Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What Have I Done?!

Its day 2 of my attempt to be vegan. No, that isn't a joke.

A few years ago I undertook becoming vegetarian and always explained to others that that meant I would still eat fish but no land animal meat. Byproducts such as dairy and eggs were still legal, though. I would laugh when they asked if I would ever be vegan-- the absence of all animal products in my diet. Yes, laugh.

I went off my vegetarian diet for about a year when I lived in Cambodia and in New York on my mission.

Then I came home and started working as a nanny in an organic house. The Mom I work for eats a strict Macrobiotic diet and keeps all organic and soy products in the house-- including soy butter, milk, mayonaise, etc. It took some getting used to, but necessity is the mother of invention, right? I eat lunch and snacks from their kitchen while I work, and you'll eat just about anything if you're hungry engough.

Turns out I really like soy milk! And you really can't tell the difference between butter and Smart Balance butter substitute. You can even get used to the odd products like soy mayonaise.

After talking to my boss during her lunch breaks about the health benefits of a stricter, vegetarian-inspired diet I felt inspired to take it back up. It's true that for however controversial or not my political reasons for being vegetarian were, no one could argue or deny that it just feels so much better to cut out so much hormones, waste, and chemicals that accompany meat. I feel physically lighter!

A couple months after that step I realized that my taste for heavy foods had changed. Don't get me wrong, dairy products and meat can be delicious and I don't fault anyone for eating them-- my system just couldn't take it anymore. I no longer craved pasta or bread items-- they started dragging me down. I woke up every morning with a stomach-ache from eating heavy foods and gradually cut them out, too! I still eat pasta and bread sometimes, but not as an entire menu like before. And out of convenience I continued eating the soy products at  work and started to really like them. Ben agrees that its healthier to live that way, and since I do the grocery shopping now we buy soy milk, etc. for our own apartment.

I love to cook and experiment so it's been really fun to find new food to try and ways to cook. I have to admit I'm sort of proud of some recipes I've developed. Turns out sweet potatoes are just as good without butter!

I have even experimented with other soy products-- soy sausage, beef crumbles (ground hamburger substitute), bean burgers, and tofu. I made an awesome spaghetti sauce from the beef crumbles and my mom couldn't tell the difference. I used soy sausage in a soup for dinner on Sunday and my family loved it and wanted the recipe.

So... after this long transition I finally have the taste and confidence to complete the transformation. What helped is that I also ordered a new bathing suit and realized that the better I feel the better I think I look. Hey, I don't want to be one of those couples who gets married and starts letting themselves go until all the wife wears is her husband's sweat pants! (No offense to anyone who lives that way, I just don't think it's my style.)

So yesterday I put all the chocolate in our apartment in the laundry room and bought additional soy substitute items (including candy. I can't help it, I have a sweet tooth.) from our health food store. I already have some serious cravings, even though I haven't really eaten much true daily items lately. Yikes... this is a long road. I feel like I've quit smoke cold turkey.

Wish me luck.


  1. I've recently switched to soy milk as well. I LOVE edamame so the milk can't be too bad, right?! I just read somewhere that dairy causes acne so although I'm not giving it all up (yet), I think it's totally worth the try!

  2. Its surprising how much damage dairy does do to our health! There are some advantages, though, so be sure to do some research and suppliment whatever you cut out. Soy products are a great alternative. It took me a long time to figure out soy products taste really different from different brands. I like MorningStar burgers, Smart Ground sausage and beef, and Silk ORIGINAL soy milk. I always hated soy milk because all I ever tried was vanilla... the flavor makes a HUGE difference! So don't give up on soy products if you really want to be healthier. Just be willing to try out a few :)

  3. You should check out this site:


    Not that you'll be mothering right off the bat, but she does a great job inspiring healthy eating in others.

    Oh, and the next time you're at Publix or Harris Teeter, look in the Asian food aisle for Sweet Thai Chili sauce. I fry up some tofu and pour on a few tablespoons of that and serve it over brown rice and it's perfection in a bowl. Have fun!

  4. That's so very interesting. I am not sure if I could EVER give up dairy. I love cheese way too much ha ha. However I do like to be aware of what I am eating and I definitely try to be healthy. Maybe one day I'll be ready to make the change? Course Justin would never do it with me. He's definitely a meat eater... Good luck!


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