Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Vegan Experience: Beach Weekend

I stuck to my guns and made it through the rest of the week with relative ease.  My downfall, of course, was the weekend.  Not to make excuses, but this wasn't just any weekend, it was a special beach weekend with dinners at Specchio, Buddakan, and McCormick & Schmick's.  Naturally, my vegan lifestyle fell by the way side as I scarfed down fish, meat, and dairy by the forkful.  Do I regret it?  Not even for a minute.  After all, how often do I get to eat at these terrific restaurants?  Today, I'm back on my game knowing full well that I am likely to make special allowances for certain special occasions, like vacations, holidays, or my upcoming 5-year wedding anniversary.  Week 1 taught me that with a little thought and preparation, the vegan lifestyle cannot only bring you better health and weight loss, it can be an enjoyable and satisfying lifestyle.  Maybe one day I will be able to commit 100%, but in the meantime I am going to follow the rules day-to-day and allow myself the freedom to make allowances for special circumstances.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Vegan Experience: Days 2 & 3

I sit here, minutes before lunchtime on Day 4 of my vegan experience, pleasantly surprised at how easy - and enjoyable - this has been.  So far, I've found that there are vegan substitutes for EVERYTHING and they all taste REALLY good!  Even Dave has attested to the tastiness of the food and he's a tough critic when it comes to food.  The biggest bummer so far has been cutting out Wawa coffee but I think I've found something even better:  the chai soy latte from Starbucks...heavenly.  For a DIY option, buy chai concentrate and soy milk from the grocery store and mix them in a 1:1 ratio...delicious!  Now, I realize that part of the vegan experience is to completely purify your body and cutting out caffeine is part of that, however, I'm not a saint and for now the caffeine must stay.  One of the trickiest things about this challenge is picking the right food.  For example, I bought a butter substitute that's made out of olive oil, only to learn that it does contain a little bit of buttermilk (you have to read the nutrition labels super-carefully). So I botched up a little bit last night, but that's the great thing about calling this my "vegan experience" rather than my "vegan diet," it allows for imperfection and doesn't make me feel guilty when I mess up.  Plus, the word "diet" screams "restriction," which naturally just tempts you to cheat.  Surprisingly, I haven't felt the urge to cheat at all during my vegan experience.  My next big challenge will be surviving the weekend (that's when all my best resolutions seem to fly right out the window!)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Vegan Experience: Day 1

I made it through Day 1 of my vegan lifestyle challenge with little difficulty. The hardest part was lunch. I bought vegan "lunchmeat" at the store and tried it on a sandwich (with vegan mayo, avocado spears, and sprouts). The veggies were good, but I didn't like the faux lunchmeat at all. For dinner, I made the Penne and Butternut Squash dish featured in Skinny Bitch - it was excellent. Luckily, I had enough left over for lunch today, so no more nasty sandwiches!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Skinny Bitch

I love when new journeys spawn out of existing journeys, like this past weekend. We took a short road trip of sorts - my husband, my sister, and me. With endless amounts of highway looming before us, and stop-and-go traffic for several hours, my sister encouraged me to read aloud from the book she'd been reading, Skinny Bitch. It's a book that promotes the vegan lifestyle and blows the lid off the meat and dairy industries, serving up scientific information with a side of sass. Let me interject here, up until this point in my life I had been a self-proclaimed meat-loving individual who never seriously considered such radical lifestyles. However, this book really resonated with me, opening my eyes to the havoc that meat and dairy can inflict on the human body. Despite my love of seafood, pasta, cheese, and many other foods, this book forced me to consider whether I could adopt this lifestyle. I've decided to dip my toe in the water this week and see how it goes. Last night, I chowed down my last hamburger for a while and this morning I woke up to a glass of o.j. and a bowl of soy yogurt, wheat germ, and strawberries. Don't worry...I won't pat myself on the back just yet; lunch and dinner are going to be the real challenges!