I recently joined Sixth Street Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) on 6th St and Avenue C! For those of you who don’t know, CSA refers to a network of individuals who pledge to support local farms by paying in advance for a share of the anticipated harvest. In exchange for an upfront sum of $445, I receive a “half share” of 8lbs of produce a week for 24 weeks (between June 9 and November 17, 2015). Not having a suitable gauge of what 8lbs of produce looks like, I assumed it would be a reasonable amount, and I could probably finish it all in one week’s time. I was also excited to be forced to try new foods and recipes. Well, 3 weeks into my CSA, I feel literally buried alive by vegetables. How am I supposed to consume:
- 2 beets
- 3 onions
- 2 heads of kale
- 1 head of arugula
- 1 bundle of radishes
- 1 bundle of chives
- 3 bundles of lettuce (lots of varieties artisan)
..in just 7 days, or until my next pick-up? My first solution was to buy a Nutribullet. Which, I did and it has been a great success. Blending my kale & beets, really helps the pile decrease. Nevertheless, a bunch of my produce still ends up going to waste, which I feel really guilty about…
Thus, in an attempt to eat my entire half share in just one week, this Monday I am signing up for the 7 Day Vegan challenge! For a whole week I will eat a plant based diet void of meats/ dairy and blog about it, so that you can all hold me accountable!
Is a vegan diet healthier?
There are two opposing sides when it comes to veganism. Opponents who argue that meat and dairy products are the most efficient way to give the body the nutrients it needs. 2) Proponents who argue that plant-based foods have plenty of protein and calcium, and a diet which avoids animal-source foods can dramatically improve health. For more detail- read this WSJ article Would We Be Healthier With a Vegan Diet?
Because I just plan to eat vegan for just one week, I don’t expect to see any dramatic results. My main objective is to answer the following questions:
- How doable is a vegan diet for young professionals living and working in NYC?
- Does being a vegan really increase your energy and make you feel better?
- How easy is it to get enough protein and calcium while eating vegan?
What do vegans eat?
Day 1: Take a look at what I have eaten so far: Breakfast: Green smoothie with Kale, berries, almond butter, & almond milk (11 grams of protein, 63% calcium)
Lunch: Salad, radish, carrot, avocado, olive, and Trader Joe’s falafel with a homemade tahini salad dressing (13 grams of protein, 12% calcium)
Snacks: Cherries & almonds (8 grams of protein, 10% calcium)
Dinner: Delicious Vegan seitan fajitas (43 grams of protein, 10% calcium)
Totals: 75 grams of protein, 95% calcium (950mg)
How did I do?
According to the Interactive DRI for Healthcare Professionals tool, my daily nutrient needs based on my age, weight, height, and activity level are 43 grams of protein and 1000mg of calcium. I am surprised to see that I doubled my protein needs, and easily met my calcium goal by eating vegan!
Day 1 conclusion:
The vegan diet has caused me to become more aware of my protein and calcium needs. In turn, I actively sought high protein and calcium plant-based foods, and was able to meet my dietary needs better than I would have on a normal eating day.