Reflections on the Vegan Challenge: Bring on Steak
As the Vegan Challenge draws to a close, here are some of the things I learned.
My month-long vegan challenge is drawing to a close and several different emotions are rising to the surface: happiness is definitely a strong feeling that I have now (I can’t wait to eat meat again!) but a sense of accomplishment is also there.
I never thought I’d make it through a week, much less a month, and now it’s almost over. It’s a good feeling. With that said, I thought I’d reflect over the things I learned during the vegan challenge. And trust me; I learned a lot.
Being vegan is not easy.
During my regular life as an everything-tarian (did I just make that word up?), I was very accustomed to simply opening a menu and choosing whatever I wanted from the hundreds of selections with no regard to what it contained. As a vegan, that mindset had to change, and it was very difficult. In many cases, I was lucky to have more than one item to choose from on the menu. And while many restaurants are making their menu more accessible to those living on a plant-based diet, it is an extremely slow progression.
Veganism requires a lot of time in the kitchen.
I’ve lost count of how many onions, bell peppers and garlic I’ve chopped during this month. Let’s just say that I’ve spent more time in the kitchen this month than I have in my entire life. On the bright side, I’ve discovered that I’m a better chef than I originally thought. I feel more confident in the kitchen and I’m a near pro at improvising with ingredients on hand.
Veganism can be rewarding.
While I’m not a hardcore animal rights activist, I do care about the well-being of living creatures. Knowing that I was doing a small part to prevent at least one animal from being needlessly slaughtered made me feel pretty good. Imagine the impact that would be made if everyone decided to go vegan for a month, or even just a week.
Veganism can be extremely healthy…
During this month, I consumed a lot of beans, tofu, grains and vegetables. Eating fresh food really does make a difference in how you feel. After eating a vegan meal, I felt refreshed and energized instead of heavy and weighed down. Many vegan products are much healthier than their non-vegan counterparts, as well. Don’t believe me? The next time you’re at the grocery store, compare the label on a gallon of whole milk compared to a gallon of soy milk. The difference in fat and calories will astound you.
…or very unhealthy.
Just because something is vegan doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy. Whole Foods Market has a wide variety of vegan junk food that, while tasty, is nowhere near healthy. Vegan cookies? Check. Vegan ice cream? Check. There are even vegan chocolate chips!
So the question remains: would I do it again? As a self-proclaimed food fanatic, I have to say no. While I do respect those that choose the path of vegetarianism or veganism, it’s a diet that is simply not for me. I do, however, plan on incorporating a few vegan items into my everyday diet such as soy milk and vegan butter.
In the meantime, I do have a few more days left in the vegan challenge. I plan to make the most out of these days, but I will also be counting down the days until April 1, when I can gobble down as much meat as I desire.
Bring on steak.
Did you miss the first few installments of Foodie Finds: The Vegan Challenge? Here they are: