Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Vegan Times

If you are friends with us on Facebook, you may have noticed an increase in vegan-food posts, recipes and comments.  Well, you can blame our Netflix account, because after watching the documentary, Vegucated, I turned my back on meat, eggs and dairy for good and asked Jon to join me in solidarity.  Since Jon is the main cook in our house, if he is not on board, I need to become more food independent (maybe not a bad idea), learn how to cook (also not a bad idea), and start making informed decisions about what food I put in my body (really not a bad idea).  After all of these "not bad ideas" were floated around our household, Jon agreed to try out a vegan lifestyle with me for 6 weeks -- taking a "break" in Rome -- to give it a good 'ole college effort and see what would be involved in making this lifestyle change.  There are tons of online resources available so with some research, we were able to figure things out pretty easily.

Here are the results thus far:

Week 1:  Figuring everything out

Predominating thoughts: What foods should I be eating to maintain all of my vitamins, minerals and nutrients? How much extra effort will this require? How will I survive? Will I be hungry all of the time?   The basic rules are that I can eat as many vegetables and fruits as I want. Let the veg/fruit binging begin!

End result: Quinoa, whole wheat everything, brown rice, bulgur, tofu, and soy/almond/rice milk have now been added to our kitchen.  Finding substitutes wasn't as hard as I had originally feared.  Our egg-less, milk-less pancakes are more delicious and easier than ever.  Vegan chocolate muffins - to DIE for!  The Oreo crumb topping wins everyone over. (Oreos are vegan, boom!)

Physically: Feeling less tired/able to wake up early in the day, eating a lot more vegetables at dinner, feeling "lighter."  I'm not sure how that's possible since my intake of carbs has tripled.

Challenges: None, surprisingly...

Week 2: Getting into the swing of things

Predominating thoughts: Now that we've tracked down tons of delicious recipes and identified the vegan-friendly products in Swedish grocery stores, how can we tackle re-creating some of our favorite non-vegan foods?  What are our new favorites? Will we ever eat pizza again? I love pizza...

End result:  We found seitan, dairy-free cheese, and tempeh so now we can tackle more meat-like dishes. Jon made the most delicious vegan pizza -- I could taste the flavor of eggplant.  When was the last time you tasted eggplant's true flavor??  I never had before. Banana french toast was a near-miss -- too banana-y -- need to refine. Adding semolina flour into pancakes, muffins, pizza dough etc, helps add the much needed protein.  Calvin is LOVING all of my vegan creations.  Maybe he was vegan all along?  This whole vegan thing isn't as tough as I had thought.  I'm loving how much more knowledgeable I am about my diet. By paying attention to the nutritional value of all of our foods, we are actually eating much healthier than ever. Imagine that...

Physically: My tastebuds are ALIVE - I can taste the nuances in all of my food and the spices we are using are delicious.  I don't ever feel "over-full" after eating -- just the right amount of full. Feeling great and energetic.

Challenges: Getting over how gross seitan looks

water, water, water
Week 3: Cruise Control Mode

Predominating thoughts: Things I thought I couldn't possibly live without, I barely miss... milk, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.

End result:  Jon insisted on bringing in mussels once a week.  He maintains they will be necessary for my iron intake -- we've learned a lot about heme vs. non-heme iron and bodily uptake.  Since I'm anemic on a good day, it makes sense to pull in an eco-friendly food that is rich in iron.  Mussels are as close to plants as animals can be and while I'm not thrilled, I am heeding his advice.  I've been putting flaxseed in my morning smoothies to help with B12 and Omega 3.  I've also been eating dried rasins and apricots throughout the day as healthy snacks.

Physically: Still feeling great and energetic throughout the day!

Challenges: I did have some cheat moments this week - 2 Kit Kat bars (bad I know!) and a small bowl of ice cream Sunday night.

Week 4: Exploring new recipes

Predominating thoughts: I'm not a fan of tempeh -- too nutty for my taste.

End result:



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