A couple of years ago, I did a vegan challenge and I carried it out through the month of January 2013. The vegan challenge was my New Year's resolution, and I wanted to make sure to start the year off healthy. I have always been interested in oranic foods, the vegetarian lifestyle, and the vegan lifestyle, so I have been researching veganism for a very long time. Before I began eating totally vegan for a whole month, I began eating as a vegetarian, and by January 1st, I had totally cut dairy out of my diet. It felt very freeing to cut out dairy. A few days before I started, I made a shopping list of food that I could eat. I decided on soy milk for my "milk," and I bought soy cheese, tofu, my favorite fruits and veggies, nuts, and some super food powder for smoothies. As I read more about the foods I should be consuming to implement for my protein, I read that too much soy was really not good for you, and I had been consuming three sources of soy. With that information known, I switched from soy milk to almond milk, and I couldn't finish the soy cheese, it was the most unpleasant thing that I have ever eaten. I kept the tofu in my diet because that was a major source of my protein.
With my short experience of being a vegan, I learned a lot. I learned that you must dry out the tofu completely before you use it. I ate a lot of soggy tofu before I learned the drying technique. After I learned the drying technique, I loved eating tofu! I would make teriyaki tofu, soy tofu in an Asian style salad, grilled tofu, and anything that I could concoct with tofu. Tofu became tiresome after a while, and then I was at a loss. I did my research, but I didn't research enough. I didn't research other recipes that I could make, I didn't research coupons for vegan snacks to help me keep up with my vegan diet. Looking back, I would totally browse a vegan site and search for vegan snacks that are sustaining, and tasty at the same time. I would also meal plan, which is something I did not do during my vegan challenge. When I made dinner, it would be on a whim, and I would create dinner as I went along. The one recipe I did follow was a fabulous vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe. It was really the only sweet thing I had during my vegan challenge.
My vegan experience was not all bad, I took some things away from that experience. First of all, all I drink for milk now is almond milk. I love the way it tastes, and I love the way it makes me feel. Regular dairy milk makes me feel bloated, and I hate that feeling. Almond milk has more calcium, and it does not make me feel bloated. Another thing I took from my vegan experience is that it really doesn't take much to eat healthy, it just takes a little research, and a little planning. During my vegan challenge, I felt great intenally, and my skin looked so pretty. Doing a raw or vegan detox for a week every six months would be an awesome detox challenge.
For those who are looking into a vegan lifestyle, my advice to you is to research, research, research! You should also consult your doctor about your new diet venture. Some people with health ailments need to have meat or animal products in their diet. When transitioning into a vegan lifestyle, there needs to be some meal planning, and recipe gathering so you know what you can eat, and what you need to sustain yourself. A vegan lifestyle requires support, dedication, and community. For a person who is going into a vegan lifestyle, they need to immerse themselves in a vegan commuity, and there are many vegan communities (including right here, at The Flaming Vegan) online, and of course in your area. Just reach out to the vegans around you, and you will have a successful, vegan lifestyle.
I love sharing my vegan experience. It helps me look at some things that I could change about the vegan challenge. I would love to do the challenge again! When I do the vegan challenge again, I will have the tools to help me lead a better vegan challenge. I am no vegan expert, but I do have some vegan experience, and I wanted to share my experience to potentially help those who want to transform their omnivorous diet into a fully vegan diet. It is all about bettering your body, and taking advantage of what the earth provides.