There are many myths about being vegan..or should I say misunderstandings. I KNOW because up until a year ago I knew practically nothing about veganism. I read The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone and everything changed for me. I highlyyy recomend this book. Out of all the books I have read on the subject- and TRUST ME its a lottt- this is by far the easiest read. Alicia talks to you like you guys are best girl pals and totally non judgemental and understandings to the pitfalls one might face when trying out the vegan life style. Would I tell Alicia that I have been strictly vegan for 350/365 days a year- ABSOLUTELY. I wouldnt feel like I have to lie about it or be ashamed becuase she admits herself in the book that she has fallen off the wagon too. The thing I discovered and that she writes about in the books is that after you do go off you feel like "why did I do that?" and not in a self loathing way but in a "that was silly. It wasnt even worth it" way. It seems weird to think about.. When I thought of giving up icecream I thought my life would be over. I used to eat icecream EVERY night. Yes, Every Night. I would almost always do the light/low fat/gelato/skinny cow/ versions to keep it part of a lower cal plan, but nonetheless it was an every night affair that I wasnt sure I was ready to give up. In the last year I have probably had less then a pint of icecream total...when I was going through a TUB or MORE of it every WEEK before. And guess what? I dont even miss it! And when I do crave it (extremely rare) I have found an awesome vegan version. Its called Good Karma and its an icecream made from rice milk. The carot cake is my absolute favorite and it has chunks of real carot cake IN the mix! This moreeeee then does the trick for the craving. Infact its right up there with some of the hagen daaz splurges I used to have.
The misconception I plan on tackleing in the next couple weeks involves weight loss. Its one of the number one questions I get asked about! (next to- Where do you get your protein?) There are 2 misconceptions on both sides of the spectrum and I plan on disproving both of them.
1> Becoming vegan will make you GAIN weight! Pasta, Bread, CARBS CARBS CARBS... No lean protein like chicken or tuna.. its a recipe for disaster.
Why This Isn't The Case: Trust me, I was worried about this at first too. As someone who used to use the Atkins Diet to drop inches before a modeling gig or a vacation, the thought of eating rice, pasta, etc. on a regular basis scared the crap out of me. But the yo yo dieting up and down the scale buisness that would result from starting and ending the Atkins diet made me willing to try something else. More about this in a bit....
2> Of coarse you lose weight going vegan- all you eat is vegetables and fruit! What else is there? There is no variety and it's so limiting.
Why This Isn't the Case: I can honestly say that I have tried more NEW foods and branched out MORE since I have gone vegan then I did when I ate meat and diary. I felt like my whole life consisted of coming up with new ways to make a chicken breast! Now I get to enjoy foods that used to be "off limits" like PEANUT BUTTER, AVOCADOS, and even CUPCAKES! Yes I know it sounds crazy- and I was skeptical too- but I eat more of the foods I like now and try so many new foods like whole wheat pasta with grapeseed oil and herbs, LENTILS, Hummus, Juiced Fruits and Veggies, almond butter, kale, swiss chard, sweets made with maple sugar and brown rice syrup, even seaweed! (One day at a time.. don't get too uneasy!) It was actually quite a fun process trying new things and making new recipes. Going vegan opens up a whole new world of foods and trying to spice up that dead bird becomes a challenge of the past.
Since going vegan almost a year ago my weight has stayed within 3 pounds every time that I step on the scale..that is about a 1.5 pounds in in either direction. On no other 'diet' has this ever occurred. I have completely stabilized and I literally do not count a single calorie or carb anymore. I eat what I want and I dont gain weight! I havent been able eat that way in years.. everything was about how many calories I had left for the day. For me, this journey has been absolutely liberating and has given me an amazing sense of freedom. If I could see Alicia herself in person I would just give her the biggest hug- probably sob like a baby- and thank her so much for writing this book. Its changed my life.
NOW- I'll stop the mushy stuff- I've decided to challenge myself a little bit. Like I said, I pretty much eat whatever I want to maintain my weight. To lose is just as easy- be a little more conscience of what you eat and add a little working out and the pounds will melt off. With spring coming up and some trips Ive had planned I would like to lose some weight anyways so I'm going to start with a small goal- 5 pounds- and record the journey of losing them so disprove the misconception of gaining weight or not being able to lose weight on a vegan diet. At the same time I will disprove that you have no variety on a vegan diet and only eat fruit and veggies! I weighed in this morning and will weigh in a week from now and record the results:)
9:30 am (yeahhh I slept in) : 1 piece of Ezekiel Toast (a bread with no four but instead made of sprouts, millet, and lots of other good stuff..in the frozen section at sendiks) with peanut butter... Melty goodness. + a big cup of organic coffee (Rainforest Blend from Sendiks) with 1/2 cup of pumpkin spice soymilk (made by Silk, also at sendiks)
---super busy at work so didn't get a chance to eat til afternoon---
3:30- Amy's Organic (available at sendiks) Rice Noodle Mac and Cheeze. YUMOOOO! This mac has been called "heavenly" by my non vegan friend. The 'cheese' in it is made mostly from tapioca but makes the most amazing creamy cheesy sauce. You would never know by looking at it that it wasn't real cheese... creamy, stringy, amazing goodness. Make sure when you look for this that you find the rice noodle one.. the others are only vegetarian and not vegan. Let me also say this stuff isn't low in cals.. but that's the great thing is you don't have to obsess over those freakin things anymore and you will still lose weight.
8:00pm- Vegan Cupcake! Made them yesterday. If you want to make the best vegan cupcakes ever you NEED to buy the book "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World" , It will change your life :) The one I ate today I call "Breakfast In Bed".. it tastes like the most amazing butter and syrup covered Belgian waffle you could ever dream of.
8:30- Arrived Home. Need to go grocery shopping. Out of everything!! Ended up eating a bowl of corn with Earth Balance Butter (soy- non dairy- tastes JUST like regular cow butter) sea salt and pepper... still hungry.. made a bowl of organic cinnamon applesauce.. will have to get you the brand because it could quite possibly be the best applesauce I ever had. YUM.
This weekend I'm off to whole foods to stock up! This week I will be making veg chili and tempeh sloppy joes! (more on tempeh in the blog about the 'joes once I make them)
I'm super excited to track everything and try these new recipes! I promise my dinners this week will be more exciting then corn and applesauce but I had to make do tonight! ;)