A few months back I wrote a post about how I would not be doing another Whole30. While I learned a lot of great things (sugar is lurking everywhere y’all!!), it was too much meat for me, and post-holiday season I was pretty much eating a vegetarian diet.
I’ve stuck to a vegetarian diet ever since.
This is both a big reversal (I’d tried a lot of paleo recipes last year!) and then again, not so surprising (I went vegetarian in high school, but returned to eating meat in college. I wish it had been easier to be vegetarian in the Midwest back then). After 6+ months, I’d say this change is for life. Meat has never been a big craving for me, but I was still kind of surprised how easy it was to just… go cold turkey (too easy, I know!). I had been vegetarian for periods of my life and I often chose the meatless options, so I guess it was easier for me.
Because it was so easy, however, I started to get curious about a vegan diet. I knew from my Paleo days that dairy didn’t agree with me, as much as I loved it, so from a health standpoint, it made sense. I also knew that a vegan diet was a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Studies suggest it’s one of the single most impactful things you can do for the environment as an individual – it can decrease your carbon footprint by 70%.
I had also started to learn more about many of the barbaric modern agricultural practices out there. As an animal lover and pet owner, this made me really sad. And super uncomfortable. Even more so when I realize that I was contributing to suffering by consuming non-meat animal products like dairy and eggs. I think on some level a lot of us, like myself, realize that the cognitive dissonance we tolerate while eating animal products is a bit crazy. I’d never be directly cruel to an animal… so how did it make sense I was eating them?
This is not to say I’ve stopped eating dairy overnight. I love cheese. This is a hard transition. But… I want to get there. So, after searching around the internet a bit, I found and signed up for a vegan challenge group called Challenge22+. Basically, for the month of August (or the majority of it, anyway), myself and others will be following a vegan diet, while exploring new foods through daily challenges, and sharing them on a private Facebook group. The Facebook group is AMAZING. There are mentors that answer questions, offer advice, and just generally are as supportive as can be. It’s also really heartening to see newbies like me starting out – we’re in it together and it makes it more fun!
Plus, it’s delicious. Check out this bad boy from Shouk, a completely plant-based, fast-casual spot in DC:
Obviously, new adventures ahead… I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going 🙂