Letting Ron Swanson Down (Vegan Experiment, Day 5)

So here we are, 5 days into the Vegan experiment. It has actually been much easier than I had anticipated and I feel AMAZING. Seriously. Sometimes (prior to these past 5 days) when I eat a particularly greasy or unhealthy meal I will say, “Ugh, my body hates me,” when I finish. These past 5 days have been the complete opposite. After each meal I eat, I feel like my body is thanking me. I know that sounds so cheesy, but it’s as if I can just feel the nutrients coursing through my body!

I think part of why I had expected this experiment to be harder is because when I did the Sugar Free experiment a couple of years ago, I felt like I was dying a few days in. So I expected to feel the same way with this. I was going through major withdrawals and cravings. But there are no withdrawals from animal products and I’ve been surprised that I haven’t craved them either. I’ve been feeling satisfied with the tasty things I have been eating, so I haven’t wanted anything different. And I’ve been surprised that I haven’t felt hungry – I have felt full from what I have eaten throughout the day each day. I’ve been sure to get plenty of protein and healthy fats.

One thing that has really surprised me is that my milk supply has increased! As a breastfeeding mother, that was one concern I had going into this experiment – would it decrease my milk supply? But quite the contrary, 3 days in my milk supply had increased significantly! Dumbfounded by this, I texted Stacy and did some research. Apparently the foods you should eat to increase your milk supply are oats, green vegetables, and healthy fats (from olive oil, avocados, and coconut oil) – all of which I am eating quite a bit of, so I guess that explains it!

Oh also, days 2 and 3 I really felt the, umm, detoxing. I’ll leave it at that ;). But a plant – based, vegan diet will definitely regulate your digestive system!

Moving on.

Here are some things I’ve learned in just the past 5 days:

– Planning ahead really helps. With the craziness of taking care of two littles everyday, I knew that if I didn’t plan well, this wasn’t going to work. I need to have things that I can grab and eat, and things that are fast and simple to prepare. Stacy really helped with this. I used some meal planning sheets that she gave me, and planned out two weeks worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. That way I know ahead of time how much time it will take to prepare the meals I have planned, I can make some things in advance so that they are just on hand when I need them, and I don’t have to waste time or get discouraged trying to figure out what to eat each day.
– Always keep snacks on hand! I have made sure to always keep nuts, fruit, and larabars or vegan protein bars in my purse. That way if I’m hungry while I’m out, I’m not tempted to buy food on the go but it also assures that I won’t end up hungry (which is very important to me since I’m nursing).
– If you plan on meeting people out at a restaurant, look at the menu ahead of time and figure out what you can eat. If there aren’t really any options, eat something before you go. We went out to Applebee’s for my sister-in-law’s birthday, and there were exactly two items on the menu that passed the vegan test:

Sweet potato fries and chips with salsa. So, that was my dinner! Not very filling, or healthy. Which leads me to the next thing:
– “Vegan” doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. I could eat Oreo’s (yes, they are vegan!), french fries, and coke everyday and still technically be vegan. But the goal is not to simply avoid animal products, the goal is to eat a more whole foods, plant heavy diet. It’s not as much about what you don’t eat, but what you do eat. I’ve had to remind myself of this because, trust me, I am an expert at finding loopholes ;).
– While it’s not super cheap to eat this way, it also isn’t as expensive as I thought. Turns out animal products can be pretty expensive so cutting them out helps the grocery bill!

Favorite things I’ve eaten so far:

These honey lime sweet potato & black bean tacos, just without the cheese & sour cream. So delicious! Jordan loves them too.

Creamy Avocado Pasta from Oh She Glows

Overnight oats for breakfast the next day (here are some recipes that Stacy recommends)

For a quick, simple DELICIOUS meal – I discovered Trader Joes falafel (in the frozen section), stuffed it in whole wheat pita pockets with sliced cucumbers, kalamata olives, and Trader Joes Mediterranean hummus. Yum! As a mother of two, I always need some easy go- to meals that I can throw together on a whim, and this one is a winner!

So overall the vegan experiment summary (thus far) is that I love it!

I’m sorry to let you down, Ron Swanson.

"Would you like to sample our vegan bacon?  100% meatless."
“Would you like to sample our vegan bacon? 100% meatless.”