Last month I decided to try a vegan challenge and remove all animal products from my life. I wanted to wait to post a reflection on the last month until I had time to process everything I took in over the last 4 weeks. The information on how the meat industry and meat itself affect the environment, your health, and the lives of the animals, was extremely overwhelming and really gave me a lot to think about.
It’s easy to get into habits and never really think about the impact your decisions are making on the world. This process has really opened my eyes to the power that each of us have to effect change in the world. When we are equipped with the knowledge of how our decisions impact the earth we can make a conscious effort to make better decisions. That does not necessarily mean entirely getting rid of those bad habits, but instead limiting them or looking for better alternatives. This was absolutely the case with my coffee addiction. There is no way I was going to cut coffee out of my life (Coffee is bae <3 ) but there had to be a better way to have a milky cup of coffee without the blah after taste of almond milk. In week three (Post here) I found the perfect creamer that lets me continue my addiction without contributing to the abuse of dairy cows.
I am not ending this series saying that you should give up meat 100% right now or your a jerk. However, if you are going to continue to eat meat, you can effect change my choosing to eat meat that comes from cruelty free, grass fed, local farms. Choosing to purchase from the slaughterhouses that use the brutal tactics seen in Meet Your Meat sends the message to these companies that you are alright with the abuse the animals suffer before they are turned into the meat you are eating. (See post on Meet Your Meat here) Purchasing power is the best way to send a message to a company that you are not alright with their practices. Limiting your meat protein to fewer meals a week or choosing to support local free range farms are great first steps to take towards making a difference.
From this month I have found that it’s best to always remain curious and try new things. Some of the vegan options that I tried this month are things I wouldn’t normally even notice. I mean tofu cheese… Who would honestly flip over that, and now my go to recipe for garlic bread with always include Tofuti slices. (Post here) We live in a time when there are amazing alternatives for most animal products. I encourage anyone to try some of the options. You might just find it’s easier to switch to more plant based products that you thought.
My Future Eating Habits:
Over the last month I kept a record of my food intake so that I could ensure that I am getting the right amount of calories and the right macros. I have found that my protein intake over the last month was pretty consistently below my bodies requirements. This is not me saying that you cannot get enough protein from a vegan diet, you absolutely can. I at this current time do not posses enough food knowledge to ensure that I am getting that intake. This is going to be something that I continually work on and research so that I can keep making the best decisions for my body and the world. I want to continue exploring a plant-based diet, but I also want to make sure that I am taking care of my body.
Meat isn’t the only product that is making a huge negative impact on the world. Soy bean production causes a lot of destruction to the plant and the environment. Miles of the Amazon rain forest are destroyed every second for the production of soy bean as well as animal agriculture. Excessive use of soy products is hazardous for your health and can lead to certain cancers rapid growth. However, soy is one of the go to ways for vegans and vegetarians alike to get their protein intake. To continue with my journey towards being fully plant based I want to continue to explore new alternatives that don’t have the same negative impact. One product I have been meaning to try is Hemp Tofu which contains 15g’s of protein per 4 oz of tofu. Finding things like this will help me make better decisions and take care of myself.
One aspect that took a lot of thought was my love of food and trying new places. Variety is the spices of life and I LOVE to try a new spot. While I will be eating plant-based most of the time, I am going to allow myself to try meat options once a month. The information I learned is not wasted on me, I do see all of the bad that comes from the meat industry. But, I don’t think this has to be all or nothing. Before I took this challenge, each week I would probably have all my meals with a meat protein with the exception of 2-3. Since the challenge, I have almost entirely eaten plant-based with the exception of 1 meal. This series has made a huge impact on the way I eat and the decisions that I have made. In the future, I want to work towards a fully planted based diet, but for me right now I want to allow myself the option. This does mean that I will be looking for places that use care in selecting their ingredients from local farms that use good practices. This is a very LA thing that isn’t too hard to find. (Comment below about the availability of these options where you live! I would really find that interesting)
Another aspect of life that would complicate my decision to remain vegan would be traveling. When you travel a huge part of experiencing another culture is in their food. When I was in Germany, the classic dish was schnitzel. In Prague it was goulash and Belize it was the royal rat (Not really a rat, more like a rabbit) There are always those cultural dishes that connect you with the people and history of that place. These are the kinds of moments that I do not want to miss. I have also considered that there are a number of places where it would actually be very hard to eat anything that was vegan. Meat has become such a staple in many places diets that there might not be to many other options.
So to wrap it all up – I will be continuing on a plant based, leaning towards vegan diet. I am still working towards making the full conversion and I feel god about the positive changes that have come with this process. I would love to hear your thoughts on my final decision. Comment down below!!
Until next time my Wild Pretty Things <3