Wednesday, February 22nd through Sunday the 8th of April, 47 total days; no meat, diary, or animal bi-products of any kind.
That was the vegan challenge and I have made it to the end and now can tell the complete tale.
At no point did I break character and consume anything that had any animal or animal bi-products, whether it be food or drink or medicine (most aspirin has a gelatin coating).
What I learned:
The world is not Vegan-Friendly: Being a vegetarian is hard enough trying to find supermarket products and restaurants that have a decent selection of meat alternatives, but when you’re vegan, people think that you are crazy by the number or labels you have to read.
The most surprising thing is the number of times people remind of what you can’t eat. Example: ‘You’re vegan? So you can’t eat meat? Not even bacon?!?!?’
You feel a lot healthier as a vegan, but you need to eat a lot more: In total I dropped about 8-10 pounds (3/4ths of a stone) through the challenge, but the first week and a half of the challenge I thought that I could take on anything.
I felt great and was full of energy, but as my body ran out of my meat-reserves I ran out of energy faster and needed to eat a lot more food, more frequently. Because of this I had to reduce my work-outs and runs, which was a disappointment because this all started with that article on Vegan Body-builders.
Being vegan changes you, mentally and biologically: As I said in another post, my metabolism runs on overdrive as a vegan and this was one of the strangest parts of the diet cause it makes you feel a lot hotter.
Mentally, every once in a while I would just sit and not want to do anything, but read. It mainly happened if I ate a lot of similar dishes over the course of two days or didn’t have enough fruit.
Vegans can have some awesome desserts: Seriously check out vegan brownies, raw chocolate and vegan custard with apple pie.
What I will carry on:
No more dairy for Albert: I should already do this because I’m lactose intolerant, but I now realise how much a trace amount of dairy affects my stomach. Therefore, dairy and I need to part ways
Falafels from the “Falafel King” are a gift from the heavens: Whenever I needed a lot of food, fast during a “vegan-funk” I would walk down the street to “the King” near my apartment for a huge ‘Falafel in a Lafta’ and a Turkish coffee. After which I would feel like the master of my domain. Seriously, that meal was my life’s blood during this challenge.
My cooking has (hopefully) improved: Up until the middle of the last week I regularly cooked for myself (or Lizzi would cook for me. Thank you!) instead of eating at Falafel King every night.
My goal with vegan cook wasn’t so much about learning to cook specific dishes but learning about the tastes and effects of different ingredients, especially herbs and spices. My favorites over the past 47 days were celery salt, sage, lemon juice and olive oil for frying vegetables (especially onions and zucchini), using tea to boil rice (green tea works the best) and how to make a mean beet and mushroom burger.
Being a vegan was really fun and enjoyable, but I will be eating meat again.
It’s not that I miss or crave a steak, rather I feel like we need to eat small amounts of meat from a biological stand point (plus I need to put some weight back on); however, I will only use and eat local, ethically raised and sustainably sourced meat and fish
I respect vegans and vegetarians a lot more and understand the difficulties of sticking to your guns when most of the world just shakes a burger in your face.
So thanks for joining me on the vegan journey.
Now for the next challenge: Once a week I’m going to try to “cook” only raw-vegan foods, but more on that later.