Friday, February 19, 2010

Veganism: The Exit Interview

As of February 12th, I had completed being a vegan for 43 days. Staying on this wagon was harder than staying on a bull at a Texas rodeo. But it taught me a lot. The benefits I experienced were amazing and unforseen. Within a day of being a vegan, I realized that vegan meals recharge your spirit, but never make you feel lazy. You know how after a big meal you have a "food baby" and want to laze around? That feeling was gone!

The second effect was the boost of self-respect. Since this was such a tough thing for a carnivore like me, I felt like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. And why wouldn't I? I was being a vegan in a very carnivorous country. Last but best, I looked slimmer. Though I only lost about 5 lbs, I lost my love handles and even fit into a pair of Seven jeans I had given up on.

As I neared the end of being a vegan, I did think about continuing. Ultimately though, I decided against it. For one, most prepared foods in America, like even a can of beans, contain at least a trace amount of dairy or animal products. To get around this, I shopped at my local Indian store and cooked vegan dishes on Sundays, and made these meals last all week. It was time consuming, but I could keep my promise and not go broke at Whole Foods.

Another downside of veganism was that I my restaurant options were severely limited to pretty much South Indian or Thai. If I was in an American restaurant, it was pretty much a chopped salad with some bread. I realized that I was neither full nor getting enough nutrition. It made more sense to me to pick a healthy, albeit non-veg option like a grilled fish, than an unhealthy option like a light salad and too much bread.

The thing that really put the nail in the coffin was my social life. Since none of my friends are vegan, if I went to their house for dinner parties, it was a struggle for them to accomodate my diet. Even then, they'd innocently spread a bit of butter on my bread or put a bit of sour cream in my soup. On those occasions, I was not about to be a d-bag and tell them to re-prepare me my meal.

Overall, veganism helped me lose weight, gain self-control, and more. But I don't think its a realistic practice for life. So for now, I'm living a life of moderation. On weeknights, I am still mostly vegetarian. But on weekends, I enjoy whatever strikes my fancy, and tend to mostly choose healther proteins like fish.


Computergirl said...

Wow, well done on the 43 days! Great post and project. I have heard o here being many benefits to a vegan diet, I am not so brave as to do it yet though!!
:) Emma x

GiGi said...

Great job! It is so hard to be vegan & lead a normal social life. A lot of places are not willing to even substitute, everything is pre made.

Anonymous said...

Well done with sticking with it so long! Not quite the same, but I quit dairy last monday as im having to do some restriction diets to rule out any food intolerances and like you i was quite suprised at how diary is sneaked into so many things!

Ashwini said...

@Computergirl: it does take some bravery, but the fact that I knew there was an end date made it easier. Maybe you can try something like that.

@Gigi: I know. It's so sneaky! I was trying to make a vegan mexican dip, and there was LARD in my beans! Argh!

@dicegirl: ooh giving up dairy huh? That's the tough one. I think its easier to give up meat than to give up dairy, not only cuz its snuck into everything, but you risk not getting enough protein. Best of luck!

Dwana said...

Best wishes! I'd love to try it out...but my husband is a caveman and I might end up homeless if there's no meat in the house! :2(
Please keep us updated. I'd love you read about it.

Content Director - Strong Female Leaders said...

Good job girl! I don't think I can make it past 2 weeks.

B said...

Yaaay! Good for you. At least you've tried it. I used to be a vegan and didn't like it. I always felt hungry and like I was "missing out". I loaded up on carbs and actually ended up gaining weight. I was never happy about it and missed regular food. So now I'm vegetarian during the week and do whatever (sans beef and pork) on the weekends. I'm glad you're going with the flow and doing what fits your lifestyle. Kudos to you!

Lilladylife said...

amazing job for 40+ days, thanks for sharing your journey!

Unknown said...

So true. I started with meatless Mondays and graduated to the whole week. Had to wean myself off slowly but it was def worth it! :)

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