How did this happen and why? I’m asking myself this as we push through our first day of vegan eating unprepared. We did no prior research, nor did we discuss this drastic diet change more than him saying ‘let’s do it’ and me other saying, ‘are you serious’? This was my husband Chris’s idea, not mine. Truth be told, I had zero desire to omit anything from my diet this year. In fact, the morning of January 2, I told myself I would NOT restrict myself of any foods (thinking this was good reverse psychology), my resolution was simple and achievable: reduce food waste. By that evening, after innocently pressing the bright orange play button for ‘Forks over Knives’ which I thought Chris sat sleeping through, I had agreed to try vegan for 4 weeks. It’s the morning after. Panic has officially set in.
Now to the “why” of it all. At first I had trouble understanding why we were doing this aside from being bored with our routine and needing a predictable New Years’ reset. The more I thought about it, the reasons mounted and became clearer. Here are some of my why’s; (1) There is the need for us as humans to challenge ourselves. Most of us love a challenge and we can remember back to those times we overcame fear and accomplished things we never dreamed we could. When we overcame challenges, we felt like we could do anything and we built mental and sometimes physical strength as a result. (2) This is the most obvious; our health is the main reason we chose to change our eating habits, and change them we will by adding more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. (3) Curiosity. It would be much easier for me to hop in the comfortable vegetarian VW bus rather than buy a ticket for the extreme vegan spaceship that travels far outside the edges of my eating universe. As an after thought, now that I’ve committed, I have to admit I’m excited to know and feel what it is that keeps vegans so dedicated. (4) Maybe I’ll lose enough weight to fit comfortably into my clothes again. (5) Knowledge. One of my ambitions is to assign myself learning projects throughout the year. This will be my first project. Along the way, I’m hoping to experience exciting flavor combinations. As you can see, I’m totally trying to psych myself up for this unexpected 4-week journey. Yes, I have to keep saying 4 weeks to reduce my anxiety. I love dairy and very much enjoy a juicy (grass-fed) cheeseburger. This is going to be tough, but worth it, right?
We’ve got 2 important advantages: support, and access to good food. Any challenge is elevated and more fun when you share a common goal with a friend or group that is encouraging and inspires you. As for the food, I’m fortunate to work at a unique food hub where continuously throughout the year, waves of the most beautiful produce ebb and flow and change with the seasons.
This is what we pulled together for our meals today. (Day 1)
Breakfast: granola and almond milk
Lunch: leftover rice, noodles and broccoli
Snacks: dried mango, pretzels and hummus
Dinner: bean and avocado tortilla with salsa and lettuce
I’ll share how we use our green bag over the next 4 weeks to meet our vegan eating challenge. We would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions and experiences on food and healthy living too.
by Michelle Berry