It’s been 7 months since I became a vegan. Well… I am a vegan about 90%. I still eat meat/meat products when going to parties (I don’t like to inconvenience the hostess), eating out in restaurants (when the veggie dish offered is boring) or there is a new meat-based food that is interesting (e.g. the bratwurst burger during our block party). So technically speaking I would not qualify as a vegan.
But as I’ve learned in my experience with Weight Watchers, even if I don’t do it perfectly I don’t get discouraged because I am still getting the benefits of trying to stick to this lifestyle as best as I can. Among other things I am eating more vegetables (although I still wish to do better by incorporating more fresh, leafy, greens everyday), eating less sugar (on my own that is – it’s a different story when I am with other filipinas and filipino baked goods and sweets lol), drinking less soda (way less – in fact, I now order water most of the time when eating out). I once read an article about high fats, sugar and salt going together that when you mix this (e.g. doughnuts, pizzas) makes people want to eat more. It could be a reason why when I eliminated meat from most of my diet, my craving for sweets considerably lessened too. Now I can’t even bring myself to buy any baked goods from Starbucks (well, except for the biscotti) because I now find them too sweet.
I also like how being a vegan cuts off a lot of choices for me when I go grocery shopping – making me skip 90% of the aisles. It is ironically liberating, shopping now is quicker. In fact, I don’t go to Target as much as I used to before. There were a few months that I didn’t step inside this store whereas before I was a regular, at least once a week.
What is challenging for me, as it was in my previous carnivorous diet, is being well prepared like having veggie meals in hand so that when I get hungry I get to make the wise choice. Unlike when I was doing Weight Watchers 2 years ago where I stocked up on Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones frozen entrees, now I try to avoid buying the vegetarian versions (e.g. Morning Star) and make everything from scratch. Cooking in the warm weather has been a challenge though. I am also not a fan of imitation meat like the tempeh or seitan and would rather stick to tofu and beans for my protein simply because they taste better for me.
I rarely have a craving for meat, except for the bulgogi that popped in my mind this morning. Even with seafood. But undoubtedly when the latter is placed in front of me, not so much for fish but crustaceans, I wouldn’t be able to say no. However I haven’t bought any kind of meat for myself (except when I have visitors) since I decided to go vegan 7 months ago. I rarely drink milk now, I prefer soy, almond or rice simply because I like them more. Even my son prefers them over dairy. As for eggs, they are harder to eliminate because they are the easiest and fastest to cook when I am unprepared. Cheese too, when having lunch out because they are almost in everything vegetarian.
I really have no desire to go back to being carnivorous to the level I was before because it was never my thing. I ate them because it was there, readily available. I still dislike handling, cutting and smelling raw meat (always had) but I still do it for my husband and son. I do get excited eating my vegan meal MORE than the common non-filipino meat dishes here. Although I am not much of salad eater – I still prefer for my meals cooked in order to feel full and satisfied. I don’t know if I will ever be the perfect vegan but I am working on becoming a better one.
And oh, as from my experience, being a vegan doesn’t make you automatically lose weight. Portion control still counts.