I was desperate to get this one over with. The past two weekends I had out of town guests staying with me and we ate and drank everything in sight. After a planned sushi dinner for my friends birthday, there were no food commitments on the horizon. Also, it was the perfect time to detox myself from those two weeks. And thus, my week of veganism began.
Going in to this I had two concerns. First, I was worried that I would fail this. I love pizza, Qdoba Chicken Queso burritos, and sushi. Sure, there are vegan pizza and sushi options, but how would they stack up next to my beloved Pepperoni slices from Pizza Days? Second, I was worried I would turn into a massive douche. When someone says they’re vegan, people have questions. Luckily, the majority of my friends knew that I was embarking on this great food feat and, even if they didn’t understand it, they were supportive. Friends offered up recipes and worked eating meals out into my dietary needs. Servers were also more than happy to answer any questions that I had about how their food was prepared. Given all the dietary restrictions, fears about gluten consumption, and allergies, servers are more knowledgeable than ever about what goes into their food. I’ll be honest, when I was waitressing in Texas years ago, I didn’t have a clue as to what was in most of that stuff because these concerns and restrictions weren’t as prevalent as they are now.
The first day I woke up said “Crap, I’m vegan today,” and went to work where I consumed my regular Special K Vanilla Almond with Almond Milk. Aside from the honey, it was vegan. And honey is a hot topic of debate among vegans (I assume) because bees make honey by working hard, but what are their work conditions like? Some aren’t so great. (I laughed too, but this is serious). After speaking to a vegan friend of mine, he wasn’t concerned, so I decided it wasn’t a big deal.
The first temptation were the cupcakes that someone left in the break room. The second temptation was the entirely gelatin based candy in the break room. At this moment I had a huge realization: I wasn’t allowed to eat these things. Looking at it from a diet perspective is far different. There is that mindset of “I’m going to the gym later so I can eat this cupcake” and then there is “I am not eating anything with dairy and I can not eat this based on principle.” Weirdly enough, it’s much easier to approach veganism from that mindset.
This theory was proven further during my trip to the grocery store that night. I had picked out some recipes on pinterest (my lover) and went shopping specifically for those items that I needed and some Tofutti Cuties to replace my Skinny Cow ice cream cups. When I made eyes at the French Onion dip I had made eyes with several times over the last few months, I wasn’t tempted to purchase it because I couldn’t. “Sorry, baby” I whispered as I brushed it’s cheek. “I’m vegan right now.”
My first mild panic was when I couldn’t find tofu in my local grocery store. I had to ask five different employees where it was. “I don’t know where the tofu is. I’ve never really gone looking for it.” Fair enough. My second and third panics were when I hadn’t prepared my lunch for the day and went looking for options. As awesome as the Boston area is with vegan options, there really aren’t lunch time vegan options. My other local grocery store had one easily preparable at work item: Spring Rolls. They were the size of my pinky, but shockingly delicious.
I worked my nighttime job three nights last week and settled on Life Alive‘s The Adventurer (no cheese) as my dinner. Tons of veggies, quinoa, tofu, and sesame oil. Absolutely delicious.
The second time they drew a shockingly accurate portrait of me on my take out container. Sweat and all.
Some other meals of note…
Vegan Pizza at Peace O’ Pie
BBQ something or other on the left and Artichoke Pesto something or other on the right. DELICIOUS.
A classic go to meal of mine before this challenge:
Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chik’n and aspargus
Spring Rolls w/Broccoli Slaw, Edamame, Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders, and Peanut Sauce
Given the time constraints and my work schedule, I didn’t get to work my way through all the recipes I had intended. If you’re interested in vegan recipes, please check out My Vegan Week board over on pinterest.
I’ve needed an excuse to get more creative in the kitchen. I was terrified to use those rice wraps for the spring rolls, but you put them in warm water for a few seconds and then twist them around it’s contents. It’s also like $1.99 for package of them. There is an idea floating around that it is far more expensive to have a vegetarian or vegan diet. While fresh produce is ideal, frozen works just fine. Canned veggies have far too much sodium. Plus, I find with frozen veggies, I always have vegetables available and easy to prepare. Plus, a bag of frozen vegetable medley would be great if I wanted to recreate The Adventurer at home.
Did I feel satisfied? Actually, yes. I felt clean and full. I found that I really didn’t really crave anything that I used to rely on. It really helped to change my perception about food. I’m also an iced coffee addict and I swapped out my usual caramel swirl iced coffee with cream/sugar for a blueberry iced coffee with a little sugar. I think I actually prefer it now.
It’ll be interesting to see just how long I can keep this up. So far it’s been a piece of cake – minus the eggs and milk.