For those of you coming to my blog for the first time, on Monday I started a month-long vegan experiment to get in the head of the main character of my forthcoming book, VEGAN TEENAGE ZOMBIE HUNTRESS.
On my third day in, I’m proud to report that so far, I haven’t caved and eaten a single, solitary animal product. Not an ounce of cheese. Not a strip of bacon. Nary a meatball. Zip. Nada. Zilch.
And I’m pleasantly surprised — I thought I’d be constantly hungry (I’m not) and tired (I’m not). My lack of hunger is especially shocking considering I don’t eat wheat products or most grains due to intolerances, making the occasional exception for rice. I also don’t eat soy, because it makes me sick. So, my diet before the vegan experiment was already pretty limited, compared to most people. That said, since eliminating meat, fish, and cheese, I’ve been 100% satisfied eating veggies, nuts, and legumes alone. I haven’t had the urge to snack before lunch, which I did every day before the vegan experiment. I haven’t had the urge to snack at night either, which is really unusual. The only thing that has stayed the same is that I do still get hungry around 4 or 5 p.m. But otherwise, my overall snacking has gone down.
So, what the hell happened? How is it that I— a lifelong snacker—haven’t been snacking like crazy?
Well, I think that by doubling my veggie intake, I’ve also doubled my fiber intake, and that has helped me feel full. Fiber also helps regulate blood sugar levels, which explains why I haven’t been having crazy blood sugar spikes.
I know what you’re about to say next: Are you eating cardboard every morning?
Nope. I’ve been eating surprisingly tasty food. For instance, one of my new breakfast faves is the smoothie. By making sure enough fat and protein go into the smoothie, and fruit and veggies for vitamins and fiber, I’ve been satisfied until lunch, which I never expected. I thought I’d be starving after an hour, but that hasn’t been the case. Take this one, for instance (pictured below). Take half an avocado, a handful of spinach, a handful of baby kale, a whole banana, half a cup of almond milk, and a tablespoon each of chia seeds and hemp hearts (both have tons of protein for their size), blend it all together and BAM—breakfast deliciousness to keep you full until lunch. The annoying hipster glass is optional.
Another pleasant surprise discovered during the first week of being vegan: adding legumes (those are beans, to you, kid) has not made me…uh…what’s the word…flatulent. A digestive enzyme supplement helps. Beans are a great source of protein, so this discovery made my day. And maybe the day of those around me…<wink>
The biggest challenge to this grain-free, soy-free, vegan diet experiment is making sure that my fridge is well-stocked, and that I have enough prep time. I can’t just slap a tofu dog on the grill, and making veggies taste good in unique and creative ways requires lots of work. I’ve been lucky that my local grocer has lots of fresh, organic, pre-chopped ingredients, so that cuts down my prep, but it still takes time. I have a feeling that as my fridge stock winds down, I may find myself in the occasional bind. We’ll see what happens.
The funniest thing so far is the reactions I’ve gotten when I told friends I was going vegan for thirty days. Some reactions were like, I’m gonna eat bacon in your face every day, but one friend announced in front of a group that she’d join me in solidarity, which then resulted in a whole bunch of friends joining me, which has so far been awesome, and downright funny. One friend said, on Day 2’s lack of animal meat, “Looking forward to murdering some furry little f•ck.”
See? Pure comedic gold.
The weirdest thing that happens though, when you announce you’re going vegan, is that some people think you’re doing it as statement against their beliefs, and they become very vocal about their opinions on said matter, bordering on the intensity of a fervent political or religious discussion, which then forces you to defend your position. I can totally see why the main character in my book, who’s vegan, feels like she has her back up against the wall sometimes, and has to overcompensate.
Tomorrow, I’ll be putting up an apocalypse-friendly vegan recipe, a yummy breakfast smoothie you can make using shelf-stable ingredients, which you should have in your pantry in case zombies take over and the world shuts down. Hey, it could totally happen, and I’d hate for you to be hungry. So please come back tomorrow.
Who loves ya, baby?