTERIES
EATING 1 EGG PER DAY IS JUST AS BAD AS SMOKING 5 CIGARETTES PER DAY FOR LIFE EXPECTANCY
THE NUMBER ONE SOURCE OF SATURATED FAT IS DAIRY
MOST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD ARE LACTOSE INTOLERANT
MILK IS A HORMONAL FLUID
RAISING ANIMALS FOR FOOD PRODUCES MORE GREENHOUSE GASES THAN THE ENTIRE TRANSPORTATION SECTOR
I like a good challenge - I love experimenting and trying out different things, it gives me a focus and a topic to reflect on. This was just one of those things when James told me “I bet we couldn’t last a week…” and boom, challenge was accepted. Fortunately he was in it with me so it made it much easier, we agreed to give it a week. You can follow the whole challenge also on my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17929434265209462/
First day was a struggle - James is always the one who makes breakfast (bless him) so he’s like “surely we can make something since the fridge is full of fruit and veggies” and then ended up making rice cakes topped with peanut butter and sprinkled with peanuts, haha, I promise you it felt like eating paper.
So I go to work and soon I’m hungry again so I join this vegan Facebook group to ask for some suggestions. Joining this group was probably the best thing about this challenge since people were just so nice and supporting in every way, I’m still in it and I get so much tips and inspiration from there so joining a group is definitely a good start.
I end up going to this vegan restaurant for lunch called BlissTray which is a buffet where you can have whatever and pay for the weight of your plate. By that time I was obviously starving so I filled up my plate for 10 euros and it was totally worth it, I never knew vegan food could be so delicious. Soon after I was told that this restaurant is actually mainly vegetarian and you need to follow the tiny signs for vegan food, oopsie. So I have no idea how much of this food was actually vegan but the mushroom lasagne was heavenly and so was everything else.
After work we head to the closest grocery store without having any idea what to buy. We go past every single isle til the veggies and fruits, load up our trolley with everything from there and then go on to the tiny vegan section where we found a spicy sauce, tofu, almond milk and a vegan cream cheese(thank lord for that). Next up is the frozen isle where we literally found some more vegetables and that was it done, so quick!
I love cooking in general so I was browsing recipes at all times and found some really good alternatives to my favorite dishes, I also realised that me and James don’t even eat that much meat. We love poke bowls, vegan currys, salads and healthy pastas that are all vegetarian. Quitting meat actually wasn’t hard at all, the hard part was cheese and eggs. But we kept trying and made some lovely puree soups, buddha bowls, currys etc.
Soon I realise that meal prep is the key to a successful vegan diet. I do agree that everything is possible if you really want it but for me it was also a busy week and I found it hard to plan and prep all of my meals. One of the days I decided to throw a dinner party and found this filled onions recipe that I wanted to make so I came home from work and it took me around 2-3 hours to make it, isn’t that just crazy? The good thing about this challenge is that I found so many alternative ways to cook and consume different vegetables. People are always used to their comfort zone and often have certain meals they always cook but this really made me experiment which I enjoyed.
After the first 3-4 days I felt so weak, my arms felt literally like spaghetti. My Facebook group mentioned that I need to really track my meals and make sure I get all of the nutrients from my food but it was much harder in reality. I got so frustrated because most of the restaurants don’t have a vegan selection, grocery stores have such a small variety of vegan options and it was difficult to ignore all of the yummy snacks and cakes whenever there was a celebration at work.
Although I wanted to make it into a one month challenge, because everyone in the vegan Facebook group told me that I will only see the benefits if I do it for longer, we only lasted a week. I was getting really fed up because it just took so much effort and I didn’t have enough motivation, I felt so weak and I died inside every time I had to say no to a cheeseboard or an ice-cream or anything I loved.
But I am so happy we did it because I saw so many different ways to consume food. I learned how to experiment and find healthier alternatives, I started actually liking tofu more than chicken and I realised I might be lactose-intolerant like most of the people, apparently.
It’s been three weeks since and although I don’t do this challenge anymore, my eating habits have changed so much. I never buy meat anymore, I only buy tofu and vegetables which can be cooked into a much tastier meals than meat-based ones. Instead of milk I buy almond milk, instead of cream I buy soy-cream, instead of eggs in the morning I enjoy an avocado toast etc. My point is that you don’t need to be full blown vegan to be healthier. This is only my opinion and I really admire people who do it as a lifestyle but for me this more balanced diet works much better. I do enjoy a burger when I really feel like it, I won’t say no to a cake if there’s a birthday and I certainly won’t say no to cheese…but even cream cheese in my fridge has been switched to a vegan one since I found it much more tasty.
For me the beauty in this was finding a better balance and start consuming better food daily. I allow myself anything I want as I used to before, but in general there’s been a big change and on daily basis I cook healthy and hearty meals that are mostly plant-based and much better for me than my previous habits used to be. I suggest everyone to give it a try because great things never came from comfort zones, right?
Here are also some of my favorite vegan recipes that I still make daily, just give them a try!
Peanut Lentil Curry
Soba Noodle Salad