Going Vegan for One Week: An Experiment

Hi gang,

I’ve come up with yet another food related experiment. After 3 weeks of full on food overload (delicious though) with friends and family and many many outings to restaurants, cafés and bakeries and I thought why not try….and going vegan for one week (meaning, besides no meats to eat no dairy products).

So, what happened, you ask? I failed on day 3 (that was two weeks ago). And I must say it was mainly due to the fact that I hadn’t really prepared for it and thought I could just wing it.

Well, no.

I decided to give it another try, put a little more thought into it and went for a big shop on Sunday.

A short excursus here: We went to our regular neighborhood supermarket (still big in comparison to Swiss supermarkets) and not to Whole Foods, which I’m sure would have had more vegan options. Still, “armed” with all the salad items, vegetables, grains, oatmeal, fruit, vegan butter, vegan cheese (ewww) I felt like I could take on this week without a problem.

Still I only passed my vegan experiment by 95%? Read on more about it below!

Breakfast

Breakfast actually was the one meal I found the easiest to do throughout this whole week.

I normally eat porridge for breakfast and even when I’m not doing a vegan experiment, I use almond milk to cook it as I find it delicious and feel like it doesn’t sit too heavy in my stomach either. In short: I had either porridge with almond milk (also bought a chocolate almond milk version to spice things up a little, very delicious), dates and bananas or strawberries. I switched between the porridge and homemade acaï bowl with bananas and granola. Usually accompanied by a herbal lemon or fennel tea. Very delicious.

Lunch

Rich Salads were my go to option for lunch. However, I went to one lunch talk at MIT where I was confronted with their buffet options (grilled meats, cheese platters, … you get the picture. NOT VEGAN.). Let me just say that I was the person eating all the hummus and olives.

Snacks

I mostly ate fruit like grapes, bananas, strawberries, dates or energy and protein bars (I actually kind of developed an obsession for energy bars, more on that topic soon). And dairy-free ice cream by FOMU or Ben & Jerry’s. Other than that, nothing special to report.

Dinner

I discovered a new grain: FARRO (Dinkel for you Swiss and German readers). I love it! So I went for it and made a zucchini risotto. I tried to sprinkle a bit of vegan Mozzarella on it at the end, which I regretted. It just didn’t taste right. Other options were a delicious vegetable curry with rice, lots of chickpeas. I basically must have eaten 5 tins of chickpeas all by myself.

I don’t regret it though. I love me some chickpeas.

Why I Failed

I failed twice to be exact.

AND it was other people’s fault (of course, no but really).

Let me explain. The two times I could actually not keep up the vegan promise (if you want to call it that) was when I was involved in social situations with other people. On Friday for instance, we had a boardgames and pizza evening with our international Harvard friends. I even tried to research vegan pizzas in Cambridge before going out. But a few clicks in, made it clear that the next vegan pizzeria was way too far away, I gave up. I know I know. I just didn’t want to be the special one who had to order a pizza especially made for her.

Second time I gave in was at a baby shower on Sunday. I just wanted to taste some of that beautiful cake, I mean, do you understand what I mean? Weak me. 

Conclusion

I really do admire vegans, as I now understand how much preparation and discipline it must take to really go through with it. Obviously every vegan reading this will shake their heads at my weak (or non existing) discipline.

Could I be a vegan? I consider myself a flexible vegetarian, meaning that I will mostly eat vegetarian 90% of the time, with the odd exceptions of a good and organic piece of meat, cordon bleu or a bit of bacon at breakfast every once in a while. I find that it is way more easy to upkeep a vegetarian lifestyle as you still are allowed to eat honey, eggs, yoghurt and cheese. Foods that I simply love.

The milk and the butter I find rather easy to substitute, while it seems impossible to me to find a good substitute for cheese. I did try a coconutmilk yoghurt but didn’t like it too much. And eggs every once in a while are nice to have for breakfast. This has become more of a ramble than a structured text now.

All to finish off by saying that I find it very important to eat a balanced diet including everything there is (even though I am mostly leaving out meats and fish), while I of course respect everyone’s decision on how to eat the way they want to. I totally understand all of the reasons behind going vegan and again, I admire the determination. Still, I don’t think it’s for me.

Are you vegan or trying to be? Could you picture yourself being one? I’d love to hear your comments below!

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