Drum roll please….I’m going vegan.

I know I know…it’s crazy right? Me, the meat and potato enthusiast going vegan….it is an event that I thought wouldn’t happen before the apocalypse.

I did a previous post on my questioning going vegan or not…if you haven’t read that yet, you can check it out here. And then I mentioned my failure at that experiment a few weeks later. I didn’t even last twenty-four hours, and I’m sure it was a combination of lack of motivation, and not really having done tons of research into it yet. (Knowledge= power)

First let me tell you, I live in a house of die hard meat eaters. All throughout my formative years our plates consisted of the “main course” a.k.a MEAT, and “side-dishes” or more commonly known as Veggies. I know how to cook a mean meatloaf, fry chicken, bread up some pork-chops, and even how to cook venison (A.k.a. Bambi). I have been the self-proclaimed cook in our family for years, and it was always the same thing.

Up until a few months ago I had never even tried to cook an entire meal without some sort of animal product component. Eggs, cheese, milk, cream…did I mention cheese? Yogurt, ice cream, creme brules. I did it all, and I have finally gotten to the point where I am ready to give it all up…in favor of something that is still considered kind of crazy, and a little bit weird.

I’m going to attempt going vegan.

For me this means that I will not be consuming any animal products such as meat, eggs, dairy, and things of that nature. (I will however continue to eat honey, because I love it and I buy it from my local orchards who have their own bees. This is the only thing I suppose that wouldn’t necessarily be considered “vegan”)

Why? Why would any person give up something that has been such a staple of their diet for years and years?

Well as most of you know by now I am very conscious about not only what I put on my body, the trash I produce, the chemicals in my home, but I am also concerned about what my choice to put into my body is doing to the environment.

Yes, yes, it is also about saving innocent animals, but for some reason that isn’t the largest motivator for me. For me it is how having a plant based diet can decrease your carbon footprint by a couple tons of methane gas, and how they stuff antibiotics and growth hormones into these animals in production and how those hormones and such are probably in their by-products as well (Milk and cheese, etc.). These are the things that motivate me…

…well…that and the fact that these items are notoriously more expensive to buy than plant products, especially if you are only willing to buy pasture-raised and free-range (all those good terms) products.

What can I say, I’m a realist.

And as a realist I have been tracking my grocery money down to the cent and have realized that I can get a lot more produce for the same price as I would spend on a smaller amount of animal products.

So, onto being a vegan. I have officially been free of animal products for 3 days now…yep 3 days and counting. So it is really new, but I have been contemplating it for a while. I did all my homework, watching documentaries like Planeat, which is a really good short documentary on the cost of producing animal products. I have read books, visited websites, watched youtube videos, the works. (Most people probably don’t do the sheer amount of research that I do, but as my grandfather said the other day “She is a nerd for knowledge!”)

I survived yesterday, Easter, and ate only vegetables while everyone else had ham and fried chicken wings….speaking of which, the leftovers of both are sitting in my fridge, and I have not been tempted to touch either one surprisingly enough. There is also butter, cream, milk, and the like sitting in there as well. But I am determined that I can get all of my nutritional needs from plants, and that my dollar will stretch a lot farther with organic produce than with organic meats.

The biggest challenge will be learning new ways to cook vegetables and such, I have a whole new way of cooking that I have to learn about. (Which just gives me another excuse to frequent the public library 🙂 )

I have been having fun trying out new vegetables, I am now a big fan of spaghetti squash, which I had never even tried or heard of until a few months ago. I also find that I really like avocados, cucumbers, spinach, and even things like flax seeds.

Since becoming a zero-waster I have been making my own salad dressings and condiments, which I also find comes in handy with being vegan since I can control exactly what goes into everything I eat. Another perk of giving up most animal products is that it makes zero-waste grocery shopping a lot easier! Why? Because most meats and eggs and dairy products come in tons of packaging.

Besides the packaging, it is difficult to compost animal by-products like fat trimmings and such. I had to throw them out because they attract critters to compost bins. But all produce is completely compostable and for the most part I haven’t had any problems with critters or the like, there are tons of bugs in there though eating the scraps and turning them back into soil.

I am very new to veganism so if any of you have tips or links to articles or blogs you think I should check out, let me know.

I could also use some inspiration for new recipes, if you have any that are zero-waste friendly, grain-free, and vegan let me know in the comments!

XO,

Candice

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Life without sugar, A.k.a. as little sugar as possible

The title might be a bit misleading…my lifestyle and dietary restrictions have really opened my eyes to the amount of sugar that is in everyday food items. Now do I live without consuming sugar at all? Hell no. I do enjoy my 85% dark chocolate bars, and there is sugar in BBQ sauce, as well as the occasional bit of dairy free ice cream….but for the most part I have been avoiding it.

This change hasn’t necessarily been intentional, more a by-product of my minimalist and zero-waste lifestyle and my dietary restrictions.

It has been one of the best things I could have done for myself though…let me explain why. 🙂

It started over a decade ago when I made the very brave decision to quit drinking soda. It was pure torture for almost two weeks, I had withdrawal headaches and cravings like you wouldn’t believe…I felt like a drug addict that was going through detox. Which was pretty much what I was, a sugar addict going through detox.

A month later though…I was feeling a million times better. I suddenly had more energy, and my cravings for the soda were slowly but surely disappearing. A year later I took one sip of a soda and found that it was so sickeningly sweet that I spit it out. I haven’t consumed any since then.

When I was drinking it all the time I didn’t realize how sweet it was, my taste buds were used to it. Now a decade later and my taste buds have been on the detox of a lifetime.

Where before, dark chocolate was repulsive and bitter, I now can’t eat any less than 85% dark chocolate because I find it TOO SWEET. I can taste everything in it’s pure form and it is delicious. I find that fruits can satisfy my sweet tooth amply, with the occasional chocolate bar as a treat.

I’ve gone from eating tons of processed foods with hidden sugar disguised as corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, etc…to now eating 95% whole foods (a.k.a. ones without an ingredients list) and only perhaps 5% of my food is packaged or has a bit of sugar in it.

I’ve never felt better! I haven’t been sick or ill in over two years and I find that I have tons of extra energy. I’m no longer lethargic or lagging in the middle of the day, and I don’t have sugar highs or lows.

Now does this mean that I am recommending a lifestyle sans sugar or for you to nix goodies and treats all together…absolutely not. I just think that we need to be more aware of the sheer amount of sugar we are consuming. Anything in excess can be harmful to your health, especially sugar and really less is more. Now that my taste buds have adjusted to my healthier diet, I can actually taste when anything is amiss with my food or if there is an ingredient in it that I am not used to.

Bonus points, when you cleanse your palette of the excess sugar it also means you don’t have to use as much salt and other spices in your food to actually taste it. 🙂

I mean really, everyone complains that it takes too much time to make things from scratch…but it doesn’t. Did you know it takes exactly the same amount to make Mac N’ Cheese from scratch with dry pasta and fresh cheese as it does to make the artificial one from the box? The EXACT same amount of time, but the results are sooo much better both in taste and in health.

Even if you think I’m taking things to the extreme, I dare you to take one thing out of your diet (whichever bit contains the most amount of sugar) and stop eating it for one month. Just one. At the end of that month, try eating or drinking it again…I’ll bet it doesn’t taste the same as it did before…and you might even  a bit of extra energy you didn’t have before, or your skin might get clearer, or you may even lose a few pounds, who knows? The positive possibilities are endless 😉

Have you gone on a sugar detox? Let me know in the comments!

To vegan or not to vegan?

I’m just going to cut to the chase…I’m thinking about going vegan.

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Even six months ago, had someone even told me that I would consider it I probably would have laughed until my stomach hurt. The fact of the matter is that I do ENJOY meat.

Chicken, burgers, steak, sausage…I used to devour it all. But here I am contemplating the benefits of veganism. I started cutting down my meat consumption a few months ago simply because it is expensive to buy grass fed meats in minimal packaging. Then for some reason about two months ago the smell of red meat started turning my stomach…it literally makes me nauseous. Sooo, I cut back and ate more fish instead, but fish gets incredibly boring, and again is more expensive than organic fruits and vegetables.

I WANT to try going vegan (I already do not eat dairy products because of lactose intolerance, and I’m not such a fan of eggs anyway), but I’m slightly worried that I won’t be able to consume enough calories during the day.

Let me explain, I am 5’10” and on the skinny side of the scale. I don’t consume grains either because of intolerance (my stomach cramps for days if I eat them)…so if I go vegan my diet will only consist of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy oils and vinegars.

That’s incredibly limiting. And I really don’t want to lose any weight.

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But I think I’m going to try it, at least for a few weeks to see how my body responds to it.

My reasons for trying/perhaps adopting veganism are:

  1. Budget, let’s face it…meat and fish are expensive, especially when you will only buy grass fed/wild caught through sustainable means.
  2. I’m already halfway there anyway, so why not go all the way?
  3. The way animals are treated before they get slaughtered is not something that you can be entirely sure of, unless you raise them yourself.
  4. Meat production produces a ton of carbon/methane emissions, and in general isn’t the healthiest thing for the planet.
  5. And lastly I’m curious if I can actually adopt the lifestyle and be content with my meals.

My rules for the next few weeks are…No meat or fish. No eggs. No dairy. The only animal product I am allowing myself is honey, because I already don’t consume very much sugar and honey is amazing. 🙂

Have you tried a vegan diet? Do you still enjoy it and live by it? What were your reasons for trying it? Let me know in the comments.