The Verdict on Vegan

Can you believe it’s already almost Easter? For those who celebrate, that means Lent is almost over. This year, I decided to try a Vegan Challenge for Lent.

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For the first few weeks, I ate a vegan diet about 95% of the time. I allowed myself 1 day a week to consume foods that may have been made with dairy or eggs. I cooked entirely vegan.

With about two weeks left in Lent, I decided to make a change. I re-introduced yogurt, whey and eggs because I felt I wasn’t getting enough lean protein. I have remained meat & fish-free all Lent long.

Was it hard? Surprisingly, no! Going vegan was definitely not without its challenges, but I was surprised at how easy it was for me. I’ve highlighted some more details below.

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The board at Green Vegetarian Cuisine in San Antonio. Who knew?!

The Verdict on Vegan

The biggest challenge(s): Sources of lean protein. I know a lot of vegans/vegetarians get defensive when you suggest they don’t get enough protein, so let me clarify. I do feel that there are plenty of plant-based proteins. However… they don’t pack as much protein per gram as animal sources (my favorites being fish and eggs).

The biggest myth: “A vegan diet is boring.” False! I can honestly say I was never bored of my options. Going veg allowed me to think outside the box when cooking for myself. I enjoyed plant-based pizza, burgers, burritos, and tons more.

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Surprises:

Whey and honey pop up everywhere! I had an especially hard time finding cereal, salad dressings, and protein/energy bars without these ingredients.

Also, it’s not difficult to find/request vegan options at some restaurants… in Austin, at least.

Observations: My vegan diet turned into carbs on carbs on carbs. They were complex ‘good-for-you’ carbs, but a lot of sources of vegan protein are also very starchy – beans, lentils, quinoa, etc. I’m actually looking forward to leaning out my dinners again, specifically.

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Changes in Physique/Wellness? None. If anything, I expect to lean out a bit when I go back to eating eggs, fish, Greek yogurt and, on occasion, lean meats.

#1 Vegan Recipe: My big sexy vegan pancake that I ate every day for 10 days. 🙂 I need this back in my life! Second place goes to this week’s tofu stir fry with cauliflower rice (shown above).

Conclusions/Takeaways:

  • I didn’t miss meat very much at all. As I suspected, I missed whey/milk and eggs more than anything.
  • I could definitely be a pescatarian. Being a vegetarian wouldn’t be hard. But there’s no way I could stay a vegan!

What’s Next: A burger. And fish for dinner EVERY DAY. =)

Of Possible Interest:

So that’s my recap. Whew, that was a lot.

Have a Happy Easter/Passover, everybody. To my friends up north, sending some warm spring weather your way!

Sweets and Beets

Your Turn-

  • Could you ever be a vegan?
  • Thoughts on plant-based protein? It’s a sticky subject! I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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11 thoughts on “The Verdict on Vegan

  1. You’ve got a lot of willpower, lady! I gave up meat for 120 days in 2013 and it was so tough! I feel like depending on where you are it is really tough to not get soups and other things that are vegetarian based. Vegan to me seems like it would be super challenging as well. Neither are impossible, it just comes down to choices. Good for you to try and expand your perspective and formulate an educated opinion!

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  2. Congratulations! I toyed with the idea of a vegan challenge, but I’m allergic to wheat AND tree nuts, so I literally would have had to subsist on fruits, veggies, rice and beans… I eat so much yogurt and so many eggs, it would be tough. I may try a shorter challenge though!

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  3. My sister is vegan so there’s always a little pressure from her to make the switch, but I love eggs, fish and grilled chicken FAR too much. I honestly feel so great after a meal with those lean proteins – much like you were mentioning. Congrats on getting that far, though, that’s awesome! Your food looks amazing!

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  4. I only eat poultry and fish. No lamb, pork or beef. I probably could be vegetarian, but never vegan. I eat yogurt and cheese almost every day haha. Really enjoyed this post! Happy Friday ❤ 😀

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  5. Loved that you were so open about your progress! And all of your logic? Totally warranted! There are so many misconceptions about a vegan diet that you touched on wonderfully – that it’s boring, that it lacks in protein, even that it’s a healthier alternative to a carnivorous lifestyle. It’s all about how you approach it! Any lifestyle choice can be as healthy, as diverse, as restrictive, or as limited as you make it.

    Remember my short 40ish days on a raw diet? LOL! That was a challenge for me. I think it’s fun to try out new little lifestyle challenges, fully allowing yourself to “cheat” or back out, as needed! Plus, like you said, it gives you the opportunity to think outside of the box and try new things. There are some killer raw recipes that I still use today!

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  6. There was a period of time in college where I went vegan and I think I came to the EXACT same conclusions. Yes, I love vegan food. A lot of what I eat just so happens to be vegan, however greek yogurt, eggs, and salmon are just too good (and healthy) for me to go without just for the name “vegan”

    Love the challenge, because it shows you what works and what doesn’t more than if you never tried at all.

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  7. Nice job on completing the challenge, and Happy Easter! I’ve been a vegetarian for so many years, and it’s what feels natural to me, but I have to say that veganism would be tough for me. I could definitely do it if I put my mind to it, but some of my big protein sources are dairy – Greek yogurt, protein bars with whey, cheese – and fro yo & gelato are my favorite desserts!

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  8. I don’t think I could be a vegan but I could be a pescatarian. But because I can’t eat gluten I feel like it would be too restrictive to cut out another food group. Dinner would be the most difficult meal for me to be a vegan. It would be all the sweet potatoes and quinoa. Which isn’t bad but could get boring.

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  9. Pingback: Texas VegFest and My First Days Post-Vegan | Sweets and Beets

  10. Pingback: Feeling Better + Feeling So Austin | Sweets and Beets

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