Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Experiment: Vegan for a Week

Now that I'm posting this online, I am even more accountable than before. When I first quit meat, I gave up eggs and dairy, too. I did this for a month, and it was tough. My hair and such did not like that, but I had more energy and fewer stomachaches!

I've been wanting to do this again, at least once in a while, but with races and such, I was afraid to try. So now, from April 1-7, I will make another attempt at veganism. This will be tough, since I spend most of my days at a hotel for work and there is meat abound at home. Yes, I still get meat at home, although I avoid it unless it's pushed on me. And to think of it, my parents make pizza for breakfast on the weekends. In spite of all this (I am not at home that often, so there's hope), I want to try as best I can... I'll keep track of imperfection and report back in a week.

And no, this is NOT an April Fool's joke. That's tomorrow....


Day 1 - Thursday, April 1

Today at the hotel was not so bad. I had some oatmeal with dried cranberries, banana, part of an apple, and some chunks of watermelon for breakfast. I think I got hungry and had a sample-sized Larabar before lunch. Yes, I have a gargantuan appetite. I had a little vegetable soup and sort of large (but unsubstantial) salad at lunch with strawberries, a few pretzels, and two bites of granola bar.

Throughout today, I had tea/lemon/honey (a little because I can't stand the stuff straight) for what I call my marathon cough that I got after running my immunity down into the ground... I am currently writing this entry VERY sleep-deprived (I'm talking <2 onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="">
Above: Coucous! I bought a small bag and washed it/put it in hot water from the water cooler at work. 15 minutes later... bam! I added a little marinara, frozen veggies, and microwaved it for a bit. This was actually a very yummy meal (with a banana).


Days 3 & 4 - The Weekend

So I definitely failed this weekend to eat completely vegan (beyond the fact that I'm still doing the honey thing), but I was 97% there. My violations were traces of fish sauce, traces of soup from ramen, possible gelatin in some rainbow jelly in boba, and I had about 1/3 of an egg at dinner with my family on Sunday. I also am not sure if there was egg in a pizza crust I ate (I checked the label and did not see "egg" on there at all) or in the tiny bites of bread I picked off from "The Ukrainian."

But I still give myself credit for trying... I passed up a lot of great desserts this weekend. I felt a bit bad, since "The Ukrainian" wanted to try some of them but did not want to partake without me. This is how I know I cannot do this long term, regardless of the little extra energy I have eating this way or the bloating that I don't miss. I really dislike having to forgo these little pleasures in life, and really, I don't have to, as long as I can learn to moderate and deal with the intestinal repercussions.

Anyway, all in all, it has been a great weekend. I've got three more days of this before this experiment is over.

Above: A Planet Burger from The Good Earth Cafe in Studio City, CA, hold the mayo, with AIR FRIES!!


Day 6: Tuesday

Well, tomorrow is my official last day of this freakish experiment. I figured I would write today, since salsa class resumes tomorrow, and I really don't have time for much of anything again these days. Overall, I've maybe had the equivalent of one egg throughout this whole thing... mostly because I have had to eat at home, in addition to minor offenses listed above, and hidden chicken broth in a soup I had today. Again, these offenses were at home, so this was to be expected.

However, I have not eaten any meat whatsoever and no dairy. I've noticed a slight increase in energy, slightly fewer digestive issues, some unintentional weight loss (at least by feel -- no scale to verify) and clearer skin. Here are my takeaways from this whole thing:

1) Vegan does not mean healthy.

I definitely ate some things I normally would steer clear from this week, simply because I was hungry and had no other vegan options. In particular... white bagel and things containing high fructose corn syrup. Enough said. Plus, I really ate more fruit than recommended to compensate the bread or other carbs I wasn't eating.

2) You get used to the hunger after a while.

Yes, the hunger was tough at first, but this passes, probably due to bloating from fruit.

3) Weight loss isn't always (completely) wanted.

This is weird, but I recently bought a dress to wear to a friend's wedding next month, and it would not really benefit me to shrink at this point. Without doing anything else differently besides this food experiment, I already lost some of the weight I had put on while injured from running and the interlude without dance class to keep me active. Of course, it was going to happen as my activity level got back to normal, but keeping away from hotel eggs and french toast also helped.

4) Vegan-ism is not for me.

Sorry vegans, but this lifestyle is WAY too hard to uphold at this point in my life. And really, I was still eating items with honey and beeswax. I think my effort has been valiant and a test of will, though. My poor "Ukrainian" was very supportive, but he would really be reeling if I never shared red velvet cupcakes with him again.

5) But it is something I will incorporate.

Not all is lost. I will somehow carry this experience into my future eating (after a nice non-vegan dessert, though!). I am considering things like eating 1-2 vegan meals per day, having 1 "vegan day" per week, or something like that. I really do enjoy the clarity that comes with this lifestyle as well as the small energy boost.

6) Problems still remain.

I still have digestive issues in spite of eating vegan, which as I mentioned, could just be a side-effect of fiber or fruit. The best I can do at this point is try to eat balanced meals and not eat too much at one time. This is definitely a habit to work on. I often eat until I'm very full so that I can do my work and not have to worry about it again for a while. Plus, I'm not that skilled at moderation, especially since work is getting increasingly stressful as I seemingly have to keep taking on new roles and projects all the time (coordinator, meeting leader, budget-er, IT person).

I should note, however, that my knee/IT band is feeling SO much better this week (2 weeks post-marathon and 7 weeks post-injury). I obviously am holding back in my running and still feel twinges (in both legs!). However, the fact that I was too hurt to even turn over in my bed at one point makes this a vast improvement. I'm not out of the woods yet. I've been running 4-6 miles at a time doing mostly okay, but I do want my speed back. And eventually (soon), I will need to build my mileage back up. But I have decided to concentrate on improving my relay speed first before moving on, so that means no real marathon training until a month before my next marathon in June. Yes, this could be a mistake, but it's really the best way I think this combination of two close-together marathons and injury can be handled.


  1. Good luck with your vegan week! I might join! :D

  2. So no leather shoes, belts or car seats? That's where I draw the line on the vegan thing....

  3. I think Mother's has vegan bread. I don't buy or eat a lot of bread these days but I like the millet bread they sell. It is frozen so you will have to toast it before you leave for work but it is tasty with some jam. The slices are small and thin but dense and chewy.

    Oh yeah, did I mention that I am seriously in love with chia seeds. Don't know how I lived so long without them. I know you tried some a while back. Are you still eating them?