We are officially more than a week into 2019 which means it’s time to act on all those resolutions! Along with most people, one of my resolutions was to exercise more and eat healthier. Last year, I decided to start the year off by going vegan for a month, and I liked it so much that I decided to do it again! I know a vegan diet may sound intimidating to most of you (hello, no cheese??) but I promise it’s doable! It’s always easier knowing you’re not alone, though, so that’s why I’m here to share my experience with it.
First off, I should start by saying I’m already a full-time vegetarian. A vegan diet means cutting out any products that come from an animal, so since I already don’t eat meat, going vegan for me means also cutting out dairy and eggs. So now you’re probably thinking, “so what can you eat?!” Actually, it’s never been easier to go vegan since most grocery stores and restaurants today offer tons of non-dairy and non-meat substitutes. But before I get into what I eat, I want to talk about why I’m doing it.
There are plenty of great reasons for someone to go vegan – animal rights, environmental benefits, and many more! But for me, the main reason I wanted to start off the year going vegan was the health benefits. I’ve never really been into trying trendy diets, but I do think it’s important to eat healthy. By going vegan, it was a way to make sure I was putting good things in my body. When I did it last year, I definitely felt a difference in my level of energy and overall mood.
Now I’m not saying that vegan = healthy (french fries are vegan!) but by cutting out dairy and eggs, it prevents me from eating a lot of the unhealthy “treat myself” foods in my diet. For example, in NYC there’s a pizza shop on just about every corner, and when you can buy pizza by the slice it’s all too tempting to stop in for a quick bite while you’re out and about. But if I’m on a vegan diet, it’s the perfect excuse to stop myself from doing that. Another one of my weaknesses are bagel sandwiches with egg and cheese. On the vegan diet? No more of those! The vegan diet doesn’t necessarily prevent me from sugar or desserts, but when someone has a birthday at work and there’s a whole cake in the kitchen, it’s a good excuse to say no.
So now that I’ve talked about what I CAN’T eat, let’s talk about what I CAN. Part of the reason I enjoyed going vegan so much last year is because it forced me to look up new recipes to try. There are soo many good recipes on the internet, I have lots of fun planning out my meals! So far this month for breakfast I’ve been having toast with some type of nut butter, or avocado toast (I use the Sprouted 7-Grain bread from Trader Joe’s). For lunch I’ve been bringing a Mediterranean salad with roasted chickpeas (for protein) with a side of roasted sweet potatoes (to help keep me full). For dinner, I’ve been making a burrito bowl with guacamole, or zucchini noodles with this vegan pesto and a side of balsamic maple glazed tempeh. This is just a few ideas, but I’ll definitely keep sharing recipes as the month goes on!
So at this point you may be wondering “if you love being vegan so much, why don’t you stick with it for good?” Well, as much as I love doing it for a month, I have a hard time with the idea that I could never eat pizza, ice cream, or my beloved bagel, egg, and cheese again. After all, we all need to treat ourselves from time to time, right? That being said, since last January I have definitely cut back on my dairy consumption. For example, I stopped putting cheese in my salads, I stopped using butter in my cooking, and I discovered how delicious the almond milk ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s is! So although I didn’t stay vegan full-time, I incorporated some better habits into my full-time diet.
I know that post was a long one (thanks for sticking with me!) but I’ve been getting so many questions about Vegan-January that I wanted to get on here and share my thoughts! If you have any other specific questions or want some more recipe ideas, please feel free to comment below or DM me on Instagram @mystoryinstyle. I always love talking about food!