Mamatoga Fit Tip Tuesday: Vegan in Transition

Two weeks ago I announced on Mamatoga my decision to switch to a vegan diet and the reasons why. A really great discussion even ensued on Mamatoga Jenny’s facebook page and we both found that the topic of veganism is a hot one. Like me, many people are looking for vegan products to try, and healthier options to swap into their recipes. As I wrote about in my blog yesterday, the challenge of finding new, well balanced, healthy foods to eat that are also vegan has pushed me further along into my new joyful hobby of cooking. Food preparation, recipe searching, and vegan diet research is currently taking up some extra time. I see it as an investment though, so it’s all time well spent.

I am also finding that just because a product is vegan, that doesn’t automatically make it healthy. That also really doesn’t come as a surprise.

Prior to switching to a vegan diet, I had been in the middle of my “30 Day Food Log” where I was posting everything I ate on my Real [Fit] Life blog. I made it half way through. For anyone who noticed I stopped doing that, I do intend to re-introduce it once I have a better handle on what I am eating and when, and when this new transition takes up less of my extra time.

So far I am eating a lot of sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, acorn squash, leafy greens, a large variety of fruits and nuts, lots of beans (all kinds), natural peanut butter, and grains (like brown rice, quinoa, and steel cut oats). I made a wonderful batch of vegetable bean soup, a no - noodle vegan eggplant lasagna, and a big batch of pumpkin chili. I used some tofu for the first time, bought a food processor for all the chopping and dicing, and tried vanilla hemp milk which I am now putting in my coffee in place of regular milk.

I am noticing my frame has gotten a little bit slimmer. This was not a desired side effect of my switch to eating vegan, and I hope to get a handle on the right quantities and combinations of foods in order to maintain the size I have happily been for some time now. I did just also order a raw vegan protein supplement to use in the place of the whey protein powder I had been using before. I am finding it hard to get all the protein I need without consuming soy, and while I am not against eating it in moderation, it seems to be used in a lot of vegan products and recipes and often as a meat replacement.

I was also surprised to see that the tofu I bought at the grocery store had over 300mg of sodium per serving. Yowza! Not good. Although, I did purchase that particular brand because it said it was not made with bio-engineered soybeans. Now, I haven’t researched this labeling fully, but I hope that is the politically correct way to say “we don’t use soybeans from that monopolizing, unscrupulous, morals lacking company, also known as Monsanto”.

Eating out has been an adventure. While sometimes it’s been a challenge, and the selections aren’t always abounding, I have always been able to find something to eat.

Have I strayed from the vegan diet at all? Okay, yes. This weekend my kids wanted ice cream. The place we went to did not have any vegan selections. The red velvet ice cream with cream cheese swirls was calling my name. It was everything it promised to be and more.

I don’t think the fact that I had one dish of ice cream, after seven days of a vegan diet a fail. I could have driven however many miles away to the nearest stand that had a vegan selection, but the gas from my car isn’t helping the environment either. Besides,  if everyone cut back and only consumed some meat or dairy maybe once in a great while instead of numerous times every day, we probably wouldn’t have the circumstances in existence which have been the motivation behind my switch to a vegan diet in the first place.

I would love to hear more people say “ Oops, I slipped. After a week of eating vegan, I had a cup of ice cream.”

That would be “moo – sic” to my ears.

For more from Jeannine check out her blog Real {Fit} Life here!