When I first set out on my 7 day vegan challenge, the question I was itching to answer most was: Does being a vegan really increase your energy and make you feel better? Not too long ago I had an interaction with a man at work who swore that converting to vegan cured his joint pain, helped him to sleep better at night, and made him feel much more energized. Similar accounts are found all over the internet. Thus, I was excited to feel for myself.
At the beginning of the week, I did feel slightly more energized than normal, and exceptionally healthier. But, I couldn’t tell whether the effect was physical, or just my mind believing that’s how I was supposed to feel. Towards the end of the week, I began to feel increasingly tired, which I believe was caused by 1) the nonstop rain and 2) my unwillingness to cook a proper meal. My lethargy lead me to an important conclusion: Vegan doesn’t mean healthy! In actuality, there are many junk foods that are accidentally vegan, such as potato chips and cereal. Unfortunately, on Friday I decided that a bag of Terra’s sweet potato chips and delicious vegan ice cream from DF Mavens on St Marks would suffice for dinner. Their vegan ice cream is made out of a coconut base and comes in many different flavors. The next night I tried ice cream from Blythe Ann’s on 6th Street, which was possibly even more delicious, and made out of a cashew base. For the first time in my life, I was able to eat a giant ice cream cone and not have a stomach ache afterwards!
Veganism is not just a diet, but a way of life
It is very easy to cook vegan for yourself, but as soon as you leave your home it becomes increasingly difficult. Also, when you’re a self-proclaimed foodie like me, it can be mildly depressing turning away new exotic foods. Thus, success requires that the reason you choose vegan be much larger than food alone. Most individuals choose vegan because they believe it is the most compassionate and ethical diet for animals/the earth; and I agree. Documentaries like Food Inc, have made it increasingly easy for the general public to see the corruption in American Agribusiness. If you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend you read this compelling article about animal torture and infanticide and why the dairy business is a feminist issue.
Although I do not plan to commit to a vegan diet, I have a new found appreciation for vegans’ diligence and ethics. The 7 day vegan challenge has taught me much more than I had ever expected. I can’t help, but to think of meat and dairy differently now that I know there are cleaner and just as filling plant-based options. I have learned that a vegan diet can be nutritious, doable, refreshing, and energizing knowing you are standing up for your beliefs.
Other homemade vegan eats:
This spiralizer was the best $20 ever spent!
Shredded beets in homemade Thai-style peanut sauce
Garden salad with sprouts, peas, carrots, hummus, and tempeh
Polish vegan meal (cabbage, beets, radish, carrots, and potatoes) at Pete’s brother Mark’s high school graduation party; Congrats Mark!