Thursday, July 27, 2017

Real Quest » Thoughts During My First Week of Veganism

/I'm going to cut someone if I don't have some coffee/

I know you're thinking... Ellen. Coffee is vegan. Why did you try to give that up, too?

What can I say, but it was three days of foolishness? The book I was using to help me transition was DL anti-pharmaceuticals/stimulants/depressants, and they had a large chunk of the book devoted to shaming coffee addicts. I was throwing out so much of my diet anyway, I was like, what's another thing on top of it all? Bye, coffee!

So far, aside from a wistful moment of saying farewell to nutty, salty parmesan goodness, I haven't been craving animal products. But on my third day of transitioning, I felt BAD. I mean, totally bleak. I had a headache and I wanted to murder people on the street. I was buying earbuds in Target when I passed the bottled drink section and remembered that I hadn't had coffee in THREE DAMN DAYS. Immediately, I caved and bought a chilled espresso with soymilk. It was fucking HEAVEN. I immediately felt AWESOME.

So, I'm addicted to coffee. But I only drink about 1.525 cups a day, on average, and always before 4pm. It helps me focus. It helps me write. It helps me not run red lights by accident. I'm keeping my coffee.

/Isn't this supposed to be harder?/

I know, I know. I'm only on day four of going vegan. I have a lifetime of challenges ahead of me, because I do intend for this to be a lifetime thing. But, I'm really lucky in three things, I think.

First — I do not have a sweet tooth. I don't crave baked goods, with all of their butter, milk, and eggs. 

Second — I was a vegetarian for two years when I was seventeen and eighteen. I think my body remembers what it's like to not eat meat. 

Third — I'm a decent cook and have been exposed to lots of different produce and spices throughout my life.

I've been eating a ton of spreads on toast. Guacamole and tomato on toast. Mashed beans and olive oil on toast. And then I sprinkle it all with cumin and paprika. It's so flavorful and delicious. My taste buds are really happy so far because spices make a huge difference.

Tonight I'm having marinated portobello burgers. It's going to be transcendent, and I'm going to eat two, because this isn't a fucking diet. 

/Yeah, this isn't a fucking diet!/

I have not been restricting myself. I eat when I'm hungry and I'm eating even when I'm not hungry, because I want to. Eating is fun. But my body already feels different. It's been four days, but I swear, my body feels more... elastic. My waist is starting to reverse-pop. 

So, even though I'm giving up a ton of things, I don't want to view my new veganism as a diet. This isn't a drill; I plan on this being a very long-term thing. So I'm going to have fun with it. 

/This time, I'm not living with carnivores/

This is going to make a huge difference. When I went vegetarian as a teenager, I lived at home and my parents and family eat meat. Enthusiastically. I got so tired of only having side dishes all the time at family dinners. I stopped being a vegetarian because it was hard being around delicious smelling meat all the time and not having it.

But now, I can veganize my environment and make sure that my fridge is lifestyle-friendly.

/I was such a dumbass teenager/

Back when I was a vegetarian, I got a vitamin deficiency, because I did not do my research well enough. I didn't eat enough dark greens to get iron. I didn't eat enough fruit to get those A, B, and C vitamins. I didn't eat a well-balanced, range of produce, grains, nuts, and seeds to get my full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. I didn't take supplements. I DIDN'T TAKE SUPPLEMENTS.

This time, I'm going in with much better information. I know that the only vitamin — THE ONLY VITAMIN — we need that can't be gotten through a vegan diet, is B12. I'm taking the supplement already. Bam. 

I'm also getting periodic bloodwork done and if it shows that I'm not getting enough of something important, I'll adjust and not just give up.

/I'm not having meals, I'm having snacks/

Because plant-based foods have way fewer calories than animal products, you need to up your volume of consumption when going vegetarian or vegan. The idea is to not feel run down and starving. 

Because of that, I'm snacking constantly throughout the day. I'll have an apple with nut butter one hour and a banana with nut butter the next. After that I'll get really hangry, so I'll make myself a vegan sandwich and chips. 

So far, lunch and dinner is when I have a more elaborate meal and try to get in some robust vegetables. But then, thirty minutes later, I'm ready for another snack. 

/Potato chips are vegan/

Could I have gone vegan if my favorite food wasn't on the menu any longer? Possibly. But I'm lucky enough that my favorite food — potatoes (particularly fried potatoes) — are vegan. True, they are vegan junk food, but still vegan. 

Yesterday, when I was feeling quite low because of my coffee withdrawal, I paired my icy soymilk and espresso with some potato chips. It wasn't healthy. But it made me feel so. damn. good. 

And that's the thing. Just because I'm going vegan, it doesn't mean I can't still eat junk occasionally. Plain, old popcorn is vegan. Bread is vegan. Pasta is vegan. Corn is vegan. Oil is vegan. Salt is vegan. VEGANS CAN EAT JUNK FOOD!

/Oh my God... Books are not vegan!/

Guys... physical books aren't vegan. They're made with animal products... GLUE. That makes me sad. It really does. I guess I can stop feeling guilty for preferring ebooks now.


  1. Change is definitely hard but it sounds like you are doing really well with it! Good luck with everything!!

  2. Thanks so much, Ali!

  3. I have been on quite the fitness/healthy journey for the last two months so I know the struggle.

    Coffee, however, is something I could never give up.
    Good on you, Ellen!

  4. I've been following your progress! You've been working your tail off! Definitely an inspiration. Here's to our mutual health journeys.