The first question I get when sharing my vegan week challenge is ‘what do you eat?’. A fair question and it takes knowledge to know what is in limit and out. The question becomes baffling to people when they realize what you do not eat.
This spins people into a vortex of baffling thoughts regarding what it is that you do eat. My sister and I jokingly call it a bird food diet. It does bring a thought to what you are going to eat. The most difficult part was being at a restaurant, reading a menu and realizing that nothing would work without modification or then become a plate of lettuce. Nothing about that is exciting, fun or worth the restaurant expense. I viewed this as a good thing saving myself the money, the frustration and inevitable regret of paying a ridiculous amount for something I can make on my own for fractions of the cost.
Eating vegan though does not always equal healthy. PETA has a list of accidentally vegan foods on their website. Regardless of how you feel about PETA the list is surprising. Such as Mrs Freshley’s Oatmeal Crème-filled Cookies , Oreos, Swedish Fish, Ruffles Potato Chips (BBQ) , and Krispy Kreme Fruit Pies. The full list you can view here. You could eat a variety of packaged foods along with an occasional apple calling yourself vegan. This is not the balance I am looking for within this experiment.
I want to get back to whole foods, real food. The hardest part of this for me is my avoidance towards soy. I don’t really like it. I do like the feeling I get from eating too much of it or as I call it, continual emotional PMS. I will eat it occasionally but I can’t eat it weekly. The other surprising thing is getting enough protein while not eating a crap ton of calories or food. I was complaining to my good friend about this point. She attempted to be helpful and sent me a link. The breakfast example of what to eat suggest I have a cup of oatmeal with soy milk and a bagel. That would get me approximately 21 grams of protein. I don’t know about you, but I can’t eat that much for breakfast. That is a lot of food. Typically, my breakfast is 1/2 cup of oatmeal, 1 cup coconut milk, 2 tbsp of PB2 and 4 tpsp of hemp protein. This is approximately 17 grams of protein. There is 4 grams in the oatmeal, 8 g in the hemp protein(Trader Joe’s only has 8, other brands can be up to 11), 4 in the PB2 and 1 from the coconut milk. This to me is much more realistic, I can eat that and be satisfied from it. I’m not going to eat a cup of beans along with eight other items to get protein. I want it from a quick easy source. It’s the lazy American side of me.
This is something I’m still exploring. How can I get protein without eating a large amount of something, a huge amount of calories but also have it be vegan.
The best part about this experiment is that I’m used to the tastes and textures of foods that go into vegetarian/vegan cooking. Quinoa, lentils, beans, vegetable protein, hemp protein, and others. I think that this is probably the largest disconnect for many. How do you start eating foods that have strange names, come from strange bins in the hidden corners of grocery stores or are impossible to find? It helps that I live in a city with ample resources towards finding these “exotic” foods. But if you live in a “food desert” where it’s hard to even find a fresh vegetable, would going vegan be beneficial or would you be eating ruffle chips with oreos? It’s hard to know when you aren’t within the actual environment but it just reminds me when I am having moments of whiny this is hard, I remember it could be harder.
I’m off to the store, it’s time to find adzuki beans.