Going Vegan: Dip a Toe or Dive Right In?

going vegan
I can officially say that veganism is an incredible way of life. These past 30 days I’ve learned new ways to prepare food, making a lot of my favorite dishes using all fresh, plant-based ingredients. There were many attempts at new dishes, and to be honest, I didn’t win them all — but I sure made some lasting impressions!
Initially, I intended to slowly cut out non-vegan items from my diet, one at a time (as I mentioned in my first post about this). But that didn’t last long. After making my first week’s menu and shopping list, I felt inspired to jump right in. So, I went cold turkey and introduced my family to a whole new dietary lifestyle the next morning.
In the beginning I felt a little fatigued, especially during my early morning workout. I did a bit of digging and learned that my protein was low, which can trigger some exhaustion. It turns out that protein was, by far, my biggest challenge. I wasn’t as well versed in proteins outside of my norm: meat, fish and eggs. It’s not that it’s so difficult to get protein — but getting enough as a vegan does require a bit of dedicated attention. If you’re looking for vegetarian and vegan sources of protein this is a super handy list.
Dining out proved to be challenging when I was not at a vegan-friendly location, but let me give a shout out here to my husband for researching restaurants in Kansas City and providing our date nights at said locations. He welcomed this lifestyle change and played a big role in keeping me committed by encouraging me to make more recipes. I played around with spices and seasonings I never knew existed. I started introducing different ethnic foods and perusing vegan cookbooks.
One really important note: We kept our kitchen vegan-friendly throughout the 30 days and our children didn’t know any different. Our son is 4 1/2 years old — he was supportive and curious about everything I cooked. Our 1-year-old daughter just thinks everything is funny, and as long as it tasted good, she had no complaints.
Thru this vegan journey I have learned so much. One is that my body has never felt as good as it has being dairy-free, and I intend to remain as close to dairy free as possible. Lactose has always been a tough thing for me to digest and I just find I feel better and my body performs better without it.
Going vegan isn’t tough — not really. But it does take a lot of patience in the beginning. Being open to new things (and making sure those who dine with you are open as well) and leaning on resources is most helpful. I surrounded myself, both in person and via social media, with exposure to vegan recipes, resources and inspiration, which was key.
While I look forward to carrying on with some of the excellent vegan recipes I’ve made, I am planning to add a few non-vegan items back into my diet — maybe not on the daily, but as needed or as I see fit for my family. Committing to eating vegan for 30 days was a fantastic way for me to learn more about ways to use (and enjoy) healthy, plant-based foods, and I really encourage all of you to give it a try!
Even if you’re not a vegan, do you find yourself eating the occasional vegan meal? —Jennifer

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  1. Ashley says:

    Hi Jennifer. Great to hear you are enjoying the vegan life. I’ve always been intrigued by a vegetarian diet so I am currently pursuing that this year. Although I have not fully transitioned, I thoroughly enjoy the benefits from plant-based eating. It’s versatile, compassionate, resourceful, and super healthy! I definitely feel less bloated when eating less meat. Plus, it’s really good for the environment and the world as a whole. I think people will realize how enjoyable plant-based eating is when they properly pursue it.
    Wishing you well!

  2. Anna Becker says:

    I am not totally vegan, but do a very little bit of a few things that aren’t. I like to tell people I don’t eat the flesh of warm blooded creatures – LOL – do I get funny looks! But I find if I say I don’t eat meat, I always get, “But you eat chicken, right?” Nope – I do have fish every couple of weeks, organic, grass get butter or cheese on occasion. But for the most part vegetables are my norm. I have never felt better either. For me (and many people), meat is hard to digest. Some of that hamburger you had in high school is still there. It is also acidic, and most people get way to much acid in their diet. Acid leads to many diseases, and those fresh, raw vegetables help to alkalize you. A good protein I use is to add some pea protein powder to many dishes I make. Tolerant pasta is made from lentils, a great source of protein, and I love pasta. Even if you just cut way back on meat, I believe it is much better for your health than the traditional meat with every meal that Americans are so used to. Good vegging!