I went vegan for one month and this is what happened. I have always been into meatless Mondays, eating at vegan restaurants on occasion and the concept of being a vegan has always fascinated me. Since I do not eat much meat as it is, I have thought about the vegan diet for awhile now.
For me, it isn’t so much about being an animal lover or an advocate for animals. Although I do care about animals and their wellbeing, I also understand that eating animal products has been part of our culture since ancient times. Do I think it is unnatural to eat animal products? No. Glad I cleared that up first.
Meat is Unsustainable
Eating meat has also been a hot topic when it comes to thinking about global warming, the environment, GMOs and the sustainability of meat products. I know in certain cases this applies to seafood as well, but being a seafood lover myself, seafood was the one food I decided not to give up on. I guess this does not make me 100% vegan if I eat seafood on occasion, right?
Chronic Medical Issues
Not only that, but having PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) has been the biggest reason behind my decision to go vegan. I had read many articles and listened to a podcast called Medical Medium that really made me decide to go all in with a vegan diet. Meat, especially red meat, can exacerbate my condition. Dairy can cause inflammation and eggs are also not recommended.
The vegan diet might also be a great diet for other chronic medical conditions too.
Knowing my husband likes vegan food, it has been great making vegan dinners without feeling totally guilty. As for my kids? I am not going to force my young growing kids to be vegans. I cook their dinners separately unless what I make is a meal they already love (pasta and tomato sauce never fails).
I am a lover of dairy! I love my coffee creamer in the morning, cheese all the time and chocolate whenever I see some in sight. I love sour cream with my Mexican food and cream cheese on my bagels. I knew those were going to be the hardest foods to give up!
I love how many non-dairy alternatives there are these days. But are they good? Are they good for you? Those were the questions I had going into this newfound vegan lifestyle.
I must caution you about soy products. Be sure it is organic, non-GMO and made in the USA. Sadly, soy from other countries such as China may actually be more harmful to your health than good for you.
My Grocery Haul
Knowing I needed to cut out eggs, there was no chance of enjoying my occasional bacon and eggs. I thought about other breakfast ideas without drastically changing what I already enjoy.
I am someone who needs to eat a full breakfast. It is also great for PCOS for breakfast to be the biggest meal of the day. I am not a small cup of oatmeal and fruit for breakfast type of person. I do a 60 minute workout every morning, so I need a full breakfast before then so I do not pass out or feel dizzy.
I haven’t found a non-dairy coffee creamer I am in love with yet, but I do prefer the coconut cream based creamers over soy or nut creamers (they taste too watery to me). I have also been making a lot of dirty chai tea lattes with soy milk.
First I tried the vegan cream cheese with the bagels. I hated the vegan cream cheese! I’d rather skip the bagels and cream cheese all together.
The vegan butter is great! It is a vegan staple. Most likely you’ve already eaten something of its form whenever you eat at a restaurant who uses oil-based “butter”. I have been using it a lot for cooking, spreading on toast and sautéing vegetables.
Since the bagels and “cream cheese” were an epic fail, I decided to start eating avocado toast. I am obsessed! I have been eating avocado toast every morning for weeks now. I eat the Ezekeil bread topped with fresh organic avocado and everything but the bagel seasoning. Honestly, I do not get sick of eating it and I have even eaten it for lunch and dinner.
If I am out of town or going to a party where I think there will be no vegan food, I bring my avocado toast along and it makes the perfect meal.
Lunch can be a bit tricky, especially when I need to think of something fast because I forgot to meal plan. I found this brand called Sweet Earth that I like and I can buy their frozen vegan meals with my Walmart grocery pick up order. I heat up one of their burritos for lunch unless I have dinner leftovers or something else planned.
There are so many amazing vegan snack bars! Browse the aisles of your local health food store and I bet you will find a ton! Larabars are my go-to snack bars if I can’t decide. I eat a bar every day after my workout to hold me over until lunch.
Tofu has been a big staple around here! Walmart carries an extra firm organic tofu that I love that is made in the USA. Tofu can be used as a substitute for meat, whether in a salad, soup, noodle dish or sautéed with vegetables. I like pan frying tofu with vegetables and adding a non-dairy sauce. There are so many possibilities.
Beyond burgers have also been my new favorite, especially when I am craving meat. I like to top it with Chao vegan cheese (also from Walmart), avocado, pickles, ketchup and mustard.
Another favorite dinner that is easy and delicious are burrito bowls. I have been eating mine with beans, rice, corn, zucchini and avocado.
Surprisingly, a lot of chocolate is already vegan. Avoid “milk” chocolate and stick to dark chocolate or any chocolate products made without milk.
I am also obsessed with this vegan ice cream from Cado brand. It is made from avocados and it is so healthy and delicious! I get mine with my Walmart order.
This is What Happened
So I went vegan for a month and this is what happened. To be honest, not a whole lot happened at all. I do feel less bloated and gross after eating though. It was also a lot easier to eat vegan than I thought. I have been very proud of myself for asking for no cheese or sauce when I order take out and eating plant-based everything wherever I go.
As far as my PCOS symptoms, they remain the same. I am on my monthly cycle right now and so far it has lasted 7 days but has been fairly light. I will see if it lasts beyond the 7 days or if it gets heavier and keep you updated on my PCOS Youtube series. Overall, I do feel healthy and have been happy with the vegan diet.
Will I continue to be vegan-ish? I am not really sure. I think I will try to eat vegan most of the time, with an occasional cheat day or cheat meal.
Are you vegan or do you eat plant-based on occasion? Please share your favorite vegan recipes!