Monday, May 7, 2012

Veg Challenge Week One

A week ago I took my oldest daughter, Miss. A, on a bus ride downtown. Our goal was to have a little adventure together and check out Vegfest. The festival is only in it's fourth year, and one of the most popular attractions was the Cupcake Challenge. So of course it wasn't there the one year we decided to go. Instead it was replaced with the Veg Challenge. The goal of which is to eat an entirely vegan diet for the whole month of May. Right, who wants cupcakes when you can have tofu? However, there would be points awarded and prizes won. Being a SAHM for a good four years now, I'm running out of ways to entertain myself. So, naturally I decided to do this because it would just be to easy to read a book or take up needlepoint. For the record I have a needlepoint pattern in a drawer right now. What the heck do all those symbols mean?

I figured it wouldn't be that hard anyways. Last month we mostly ate what would qualify as "vegan" at dinnertime with the exception of Saturdays. Saturdays my husband cooks, so if it can't go on the BBQ or picked up through the drive through, it isn't eaten. Sure, it would be an adjustment, but hardly a drastic one. I was curious to see if I could successfully go a whole month without slipping up. I like a challenge and was willing to give it a try.

 I've completed the first week and it's gone pretty well.  I'd have to say it isn't as easy peasy as I thought it would be. Here are some of my observations so far:

Plan Ahead!

I never really had a chance to plan what I was going to be eating. I had meant to, but life gets busy and I completely ran out of time. On the first day I figured I'd wing breakfast and then pick up a few essentials at the store later. I had counted on toast with peanut butter and a side of fruit to get me through the morning. As it turned out there was milk in the bread so berries, bananas and water were the only thing on the menu. Not exactly filling!  I was lucky that I had made a few vegan meals earlier in the week and froze them. If I had planned ahead properly I wouldn't have been wandering through the kitchen hungry and wondering what to eat.

Grocery Shopping Is A Pain In The A$$!

Once I did make it out to the store I discovered what a pain it was to find things to eat. You really have to read those labels carefully! I was amazed and frustrated with the number of things that had dairy, eggs, or some sort of meat based product in it. It was sooo hard to find a box of crackers that didn't have milk. Many of the vegetable soups had beef stock. Bread often had some milk, though the usual 12 grain bread I liked was ok, thank goodness! Shopping is much easier if you stay away from processed foods and focus on natural ones. Fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and the like. I also found that a lot of the foods in the Asian section were ok too.

Withdrawal Is A Cruel Mistress!

I have had awful headaches for days now! Apparently, as best as I can figure, it's my body detoxing. Or so the Internets have told me. Or it's a tumor. Mind you I feel fine right now, so maybe I'm over the worse of it. Also I am always hungry! I eat around six times a day. Regular meals with snacks in between. If I don't I get super grouchy. You wouldn't like me when I'm grouchy. You must feed the beast! (PS if anyone calls me a beast they will pay dearly!) I assumed I wasn't getting enough calories and/or protein. Which brings me to my next revelation.

Stay Away From Imitation "Regular" Food!

I thought I would make a stir fry for dinner one night and through in vegan chicken. I don't know what the heck is in there, but it's foul! Ha, did you catch that? Fake chicken being "foul"? Sorry. Honestly, if you can't eat meat don't eat imitation meat. It just doesn't taste good and there are plenty of other foods that do. It tasted the way cat food smells. Of course I'm sure there are some people who can pull off miracles, but I'm not one of them.

Things I've Discovered So Far:

I like soy milk. There I said it.
Cashews are the food of the gods
Weekly menus are essential
I'm a better cook than I thought
Life would be easier if there was a vegan grocery store
Make extra everything and freeze it so you're never left stranded wondering what to eat.
Don't freeze salad (I didn't actually do this btw)

So we're on to Week Two now...

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