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Buh-bye Bacon, Hello Vegan: My Month-long Vegan Experiment

Buh-bye bacon, hello vegan.This month, starting on Monday, I’ll be trying out veganism. Since the main character in my book is vegan, I’ve been meaning to try out the vegan lifestyle to really get into her head. Plus, I’m an animal lover; I understand that animals are intelligent and feel pain, and I’m interested in sustainability (meat production is a source of greenhouse gas, dontcha know), so being forced to really examine my diet and where it comes from won’t be in vain. I’ll learn some new techniques to have a more sustainable, earth-friendly, animal friendly-diet, I hope. Sure, we could argue over whether animals raised for consumption have rights, or whether or not being vegan or vegetarian makes sense (especially considering that recent research suggests that plants feel pain too), but I’m trying out the vegan thing regardless, purely as an experiment.

All that said, I love bacon, and saying goodbye is going to suck. Sunday mornings might kill me when I drive past a breakfast joint and smell that salty, meaty goodness. I’ll have to be strong. In this battle against being seduced by bacon, eggs, meat, and cheese, being prepared will be everything. Worse, I’m intolerant of soy and wheat, the staple proteins of some vegan diets. If I don’t plan ahead, I’ll be miserable and starving. Seriously, you don’t want me to cross over into Cranky Bitch territory. It’s so not pretty.

I asked friends to help me and recommend some information, lest I be clueless. It’s a good thing I did. I learned that vegans can develop some serious deficiencies affecting general health and tooth health, so it’s extra important to be prepared. I bought a long list of vegan supplements to make sure I wasn’t injuring myself during this experiment. I was also worried about getting enough protein. But it turns out you can absolutely get sufficient plant-based protein without eating soy or seitan (wheat gluten). Greens like kale or spinach, nuts, lentils, beans, peas, hemp seeds, and quinoa are all excellent sources. The thing with beans, though, is they have to be soaked in order to properly access the nutrients. I’ll have to stay one step ahead of myself and constantly plan ahead so I’m not eating bags of chips or bagged salad out of desperation, but I think I can do this.

Meanwhile, I’ll be blogging about my experience, the triumphs and the fumbles, the moments where my husband might wave a crispy bacon strip in my face to test my resolve. I might occasionally create some fun recipes of my own, vegan recipes using solely shelf-stable food. I’ll call them “Vegan for the Zombie Apocalypse.” The main character in my book would want to stick to her principles during the unthinkable, so, I’m going to pretend I’m doing the same.

Well, guys, wish me luck. One more thing: please, please, please don’t eat bacon in front of me this month. Because bacon is the gateway meat, the first stumble down a slippery slope.

7 comments on “Buh-bye Bacon, Hello Vegan: My Month-long Vegan Experiment

  1. Do you have a pressure cooker? I use that to cook my beans. Or you can just buy them canned. I think the people that get all weird about the nutrition stuff are just putting their anxieties on you. The only thing you really have to worry about is B12, which your body stores, and no one really seems to know how much you need. Also, you can get it from nutritional yeast. Which is super delicious, especially on popcorn.

    For one month, you will be fine. Protein is in everything. I think the World Health Organization (WHO) says you should get 3% of your calories a day from protein. Americans eat waaaay too much protein. It’s hard on your kidneys, among other things.

    Um, I could go on. 😛

    • Hi Jill!

      Thanks for chiming in. I don’t have a pressure cooker, but glad you say that canned beans are ok. I’ve been getting lots of confusing/conflicting info saying that canned beans aren’t soaked properly, but, I’m really lazy, so I’d rather not soak if canned are, in fact, fine.

      And, yup, I’ve got a jar of nutritional yeast and have already been enjoying it. Pleased that it has lots of B vitamins.

      Also, re: the protein thing, I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I can get from veggie sources. For instance, I made a savory porridge this morning from hemp and chia and it had more fat and protein than 2 eggs, my usual morning brekkie. My hubs was surprised too. At any rate, I’m looking forward to continuing my experiment. So far, the first day is going well.

      Thanks for all the tips!

      • Yeah, I don’t know about that sprouted/whatever business. My girlfriend was vegan for like 15 years and she didn’t seem to be suffering from any nutritional deficits (she’s recently added cheese back in, as a treat, leading me to calling her a chee-gan).

        Sounds like you are well prepared and already enjoying your adventure. Chia seeds! 🙂

  2. Good for you! Animals are severely mistreated by the meat and dairy industries – so severely I cannot express it in words. A simple Google search will show you most things, if you’re feeling brave.

    I missed comfort food, when I went vegan. I’ve found that two cups of coconut cream and one of coconut milk (found in the UHT milk section of the grocery store) with a flat teaspoon of vanilla paste and 1/3 cup of maple syrup makes a divine icecream base for your icecream maker. You can melt dark chocolate into the mixture before you start, or crumble classic Oreo biscuits into it just before the machine finishes. And it is STILL healthier than bacon!

    Risottos are yummy when you first start out too – the trick is to brown the rice in oil before you cook. Then it will become a creamy texture with whatever you cook it in – stewed tomatoes, stock, leek sauce, anything.

    Falafel is also bursting with flavour, and simple to make. It’s in the chilled foods section. It becomes comfort food when ypou serve it to yourself with a rich tomato or creamy mushroom pasta bake <3

    Noodle stirfries saved my life. They saved my life. I have a whole family to cook for, and some of the foods we love to eat take three or four times longer to make now. Throw in ALL the things – cashew nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, all your favourite veggies, chopped up soy sausages (or tofu if you like it). It takes less than five minutes once you have the hang of it, and it's healthier than most of the meals I used to make before I changed my lifestyle.

    Good luck and I hope you stick with it! This month makes a difference to so many people – both to human beings toying with the idea of life without meat, and to the animals that are confined and slaughtered in the name of our taste buds. Stay strong! Well done!

    • Thank you, Rachael! I *so* appreciate you taking the time to tell me your story and give me all your great tips! I’m especially intrigued by falafel, I’m going to give that a shot very soon!

      So far, I’ve had to be very careful, as I’m allergic to onions, butternut squash, and can’t tolerate soy or wheat, but I’m getting there. Thanks again for chiming in, you’re an angel!

      Big hugs,
      -g

  3. I’m a vegan of five years and I’ve never needed supplements, my blood work is perfect! 🙂 I have a ton of vegan friends and all of them are the same…. I honestly don’t know any vegan who has vitamin deficiencies. Try reading The China Study and watching Forks Over Knives to learn more about the health aspects. 🙂 Good luck on your journey. 🙂

    • Hi Sez,

      Glad it has worked out for you thus far! Yes, a few others are saying that they have not needed supplements as well. Glad that people are able to live healthfully as a vegan.

      Thanks for chiming in!

      Have a great day!
      -g

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