Two weeks into my vegan diet – challenges & successes

I’m a little over half-way through my 28 Day Plant Strong challenge. Though it hasn’t been easy, I’ve found that giving up meat hasn’t been the biggest issue. No, the hardest part is all the sugar, cheese, eggs, and oil lurking in food I’d prefer to eat. Being careful about ingredients has made dining out particularly hard. Everything is cooked in some kind of oil no matter the cooking process — stir-fried, sauteed or roasted. Salad has been my fall-back. But I can’t count on it always being on the menu and besides, I’ve eaten a lot of it. Oh man, am I bored with eating salad.

Veggies cooked in oil... but SUPER TASTY!

What have I learned so far? Plan ahead. This means I need to make meals in advance, carry snacks at all times, and always eat breakfast. When I’m not going to be home near my stockpiles of healthy, diet-approved food, I need to have something with me. That way I won’t get so hungry that I’ll eat whatever I find. Not planning makes it very easy to fall off track.

Still, stumbling is going to happen. The key is to not let it ruin my day and completely derail my program. For example, I ate a fantastic vegetarian sandwich at Saigon Sisters. Halfway through the meal I realized the vegetables were cooked in oil and the bread was not whole grain bread. I made the decision to get back on track when the sandwich was done rather than starve and risk potentially worse decisions.

Demonstrating how to cook without oil

Moving forward, I know that I need to cook more and this will help me eat better in the long run. I need to build the habit. Not only is it healthier, but it is cheaper too. So far, yes, eating this way has been more expensive. I’ve gotten lucky and found some of those group discount sites that have helped cut back on some of the cost. I’m sure if I was more diligent with following food sales and became more familiar with stores in my area, I could cut my food expenditure more. Just last night I was reminded of  a produce market that isn’t too far away that has a great selection with decent prices. When the latest batch of produce I have is gone, I’ll make the trek to check them out.

The biggest key to success is to make the commitment and then tell people you’ve done it. If you have the support of family and friends, it’s easier. It’s also important to monitor weight loss, and use that to bolster success. I foolishly forgot to weigh myself at the start of this challenge. However, when I weighed myself today, the number was the lowest I’ve seen in years. I may end this challenge with a giant side of cow followed by a bowl of ice cream, but I certainly won’t continue eating that way beyond the celebration. The results have been too good.

I have about two weeks left in this challenge. Follow my day-to-day progress, and check back here for my diet wrap-up. Thanks!