Is it actually possible to eat like a vegan? Can you maintain muscle and feel amazing without eating anything to do with meat? Does being a vegan instantly make you a snob?
Just kidding about the snob part. But yes, it’s possible to eat like a vegan and change your eating habits.
Nothing is impossible. Especially when it comes to your habits and how you eat.
I’ll be brutally honest though. It just sucks. It flat out sucks to change the way you eat for something that you’re not used to. We all have our own level of comfort that we like to stick to. It always pains us to move outside of this comfort zone.
What’s the challenge here?
This challenge is one week and one week only. The challenge is to try to eat like a vegan for a week.
Yes, are not going to eat anything meat-related for a week. With that being said, I must state something:
I love meat.
Seriously, I can eat chicken every single day for the rest of my life. I love steak and I can’t go wrong with meat-related products. To make things every trickier, vegans don’t even eat eggs or egg whites. That’s very tricky because my main protein sources have always been: chicken, steak, tuna, and egg whites.
This then brings on a colossal question for all of the meat lovers reading this…
What’s the point of the vegan challenge?
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein
If we never step outside of our comfort zones, we’ll never accomplish anything worth talking about.
I truly believe that you have to step outside of your comfort zone in life to see what you’re made of. Something as simple as changing the way you eat will go a long way in building mental toughness.
I promise you that eating like a vegan isn’t impossible.
I’m not going to get all sappy and start talking about saving the planet because this isn’t about that. This is simply about changing the way we eat, how we eat, what we eat, and when we eat it.
What do you have to lose by testing out what you place into our body? Nothing. Well, as long as you’re putting good things into your body.
You can do anything for a few days, especially when you challenge yourself. Changing your eating habits isn’t impossible.
This week’s challenge is eating like a vegan for as long as possible. Hopefully one week. Maybe less. Maybe more if you’re brave enough. It’s all about getting started at the core.
What is being a vegan all about? How does it work?
We have all heard about vegans and veganism, but we likely don’t have any clue on how it actually works. I certainly didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I threw this challenge down on myself.
What is a vegan? According to About.com, the definition is:
Veganism is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients. Many vegans also do not eat foods that are processed using animal products, such as refined white sugar and some wines. Most vegans also avoid the use of all products tested on animals, as well as animal-derived non-food products, such as leather, fur and wool.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty extreme. Very extreme.
What will I be eating as a vegan?
“A “plant-based diet” can be basically another way to say “vegan”, though many people do use the term to mean that you eat almost all plants with some animal products.” — Leo Babauta
What do vegans eat exactly? I had no clue what to think here because I didn’t know even know where to start because everything I’ve ever eaten is meat or meat-related. I can’t even eat a can of tuna! Boo.
So what’s my plan? My plan is pretty simple:
Beans, fruits, berries, greens, vegetables, nuts, nut oil and protein powder.
Yes, I know that this is damn boring!
There are all sorts of other fancy dishes out there. There are many vegan-specific meals to eat. I knew going in that I wouldn’t prepare them. I wanted something easy to prepare, easy to find, and easy to eat. Why lie to myself?
The aforementioned foods are easy to find at any store no matter where you are. There are no excuses. We all know where to find some nuts and berries. This diet is not impossible in terms of finding food.
With that being said, there might be some issues…
What’s the biggest hurdle with this challenge?
When you’re training hard and busting it in the gym, you need your protein. I don’t need the stress the importance of protein. This is where meat is key. This is where it’s so much easier to just load up on chicken, steak, and some eggs. Anyone that works out is used to loading up on meat post-training.
I love meat. Did I mention that?
It’s in my blood. My ancestors have all been farmers. My parents grew up on farms. My grandparents and relatives still live on farms. I often go back and visit them. To not eat meat, they would likely starve to death.
This leads to a serious question:
What do we have to keep in mind with diets?
- I really want to be open to everything and anything. Sort of like my love life (kidding!).
- There’s no such thing as one diet that’s going to work for the rest of your life.
- Budget will play a huge role on what you eat.
- You have to find something that works for you.
Next, you have something else to consider…
How do you even try a new style of eating? How do you not snap when trying to eat a new way?
The number one trick is to never go hungry or feel miserable. This will always screw you over. As soon as you get hungry, it becomes tempting to just snap and order some McDonald’s. Once you feel miserable, it’s easy to give up on a style of eating and say that it doesn’t work. I don’t want you to ever feel miserable. Life is far too amazing for that.
This is why I always recommend finding food that you enjoy.
The good news is that you’ll always find food that you enjoy regardless of how you eat: vegan, paleo, etc.
The hurdles are there. The excuses will always exist. You have to push through and make it happen. When you want do something, you will. When you don’t, you’ll think of excuses.
How did the vegan challenge go?
The first time around I snapped on day 6. I started on Sunday and then snapped on Friday night. I had some pulled pork. I couldn’t go any longer. I’m sorry. I’m going to give it a try again and go for over a week.
It was weird relying on nuts and berries for a week. I wasn’t very creative. I just kept on buying blueberries, almonds, and carrots. This sounds boring for most, but I don’t mind eating the same food over and over again.
It’s your turn to give this challenge a try. How far can you make it? How long can you go with eating like a vegan?
You can also read up more on different ways to eat.