A week ago, I started the Vegan for a Week Challenge, vowing to give up meat, eggs, milk, and butter for 7 days. Here’s my thoughts, in summary:
- Everything I ate this week was really tasty-who says vegan has to be boring?
- My body felt good and I had energy. Which is to say, I felt normal. Not awesome, just normal.
- I tried some new foods including agave, Ezekiel bread and seitan. Agave and Ezekiel bread may join the list of regular purchases for our household.
- I gave a lot of thought about what my food contains, which I think is always a good thing.
- My lunches were awesome. I really need to work harder towards making hot meals for myself for lunch.
- Eating out was hard! We couldn’t just stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for a snack or coffee (we don’t do black).
- I really missed my morning tea with milk and sugar. Almond milk and agave just aren’t the same.
- No cheese. ‘Nuf said.
- Label reading can be exhausting. It was hard work to double check everything I wanted to put in my body.
- People looked at me like I was nuts when I told them I was going vegan for the week. Why would someone give up animal products?!
Veganism isn’t right for me. In order to make such a drastic change in my diet, I’d really have to feel strongly that it was the right thing to do. I don’t feel that way. I believe there are serious issues with our industrial food system, I believe homemade is better than store bought and I believe that we don’t need to consume meat or animal products at every meal to be healthy. But I don’t believe that consuming animal products is fundamentally wrong. I don’t think that animals are on the same level as people and I’m okay with eating meat occasionally, especially if I know where it came from. Maintaining a vegan lifestyle with no emotional/moral/intellectual conviction is simply not feasible.
I have a lot more respect for vegans than I did a week ago. I used to think that going vegan would be easy: a simple matter of getting rid of butter, eggs, milk and cheese but there are animal products in so many things. Being vegan is work. This week wasn’t too bad because I only had to plan a week’s worth of meals, we ate a lot of leftovers and I was too busy to think too much about snacking. But if I was going to become a full time vegan, my pantry would need to undergo some serious changes. I think I’d have to spend a lot more time cooking and spend more money on substitutes in order to keep some of the flavors I enjoy in my diet.
All that said, I really appreciate the awareness the past week has provided me. I’m going to try to continue thinking carefully about what I’m eating and including more vegan options in my diet.