the V E G A N experiment

Quick intro for those who may be new to the blog (first off, welcome!) – I love cooking. Healthy inspired meals using fresh local ingredients whenever possible is my thing. I don’t believe in “diets”, but rather my philosophy is to eat a balanced diet of whole foods in moderation. And everything I make is gluten free.

So why vegan? Although Netflix documentaries like Cowspiracy and What the Health may change the way you look at animal products, I was more so intrigued by the health benefits from living a vegan lifestyle (clear skin, healthy digestion, weight loss).

Isn’t vegan a diet? Not in my opinion – I consider vegan more of a lifestyle. The difference to me is that a diet is a short-term, narrow minded approach to eating. Restricting and limiting certain foods for a period of time to achieve a goal (like weight loss) only to return to previous eating habits. A lifestyle on the other hand is about changing overall habits. For example, choosing plant-based protein like tofu or beans over animal products like chicken. Or opting to buy plant-based protein powder and dairy-free cheese as healthier alternatives to traditional dairy products.

PROS:

  • Over the past month I experimented with new ingredients (like tofu and KiteHill almond milk foods) and was forced to get creative in the kitchen. Some of my favorites were Tofu Scrambled Breakfast Tacos, Vegan Flatbread Pizza with Artichoke Pesto, Thai Coconut Curry Soup and Roasted Cauliflower/Chickpea Tacos.
  • We also tried some new restaurants like Sticky Rice, Sweet 27 and Liquid Earth – all with Vegan options.
  • I don’t normally have bad skin and I’m not looking to lose a lot of weight, so it’s difficult for me to weigh in on how great the impact was here. I did however lose about 3-5lbs and I do absolutely feel better – less bloated/inflamed.

CONS:

  • Eating out can be tricky. If you pick a restaurant that has vegan options, this isn’t an issue (unless you are both gluten free and vegan, then depending on the restaurant your options may be slim to none). But, meeting up with friends or going to lunch with clients may leave you with one option, a bowl of lettuce. And if you are like me, you end up snacking on unhealthy things to fill you up. I also found that most restaurants lack plant-based protein options in substitution for chicken/meat/fish.
  • Avoiding dairy isn’t as simple as not drinking milk. Milk is an additive in a variety of foods from all-purpose flour blends to marinara sauce.

So whats the verdict? I don’t plan on sticking to a strictly vegan diet, but I do plan on making some changes to my day-to-day eating habits.

  • Avoid dairy as much as possible. Use alternatives like Almond Milk, Dairy-Free cheese and Kite Hill Almond based products when possible. Think twice before ordering cheese on everything.
  • Avoid dairy additives. Check the ingredients and try to buy products without dairy additives.
  • Substitute plant-based protein on occasion. Swap out meat/fish/chicken for tofu or beans. This doesn’t mean that I’m not going to eat meat/fish/chicken – just wouldn’t hurt to mix it up sometimes!
  • Use plant-based protein powder. I’m loving Vega Plant-Based Protein Powder (I’ve tried chocolate and vanilla).

Vegan was a great way to reset my body and I highly recommend giving it a try. 

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