So, I'm going vegan for February.
Orrrrrr for most of February. I'm waiting until after this Sunday's Super Bowl to actually start eating vegan because the Ravens are playing, which means I'll be in Baltimore around bad food. Which means it'll just be easier not to have to eat vegan amongst all the wings and pizza and nachos that come along with football watching. Because although I don't like football, I do like football junk food.
But back to veganism, starting Monday, February 4th and ending, I guess, March 4th. There are a few reasons why I want to try out a vegan diet. I've watched Forks Over Knives and Food Matters and Vegucated (holla, Netflix Instant) and I want to give a serious plant-based diet a try. Mark Bittman, one of my food heros, thinks it's a good idea and it just seems like the good evidence towards a vegan diet is mounting all the time. There are many, many reported health benefits and I have to admit I'm curious. Will I lose weight? Will I feel amazing? Will my digestive issues clear up? I want to know how my body will react.
I like meat, although I don't eat a lot (that's mainly because I don't like most of it, to be honest. Basically, I like chicken, turkey, bacon and burgers. That's it for me on the meat scale). I'm still curious to see how I'll do without it, especially as I order chicken dishes pretty frequently when eating out. Dairy, I eat like it's going out of style. Yogurt for breakfast, cheese on everything, chocolate after dinner every night, butter on my GF waffles and in baked goods and in sautes. But I think I rely too much on cheese as a flavorer (flavorizer? Or maybe it's just flavor?) in my cooking, so it will be good for me to learn to make a soup or a pasta dish that doesn't taste five times better with Parmesan on top.
I actually don't drink regular milk (I've transitioned into using mostly almond or coconut milk), so that won't be a problem. Baking without dairy and eggs hasn't been hard for me in the past, so I imagine chia seeds and applesauce will get some additional play this month. I should also mention that I am going to continue to eat honey during the month, just because I'm not going vegan for moral or ethical reasons. Some vegans do eat honey, anyway, although it's a source of controversy.
Another reason why I want to try out a vegan diet is because although I eat pretty healthfully now, I'm kind of in an eating rut. I rely on the same kinds of foods and the same kinds of recipes to get me through the week--tea and yogurt or toast for breakfast, leftovers for lunch, pasta or quinoa or chicken tacos for dinner. I'm hoping that changing the parameters of what I can eat will make me look at food and eating in a different way. And obviously, it will be a fun cooking challenge, too! I'm always inspired by the vegan food blogs I read and I'm excited to make some good vegan recipes.
I might try this website's 30 Day Vegan Challenge, where you get all kinds of emailed tips and recipes. It seems kinda gimmicky and I'm pretty sure I could get by without it but hey, it's only $20. I have this awesome cookbook, too, which I'm excited about utilizing.
But I need more recipes and more resources! Do you have any good recipes? Any tips? Suggestions for an initial grocery list? Ideas on what I can eat for breakfast every morning without eggs or dairy? If so, let me know in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'll of course be blogging along with the challenge, so look for an update (and hopefully some recipe posts!) very soon.