First official check-in for “The Vegan Challenge” and the verdict is in:
We Could not be happier!
For more than a week, my wife and I have eaten completely vegan. Foremost, I must express my gratitude for her diligence in making this a reality. I could have survived this with my cooking skills, but it certainly would not have been as delicious of an experience without her at the helm of the kitchen. Thank you, Honey!
Our guide for family dinners up to this check-in has been The Homemade Vegan Pantry, by Miyoko Schinner. The recipes were clear, relatively quick to prepare, and produced delicious food. Every recipe we tried exceeded our expectations. Hotdogs were better than the frozen “box” version at the grocery store. Mac & cheese actually tasted like mac & cheese. The fish burgers were better tasting than the actual salmon version we had relied on so much in the past. I could not believe the vegan butter was not actually butter.
My wife and I were initially concerned about our energy levels; I am happy to report that I have never felt so energized. I have been able to physically challenge myself in workouts without any issue. In fact, I progressed in my routine. The effect on our grocery bill is a bit harder to sort out. Due to the fact that we had to buy staples that will go into this month’s future meals, the cost was about the same as usual. I believe it will significantly go down in the weeks to come.
In addition to clearer skin and the best stools ever, my reflection in the mirror and how my clothes fit clearly shed light on the physical effects of going vegan. Just after thanksgiving, I got on the scale and found my weight to be 185 pounds. Through the course of the week, I could see improved muscular definition through my workouts, and assumed I was losing some fat mass. I could not have guessed that my weight 9 days later would be 180 pounds.
I ate approximately 3000 calories per day, did my my regular half hour workout routine 5 days per week, felt stronger, and lost 5 pounds.
I do not foresee reverting back to either a vegetarian or omnivorous diet. There is no reason to. As far as ethics go, I am even more committed to the reasons why that I initially stated in “The Vegan Challenge”. It is a win for our health, the environment, and the humane treatment of food animals. Beyond ethics, we have not even had the urge to deviate from our current practice; no cravings for meat, eggs, or dairy whatsoever.
After doing a fair amount of research, we found that there is only one vitamin that we may be deficient in by adhering to a vegan diet: vitamin B-12. B-12 is is a water-soluble vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood. We do get trace amounts through mushrooms and seaweeds, but not as much as we would through a non-vegan diet. That is important and we are supplementing accordingly to be safe.
If B-12 is the crux of going vegan, then we will face it with a smile and 100 mcg daily.
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