Back in August, I decided to give a plant-based (or vegan) diet a try, and in the months since then I’ve been intentionally quiet about it here on my blog because I wanted to test the waters a bit. After about five months into this new eating style, though, I’m loving it, and I’m ready to talk about it.
Y’all know I love to make lists, so I’ve organized this post in that fashion. I’ve tried to be pretty comprehensive, so if you’re looking for brevity this isn’t the post for you! I’ve been working on this post for a while, though, and wanted to address this dietary choice of mine from several angles.
Ready? Let’s talk plant-based diets!:
- I’m not an expert. Let’s just start here, shall we? I’m not an expert by any means. I’m not trained in nutrition or any health-related field, and I certainly don’t have all the answers. That’s what’s been a fun part of these past five-ish months (and the months leading up to them), though — digging into health and wellness and the environment and how the foods we eat are so very tied to those things. I’m certainly far more informed than I was a few months ago — and I continue to learn more and more — but an expert I am not.
- Having Maggie was what instigated this dietary change for me. Or, rather, breastfeeding Maggie was what instigated this dietary change for me. I began to consider the vast amounts of hormones — good and bad — that she was ingesting through my milk, and it made me start to think about the hormones that similarly exist in cow’s milk. (Except, unlike human hormones, those hormones are by and meant for a cow.) After starting to think more about this, I began digging into the world of veganism and now, well, here I am! (But no, we aren’t raising Maggie vegan, in case you’re interested.)
- I never thought I’d be a vegan, but here I am! Guess the old “never say never” adage is true in this case.
- Don’t worry — I’m getting enough protein, calcium, etc. As it turns out, most Americans eat far more protein than they actually need, and so I’m getting plenty of it from plant-based sources like beans, nuts, etc. Oh, and calcium? Not to fear — leafy greens to the rescue! (After all, cows don’t produce calcium. The reason cow’s milk has calcium in it is due to the grass they eat!)
- Yep. Now I’m one of “those people.” One thing that really worried me — and delayed me — about switching to a vegan diet was being “that person” at events. Now I would officially be high maintenance when it came to food, especially when eating at other people’s homes. I’m never someone who wants to be the center of attention, nor do I want to be difficult, so this was a really tricky piece for me. I considered just being vegan at home/when I had control over the situation, but the more I read about it the more I wanted to be fully on board, all the time. So I went for it, knowing that by doing so I’d be making myself a much more difficult guest (although I try to still be accommodating, so please don’t stop inviting me over)!
- But don’t worry — I’m not going to bully anyone else into eating this way. I think this is best for me, but I’m also a big believer in personalization and finding what works for YOU and your body. I’m totally open to talking about veganism (my choice to become a vegan, favorite recipes/substitutions, etc.), but usually won’t do that unless I’m asked or it comes up naturally. We’ve all been around those obnoxious, holier than thou people who think their way of doing a thing — whatever that “thing” may be — is the very best and only way to do that thing. Yeah…that’s not my style.
- It honestly wasn’t that hard of a transition for me. Everyone’s different, of course, but this wasn’t a difficult transition for me at all, actually. I was eating meat regularly before August, but had largely cut out dairy and didn’t ever looooove cheese. (I liked it a lot — don’t get me wrong! — but I can live without cheese, which I know is hard for some people.) Removing meat wasn’t a problem at all. I honestly feel like this is the way I was always meant to eat. (Such a hippie thing to say, I realize.)
- I’ve loved learning new ways to cook — and especially bake — as a result of this change. Bring on the flax eggs, aquafaba, dairy-free chocolate chips, and coconut oil!
- I’m not perfect, and I don’t sweat it. It’s hard to know EXACTLY what’s in everything you order at a restaurant, for example, and so I try to make good choices but also try NOT to be super high maintenance about it. Obviously meat is pretty easy to avoid completely, but dairy and eggs can be trickier. I’m not going to be militant about the whole thing. (Oh, and I also eat honey.)
- Kevin has been SO supportive. This dietary shift for me has had an impact on him, too, after all. He still is very much NOT a vegan, but has been supportive of this change I’ve chosen to make. A lot of times, we’ll make a vegan entree (something like stir fry over cauliflower rice, for example, or chickpea pasta) and then he’ll add meat to his portion.
- I have a few go-to resources at this point. These include Oh She Glows, Minimalist Baker, Forks Over Knives, and The Rich Roll Podcast, along with fellow vegan friends.
- I feel awesome. I have more than enough energy for all the things I want to do, and I feel healthy and strong and like my body is dealing really well with this way of eating. I love knowing that I’m avoiding the hormones that come with animal products, and it’s nice knowing I’m not contributing to the craziness that is meat production and the environmental impact it’s causing.
So yeah — that’s my big dietary news. What questions do you have? Do you have great vegan recipes to share with me? Who else is following a plant-based diet out there?