Dietitian Gone Vegan – Part 3

Day 6

Today was the day that I started fantasizing about the foods I want to eat after I’m finished my little experiment.  To this point I haven’t thought too much about this sort of thing, but for whatever reason it really hit me today.  The funny thing is that it isn’t so much the meat I miss, it’s the dairy (yogurt and cheese mostly).

Breakfast was more of the same (oatmeal & fruit) and I basically skipped lunch in favour of snacks throughout the late morning/afternoon.

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For dinner my wife made a variation on a staple meal in our home.  The original recipe is from Jamie Oliver for Moroccan Lamb with Couscous, however we substituted tofu for the meat and skipped the yogurt.  The tofu wasn’t bad in this recipe (although it could’ve used more seasoning that we gave it), but the dish certainly wasn’t as good as the original.

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Day 7

My wife did something special for me for breakfast today and made me an awesome meal of vegan blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and fresh fruit.  This is another of the few recipes I could see doing again (provided we actually have almond/soy milk in the house!).

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Again, breakfast was late so I didn’t really eat again until dinner.  For my final vegan meal I went back to Jamie Oliver for a Sweet Potato, Spinach and Chickpea Curry.  It sounded pretty fantastic and looked great, but unfortunately just didn’t do it for me.  It could’ve been because it was quite similar to dinner from the previous night but it was probably my least favorite meal of the week.  It was pretty bland and the absence of meat in this dish was really apparent.  Overall, very blah.

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Recipe – Sweet Potato, Chickpea & Spinach Curry

Overall impressions

I think it’s safe to say I won’t be going vegan again anytime soon, but that’s not to say that there aren’t benefits for doing so.  A few notable pros that I experienced were the lower cost of food and abundance of fresh fruit/vegetables and legumes in my diet.  One of my bigger concerns going into this experiment was that I would feel hungry all the time and aside from a few exceptions that wasn’t really the case.  I also felt no ill effects as I continued my regular workout schedule.

The biggest thing I felt upon completion of the week was a sense of relief.   I’m definitely glad I did it, but I’m happy it’s over.  I have a great deal of respect for people who choose to live this way but a vegan lifestyle just isn’t for me. For me, veganism is just too restrictive. I’m someone who really enjoys good food and I found it difficult to be forced to rely on subpar alternatives to meat, dairy and eggs.   Another drawback I found was the time consuming nature of menu planning, shopping and cooking (although I readily admit this would lessen as I got more accustomed to the diet).

In my opinion if you’re considering going vegan, you need to examine the reasons why you’re doing so.  If it’s related to an opposition of the exploitation of animals, than by all means go for it.  It can be a perfectly healthy way to eat while still satisfying that goal.  That said, I would probably suggest a more gradual transition than what I did.  Perhaps just start by eliminating meat for a few weeks, then move on towards limiting dairy, eggs, etc.

However, if health or the environment is your primary motivation, veganism probably wouldn’t be the first option I would recommend.  After all, it is certainly possible to eat healthy and sustainably while still including animal products in your diet.  I’m a big believer in the notion that long-term lifestyle changes are best done in small increments and for most people veganism is anything but a small change from their current lifestyle.

Finally, I did keep a complete diet record for the week.  In my next post I will highlight and interpret some of my results.

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