Vegan Month: First Week

Vegan Month is officially over.

This was not my first time attempting to go fully vegan. I held out for three weeks last year, but came to the conclusion that a life without cheese fries was pure torture. My decision was also affirmed when I heard Erykah Badu publicly state on The Breakfast Club that she was a vegetarian, and not a vegan as everyone expected.  If Ms. Badu didn’t see anything wrong with vegetarianism, then all was well in the world.

It should be noted that I am vegetarian that consumes a great deal of vegan foods. My vegan meals only become vegetarian when I add dairy products. I stopped eating meat for health reasons, but later find that being a vegetarian was less expensive and morally rewarding. My diet is mostly 75% vegan/35% vegetarian. So essentially, I wanted to commit to giving up dairy products.

In preparation for the first week of being dairy-less, I knew that I would not make it if the food was not delicious. I was not going to survive solely on salads and veggies. I needed flavor, especially since I was giving up cheese and butter. The first week started off with a vegan burrito bowl which was filled with so much flavor.

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Yummy Vegan Burrito Bowl

The bowl consisted of Mahatma Spanish rice, black beans, roasted zucchini with cayenne pepper and chipotle salsa. Instead of tortilla chips, I used quinoa and black bean chips from Trader Joe’s.

I was able to prep this meal for four days; one meal a day for either lunch or dinner. I also ate sandwiches when I was not eating this and breakfast consisted of oatmeal and coffee.

Towards the end of the week I meal prepped again to prepare for the weekend. Being a big fan of curry, I decided to make a curry lentil rice and paired it with broccoli and rutabaga.

The enthusiasm, however, was not the same; I was not looking forward to the next four days.

My comfort foods are pizza and cheese fries and I proudly eat both at least once a week. I attempted and failed at eating the Daiya spinach and mushroom dairy-free pizza, only getting through one slice after numbing my taste buds with Sriracha sauce.  Even though the benefits of not eating cheese was evident (no bloating or stomach cramps), I rather live with the consequences.

The fall from grace, started on Friday at happy hour. Although I ordered a salad without the blue cheese, the waiter really sold the tzatziki-feta dressing. Next thing I knew, I was dipping my fries in ranch. The next day I overindulged on macaroni and cheese at a wedding and ended the weekend with ques0 and tortilla chips for dinner.

Even though vegan month was clearly over, I started the Monday off with one of the meals I prepped for the weekend. I had stored them in the freezer which made for healthier microwavable lunches and dinners. I also had no other options because my refrigerator was filled with vegan-friendly groceries.

My vegan friends may shun my choices and the meat-eaters may rejoice, however, I choose not to care. Life is short and someone will always find errors in your actions no matter how you live. After writing Comparing Yourself with Yourself, I was able to reflect on this month’s challenge and saw that being a vegan was not my personal goal. I’m completely content with my 75/35 lifestyle and will not change for anyone.

Sure vegan pancakes for breakfast, real-cheese pizza for lunch and a vegan burrito bowl for dinner may not make sense to some people. My meal choices, however, will always make sense to me.

Author: Chris.Marie

Freelance Writer & Editor

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