30 Days as a Vegetarian

Anyone who knows me, already knows that I basically love 4 things: eating, puppies, BeyoncĂ©, and bacon. It’s a simple list but that’s the direct line to my heart.

But I also love bacon.

Then, my newly vegan coworker asked me why I didn’t just start trying it out… I thought, “Why not, indeed?”

So I did. My impulsive little self went to the grocery store and picked up a few things that would last me a couple of days. And so it started.

Beautiful vegan pasta, Modern Love, OmahaI have always wanted to be a vegan. I love animals, I love the self-control and consciousness it implies, and I love what it does for your body. And it sounds cool when you say it.

Initially, it was all for fun to be honest. I love trying new life experiments. And figured I’d do it for about a week. Then I’d finish just in time for me to brunch on a plate of bacon. (See above for what I had planned).

But a week came and went. And I suddenly found myself at 10 days. So why not go a full 30?

Here’s what I learned…

  1. Being vegan is very hard. There’s secret dehydrated dairy in everything… I did try to be a vegan initially. Lactose intolerance makes it easy to be conscious of the obvious dairy, but what I found was the secret dairy is hard to avoid. So I modified and went with being a vegetarian instead, which is a more reasonable transition from my carnivorous lifestyle, anyway.
  2. You’re going to eat bread. A lot. I avoid breads and pastas like the plague in my omnivorous life. I find them to be fillers and prefer flavor over quantity so this was hard to adjust to. But, I found a lot of recipes for sandwiches or things that were breaded and just went with it. Honestly, it was delicious, and did help full me up when my portions for the veggies were slightly off.
  3. Veggies shrink. Ugh. My poor husband probably starved our first week of eating because I could not get the measurements for things down! Vegetables aren’t as dense as say, a chicken breast, so my eggplant parmigiana, while delicious, didn’t provide any leftovers, just an excess of spaghetti squash noodles. PLAN AHEAD! 
  4. Get creative. I started with recipes I’d had at restaurants, and when I tried to recreate them it was honestly it was a lot simpler than I expected! This was great because I gained confidence very quickly, and found I could enjoy coming up with my own recipes (e.g. homemade ramen).
  5. Listen to your body. I don’t believe in cure-alls. I do believe in listening to your body. My body told me it really loved the increase in vegetables. I know because I had more energy, which I think is annoying to say, except I left home without coffee for 3 days before I realized I didn’t have it with me, and let me tell you, I was shocked. That alone is enough to keep me on this turnip wagon!
  6. Feeling lighter feels nice. Do you ever eat a meal and feel so full you could die? Yeah, that didn’t happen a lot in this experiment and it was GLORIOUS. I am a notorious over-eater and the hubs finally didn’t have to remind me ‘not to take seconds before I’m done with firsts’.
  7. Read menus in advance. TBH I do this anyway, but it’s refreshing if a restaurant doesn’t only have a veggie sandwich on their menu. Veggie/vegan is low priority at a lot of places, so sometimes they run out or it’s not that creative, so consider looking up new spots to try.
  8. Frozen foods are friends. Making my own foods from scratch can be fun, but I’m a busy gal and don’t really have timewant to hand-roll my own lentil meatballs. And luckily, the good people of Trader Joe’s (a la their private label manufacturers), Tofurky, and Morningstar Farms have done it for us. I make a mean “chicken” patty sandwich (yes like the ones we had in high school but actually tastier!) and it meets my cravings for, well, meats.

  9. Speaking of meat… I can appreciate how good a delicious meal with meat in it. But I certainly don’t crave the meat based menus like I used to (i.e. every meal, every day). The substitutes (Sietan & cauliflower) I found were actually tasty and satisfying, physically and emotionally. We even had tacos we liked so much they might be our new go-to!
  10. Supportis everything. My husband is the real MVP. He dealt with one night of hangry vegetarian not being pleased with the menus of no less than 3 restaurants, made a ramen run (I found out the Oriental flavor is vegetarian!), and tolerated my experiments in the kitchen. Without him eating my meals with me, I don’t think I’d have lasted even a week.

What’s next?

If you’re reading this, you probably saw the post with my charcuterie board, including salami and smoked salmon… and yes, I miss some things that some vegan scientists just haven’t been able to recreate. I’ll always love Revival’s fried chicken. And bacon. Annnd a really decadent prime rib. But I think overall I want to stay on the veggie based meals. I’m really not done experimenting yet. But today, I think meat will be the exception and not the rule, on my plate.

Curious about what I ate? Leave a comment below or on instagram and I’ll write up some of the recipes I made!