Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Going Vegan: Six Days In

       Although I've been a proud omnivore for much of my life, I'm going vegan for six weeks. I started on Jan 1st and will officially end on Feb. 12th. Before I launch into my reasons for doing this, please know that I'm not trying to preach the virtues of going vegan or trying to convert anyone. It's just a journey and a challenge that I want to share with you guys, that's all. :)

            For the last four years, I've observed some kind of a change in my diet from New Year's Day until mid-February. Consider it my own version of Lent. In the past, I have given up things like meat, alcohol, or caffeine. This year, I'm giving up both meat or dairy products. I really like to do this because it starts off the new year with giving up something I really really enjoy, so each time I make the right choice, I feel a little more disciplined and responsible. To me, the smug feeling of superiority is well worth it. Also, once I'm done, I don't jump head-long into my old ways; I just re-incorporate the foods back into my diet, but in smaller portions. So it really helps me form a long-term habit fast.

         I decided to go vegan instead of vegetarian for two main reasons. First of all, I make plenty of vegetarian fare at home, so being a vegetarian wouldn't require a big change. But cutting out butter, cheese, yogurt and milk is a big effing change that'll give me the teeth-gritting challenge I love. Second, I mainly get acne on my cheeks, and I've read that cutting dairy from your diet can improve this (see my post on that topic here).

        I also chose to go vegan because I recently watched Food, Inc., a documentary about how meat and vegetables are produced in the USA today. Even once I'm done with this period of veganism and get back to normal, I'll be sourcing my meat and dairy from local farmers, where I can get to see exactly how these animals are raised. This is one seriously eye-opening movie.

I've only been off meat and dairy for 6 days now, but let me tell ya, I'm already seeing some interesting changes in my body:

1. After a vegan meal, no matter how much food I ate, I don't feel lethargic. I just feel full and revitalized and ready to face the next several hours of the day. Not true with meat and dairy foods! This is such an exciting effect, and I felt it from day 1. Loving the boost of energy!

2. My skin is feeling better. Yes I still have a couple of break outs here and there, but there hasn't been any new acne. It could be the winter, or my skincare routine, but I do believe cutting the dairy has been good for me.

3. I feel "lighter". I don't mean this in terms of weight, beause I haven't weighed myself. But I'm perceiving myself more positively because I'm so disciplined about my food choices. My self-image is no longer "ugh I look so fat". Due to the simple fact that I'm in charge of my diet, I'm happy with how I look in the mirror. Yes, there can be vast improvements, but I know I'm proactively working towards them, and that makes all the difference in my outlook.

So far so good! I'll keep updating you guys on how this goes. Thanks for reading as always. 



Anonymous said...

this is a lovely post! i've tried to go vegan but then my mum would cook some lovely meat dishes and then I'll end up eating them! it's nice your sharing this challenge and its very interesting too! i never really knew diary products could cause acne! and i thought yoghurt was good for the skin (natural yoghurt).


Ashwini said...

Thanks Linda! I understand your pain. When I'm around sushi or fish curry I go weak to the knees. Dairy products might be bad for you IF you have acne on your cheeks. And I know this is quite hard, so my advice to myself is that after this period of strict veganism, I'm going not gonna put a label on myself, but I'll mostly stay away from meat and dairy. Like you said, yogurt is probably great for the skin, so that's one dairy item I'll re-incorporate. Fish is also great, so I wouldn't mind making that one of the meats I frequently eat. :)

GiGi said...

Taking dairy out of my diet was so hard. I am allergic to it! I admire what your discipline. Please post some recipes for us.

I am don't eat meat on Fridays, & would love some ideas!

Ashwini said...

OMG I'd be happy to. I spend each Sunday making enough veggie food to last the whole week. I'll put up a post one of these days. :)

Imo said...

Seriously, you are incredible! I applaud your actions I love meat WAY too much to give it up I used to be allergic to dairy so I dont really eat too much anyway. Is there an inbetween person who eats meat but not dairy lol?

Mz. More said...

This sounds like such a great idea. I currently do not eat any red meat or pork, only poultry and seafood. Lately I have been thinking of cutting out the poultry as well. I may try it for a few weeks and see how I fare. Thanks for this post!

Content Director - Strong Female Leaders said...

Good luck girl! Sounds like a great life style!

Laura Loo said...

Man. You are brave. I don't know what we would eat if we went vegan. I never thought about how much dairy and meat we have in our diet. Well...This is the South! lol

Pics of my new bangs are up on my blog! Go look and tell me what you think!

Caitlin said...

Wow, best of luck to you dear! I could never do that, it's amazing that you have such great self control!

xo Caitlin

Lilladylife said...

wow i lovve this post! it's always nice to hear about food journeys!
I usually go vegan 2 weeks out of every month. Then for the rest of the month am a pescetarian. Admittingly it is for vanity reasons ><
(god i cant spell)

Keep on going! I cant wait to hear your journey.

Thanks for the nominations!!!

Ashwini said...

Thank you for all the encouragement guys. Sometimes, I seriously need it lol. like lilluna5416, I am also thinking of going pescetarian, so that I can have "good" dairy like yogurt, and lean meats like fish in my diet. There's also a wonderful label called "Mo' Vegan", which means mostly vegan (self explanatory). I think I'll probably follow that lifestyle since its flexible, and I would be healthy, but allowed to cave every now and then. ;) But not right now! I will be a strict vegan until Feb 12th dammit!

.blushfully. said...

Wow Ashwini, this is really amazing that you do this every beginning of the year and going vegan! Wow! There would be tons of food to be cut out! But reading what it has so far made you feel, that's excellent!! I myself is actually changing my diet too, not vegan lol.

But anyway, keep up the wonderful blog! Keep up the amazing discipline!
Lots of love from all the way in the southern hemisphere of the world, ;)

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Ashwini said...

Thanks Dana for the encouragement! I am liking the "lightness" of being vegan quite a bit. After Feb 12th, I might be a mo-vegan (mostly vegan), in that I would be entirely vegetarian except for the occasional fish and be mostly vegan except using butter in cooking recipes, and yogurt since it's quite healthy.

Anonymous said...

Well done for going vegan! It must be so hard because milk or lactose powder etc is sneaked into so many foods! I have often thought maybe i should cut out dairy from my diet as i dont think its too good on my stomache but i got as far as soya milk and spread but i would be so grumpy if i didnt get chocolate.

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