This spring my husband and I have been toying with an idea. It started when he casually stated to some friends, “I could probably be a vegetarian. I’m not sure I could be vegan, but I’m curious…”
What!? My mind was blown. What was happening to my meat eating husband? Where was the guy who bought a giant box of frozen corn dogs in college and didn’t eat anything else for a week straight? Where was my bacon connoisseur?
He made it clear that he was just intellectually interested (I’m a jump in with both feet kind of a girl so he has to reign me in most of the time) and that he wanted to learn more about it. So we watched a documentary that had been recommended by some friends. Forks Over Knives.
I thought it was “Eat salads, not meat” kind of forks over knives. But it was all about health. “Stay healthy with food, not doctors/surgeons/medicine”. Eating forks over surgery scalpels. It was all about staying healthy by changing your diet. Like Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine…”
I also read critiques of the science and truth of the documentary and ended up still believing the main premises, though with a wider understanding of the reasoning and movie-making tricks.
Next I watched Food Inc. The hubs was gone one evening so I watched the first half alone. He returned about half way through and watched the second half with me. Freaky, disgusting stuff. Some of which downright angers me. I’m sure there is also a bit of movie making magic there to be persuasive. But that movie just creeped me out. I haven’t looked at meat in the same way since.
I also checked out some vegan books from the library, including The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone. From all my reading and all my movie watching I felt drawn to try this new way of eating for many reasons.
- I don’t like the idea of putting unknown, hormone and additive filled food into my body (or my kids).
- I don’t like what the mass production of meat, corn, eggs and dairy do to the environment.
- I don’t like what this mass production does to the local farmer (like my dad and all our neighbors were when I was growing up).
- I don’t like how animals are treated in the mass production of meat. They are creatures created by God
- I want to see how giving up animal products will affect my health.
My husband remained interested, but not sure if he wanted to commit. So we (and by we, I mean mostly me) came up with an idea. We are going to do an experiment to see how a vegetarian, vegan and super vegan diet affects us.
I am going to go to the doctor on June 7th to have a full physical, with full blood work and such. I’ll get all my health numbers: weight, blood glucose numbers, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc… It will be interesting. And probably depressing. Then we’ll start the experiment.
Then, beginning June 7th, for one month we will give up all meat products. No beef, poultry, fish, pork, etc… At the end of the month we’ll take an inventory of how we feel, how eating meatless affects us and how difficult it was.
On July 7th we will give up dairy, eggs and honey (an animal product), in addition to meat products, making our diet vegan. For one month we’ll eat vegan. Then at the end of that month we’ll once again take an assessment of how we feel and how eating vegan has affected us.
On August 7th, on top of what we’ve already given up, we’ll give up white sugar and processed flour products (sticking with whole grains instead). We’ll substitute with brown rice syrup, agave syrup and real maple syrup.
At the end of the three month experiment we’ll take a full inventory of what has changed in our lives, how we’ve felt along the way and what change was the most impacting for us. I’ll head back to the doctor for another full physical and compare the numbers. We like comparing numbers, and my husband is most convinced by solid, numbers-based facts.
I am so very excited for this experiment. But I also know it may be difficult. I’m responsible for feeding my family. And I realize that if I make terrible food, they won’t want to stick with this new way of eating. So there’s a lot of pressure on my to make yummy vegan food.
I’ve found a truckload of vegan cookbooks at my local library (my favorite so far is Chloe’s Kitchen, by Chloe Coscarelli). I’ve even tried some recipes. We’ve also tried some dairy free yogurt taste tests (that I’ll post about later). I want to set myself up for vegan cooking success and for a true test of veganism.
So if you know of great cookbooks, great recipes or fantastic animal free products I’d love to hear about them. I want to provide us with the best vegan food so we can have a true view of vegan vs. vegetarian vs. conventional diet. I’m specifically looking for your suggestions on vegan dairy substitutes, meat substitutes, dinner ideas, homemade snacks, and lunch box ideas. If you have favorites of anything vegan, please let me know.
I’ll be blogging about our experience, our taste tests, our progress and our favorite dishes. And June 7th I’ll post about my initial doctor’s appointment – including my health numbers.
I invite you, also, to join me on this experiment. If you feel like trying out vegetarianism or veganism, let me know in the comments below. I’d love to have others along on this journey. We can keep one another up to date on our progress, our recipes and the resources we’ve found.