Going Vegan For A Month

I want to stress before I get too far that I am not trying to make the world vegan or even vegetarian for that matter. I am already not a meat eater so I thought it might be a fun challenge to take it one step further and go full vegan for a month but if it’s not for you there is no judgement here. (All my die hard vegan and vegetarian friends are probably shocked right now, sorry guys <3) The absolute truth is I didn’t go vegetarian for big moral reasons so I will attempt to not be hypocritical and push all the benefits and morality on you. I don’t really love meat and I feel better when I am not eating it, it’s that simple. I do however have a pretty big love on for the other products of our animal friends. Cheese is especially a weakness, oh and chocolate, umm and eggs, big fan of yogurt too….you see my point I think. I was a little worried about taking the challenge of going vegan but with the support of my family, (well not my son, poor Marshall is already annoyed by our meals turning vegetarian nearly five years ago and thought that this was cruel and unusual punishment—don’t feel too sorry for him we got him some non-vegan foods to help soften the blow) I decided to give it a go. One month later I am here to tell you a little bit about what I learned.

It is not as bad as it sounds. Did I sometimes miss dairy? Sure, but honestly it was not as hard as I thought it would be. There are hundreds upon hundreds of amazing vegan recipes out there and if you find them and use them you will eat very well. They tend to be high in flavour and use scores of fresh vegetables so they are not only delicious they are very filling also.

It is more expensive, even than being vegetarian. So many of the vegan alternatives are more expensive for less quantity. A not very large block of vegan cheese was way more expensive than a dairy cheese comparison.  A 1 litre non-dairy milk will cost you more than a two litre variety that comes from a cow. If you hit the free from aisle at your grocery store you will find that the price is a little higher for anything marked dairy and egg free versus the comparable non vegan version. We spent more on groceries this month for sure even buying way less convenience food.

You will likely have to bake any desserts you eat because quite frankly the pre made options are extremely limited and in total honesty not good. With more and more people choosing this life style there is a large hole in the market for this as far as I am concerned. I love to bake but I still don’t want to have to spend time doing so every time I have a hankering for something sweet. (I am a bit of a chocolate addict so this is actually fairly frequent and I just don’t have time to bake something nearly everyday!) I worried that I would not make it through my month vegan without some delicious chocolate things so I did spend far too much time in the first week or so trying to compile a go to list of scrumptious desserts. I found some too—like I said you can eat well and be vegan.

Expect it to be more work, especially if you are a convenience food and quick meal kind of cook. I was not prepared for that. I already eat so much veg that I took for granted that my meal preparations would not be that much more time consuming. I don’t know if it is just so much of it has to be boiled and then formed and fried, or if it is just that I was unfamiliar with the recipes, or if it was simply perception but I felt like my dinners especially took much longer to come together. Time in the grocery store was also lengthened because I had to read all the labels, obviously as you learned which were okay and not that would go faster but for the first little while it takes forever.

You can be super unhealthy and vegan if you chose to be. A surprising number of things fall into vegan categories by complete chance that are not good for you. Oreos for example, Pot Noodles,  and any number of crisps. You could easily call yourself a vegan and consume nothing but junk.

I actually gained weight consistently during the month, not a lot but every week the scale went up slightly. This isn’t because we fell victim to eating all the vegan junk food I don’t think although I did enjoy some of that for sure. Lentils, chick peas, potatoes all play heavily into vegan recipes and they are pretty heavy foods so maybe that is why. As I said earlier I also experimented with lots of vegan desserts and no eggs and no milk does not mean no calories unfortunately so that contributed as well. Whatever the reason though, it was not a lose weight fast plan and I am not the only person who I have heard express this particular problem.

Planning ahead is imperative. If you want to go vegan, great, but do your research and find out what you can buy ahead of going to the grocery store and save yourself time. Plan out your recipes ahead of time and make sure you make a list of the ingredients you’ll need. You will undoubtedly find that there are unfamiliar items in these new recipes and you want to be prepared. If you are traveling find out what restaurants cater to vegans, it is going to make your vacation so much nicer if you know where you can eat and what on the menu is for you. If you happen to be in Bath I highly recommend Nourish and Chai Walla! The food in these places were amazing, thanks to my hubby for doing the leg work and taking me for an awesome vegan anniversary getaway.

If I am being totally honest with you guys, and I always try to be, it wasn’t for me. The higher grocery bill, the longer time in the kitchen, the constant ingredient checking, and the lack of quick yummy treats was hard for me. The weight gain was also a little demoralising for me, why in the world would I give up cheese and milk chocolate if I can’t look like a super model for pete sake! I didn’t find that I had way more energy or that I felt any better, which I think is a bit of a testament to the fact that I eat pretty well normally, and I failed to see huge benefits to making this a permanent change for me. Was some of the food amazing, you bet! Did I find some great restaurants that I will go back to, without a doubt. Did I feel good about reducing my carbon foot print a little more, of course. Will we try to be more conscious of how we eat in the future, I hope so. Am I turning over a new leaf and becoming a full time vegan, resounding NO! Bring on the cheese!

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