So my 8 week vegan experiment has technically come to an end. The truth is, I don’t miss meat at all…and don’t think I’ll be bringing it back in.
I have learned:
- Only 1 million Americans classify themselves as vegan according to a 2008 “Vegetarian Times” study. So, you may not even know one. Another 6.3 million people are vegetarians and 22.8 million follow a mostly vegetarian diet. More women (59 percent) than men are vegetarian and only 17.4 percent of people over age 55 are vegetarian. Health, environment, animal welfare, food safety and weight loss are motivations for vegetarian and vegan diets.
- Getting enough protein IS challenging. I know where to get it – but find I’m still hovering at just 10 to 12 percent of total calories. I’m working on this, but more often than not end up breaking down and eating a half jar of peanut butter at some point during the week – I’m guessing due to cravings.
- Getting too many carbs IS easy. My diet is somewhat reminiscent of carb-loading pre-marathon diets. Most snacks have dairy, eggs or whey protein – so it seems that pretzels, crackers and fruit become the easy go-tos.
- You can’t get breakfast at Starbucks…unless you want a plain bagel. At least you can get a soy latte.
- A vegan diet is pretty inexpensive. Cut out the meat and you save dollars. Of course, if you start to use pre-packaged vegetarian meals, vegan baking ingredients and fancy juices your bill might rise again.
- Non vegans like to push meat. Tell someone you are a vegan or vegetarian and they either don’t understand or purposefully see if they can rile you up.
- Eight weeks is long enough to turn your taste buds around. I can’t even imagine eating meat – or cooking it.
My daughter asked me to make chicken pot pie for Christmas. I found a great recipe for vegetable pot pie. She quickly pointed out that the recipe had no chicken. Darn education. Anyway, I told her she’ll have to make it – do all the work including chopping up the “slimy” breasts and dealing with the ooze. No flinch, no second thoughts…she wants chicken in her pot pie. So, I suppose she’ll get it. I am not one to impose my dietary choices on someone else. I firmly believe you have to figure out what works for you. For me, eating a vegan diet leaves me feeling light – even on the days I eat a jar of peanut butter. I have more energy and don’t feel so tired as often – despite days filled with less sleep. I’m not going back, except maybe for a little Noosa yogurt here and there.