To Vegan Or Not To Vegan

It's a win win when my already favorite juicery and acai bowl place  (the juicery) in town is all completely vegan friendly! YASSSS!!

To become vegan, or to NOT become vegan, this seems to be the ultimate question to myself these past few months. There is no denying that becoming vegan is an extreme lifestyle change, ESPECIALLY when it comes to your social life (or so I thought). However, there is also no denying that with all the research presented to us today, it might just be the healthiest and most beneficial lifestyle change to not only ourselves, but the world around us.

Listen, I totally get it, and I used to be the FIRST person that would say what an extreme and almost ridiculous idea it was for anyone to switch over to being vegan (no offense to all my vegans out there). It's sad and unfortunate that in some ways becoming vegan is so out of "THE NORM" in today's society, that vegans tend to get appointed an unfair title or receive unwanted criticism for their lifestyle choices. For myself, I have always believed in letting everyone make the choices they choose to in life and accept everyone's differences and what they stand for. Sadly, although this is my mentality, I would be lying if I didn't say that in some way, shape or form have allowed my initial thought when first meeting a vegan to be consumed with a slight bit of undeserved personal judgement. Although I may not have vocalized my judgement, it still subconsciously took place. I think we all would agree that when first meeting a person, it's human nature to automatically have a first initial thought, assessment, or judgement, intentional or not. We ALL GET THAT, however, judging someone right from the start simply based on the foods they choose to put in their bodies?!?! How ridiculous is that?! Well, to all my vegans out there, I can now proudly say that I fully support your decisions, and will NEVER view veganism in the sometimes harsh or critical light I may have been slightly guilty for in the past. This new and improved mindest change thanks to a few people I personally know, some well documented research, and also a few good documentaries. Yes, I said it.... DOCUMENTARIES! haha...

Don't worry guys, I'm not some hypochondriac documentary watcher that takes everything Ive heard or seen in a documentary so seriously and applies it to my everyday life. (I think we all know someone like that, haha) however, becoming vegetarian or vegan has been a thought I have been playing with for some time now. As a lover of health and fitness, If the right research is presented to me in such a way that I feel I can truly benefit from health wise, then hey...I'm all ears! I love life, I plan on getting to live as much of it as I possibly can, and if there is anything I can do to greater my chances of a longer, healthier life, then why not? Wouldn't you do anything to increase your chances? After watching many good documentaries lately on this subject, it all seemed to make sense, but yet still was not persuasive enough to fully pursuade me and grasp my attention seriously enough. Well, that was until I watched the famous neftlix documentary "What the health!" It opened up my eyes, and was a real game changer. This is when I decided to participate in my own trial run of becoming vegan-ish for at least two weeks and putting this lifestyle to the test.

My First vegan grocery shopping experience, Vegan pros, how did I do?!

And... so here it is, on week two of my vegan trial run (excluding a weekend out with our friends), and here so far is what I've found these past (almost) two weeks, both the pros and the cons of this two week journey...

*Grocery shopping is so much easier and so much shorter now (probably because I'm a HUGE foodie so I'm always indecisive when it comes to what to buy, whoops!) Now, I just shoot straight to the produce section, and then off to the vegan section to get my protein/meat substitutes.

*It hasn't been that difficult in terms of dropping meat, actually, I haven't even thought about or missed any sort of meat at all. I have ALWAYS been more more of a veggies kinda girl, I'm so picky about meat protein and I just recently started to learn to like some seafood. I actually hardly ever could get myself to eat meat growing up, because I was so funny about it and the way that it was cooked. So, I guess for me the transition obviously hasn't been and wouldn't be THAT difficult. I LOVE VEGGIES! My favorite food growing up was salad, probably the only kid in the world to say that! haha

*Vegan protein substitutes are definitely more expensive, but can you really put a price tag on your health?

*Almost everything and every meal I've had this far (including desserts) that were vegan were AMAZING! Vegan food gets such an undeserved and negative wrap. I'm here to now say...DON'T KNOCK IT UNTIL YOU TRY IT!

*To become vegan DOES NOT mean you automatically could and will be living a healthier lifestyle. I think that's a common misconception. There are PLENTY of processed foods and junk foods out there that are vegan. Potato chips, french fries, etc. So even when becoming vegan, be sure to maintain a healthy lifestyle through  exercise, fitness and nutrient filled food.

*Becoming vegan is like learning how to walk again. Coming from a girl that LOVES to cook, I now often find myself confused and feeling defeated in the kitchen. Not knowing really what to cook or how to prepare it. Its definitely been a crash course in home EC. all over again...But with the help of things like Pinterest and so many awesome vegan recipe instagram accounts, It's become much easier and I'm gaining the knowledge fast.

*I feel great, I have never once felt bogged down after eating a big meal like I normally do when eating animal protein. No matter the amount of food, Its light, so it usually does not effect me too badly, no matter what the portion size.

*I'm NEVER hungry. All that talk about people being sooo hungry by eating vegan is bologne. I actually feel and stay more full throughout the day than I ever did when eating hearty animal protein induced meals.

*The one con that I have found and noticed, is that I feel Unless getting your protein through a protein vegan friendly shake, etc. It's really hard to get a ton of protein unless eating a lot of protein enriched tofu, legumes, etc. through a meal. This has been the most difficult part for no other reason other than being conditioned to a high protein and low carb diet through my fitness, I now feel the roles have been reversed. I now feel I eat super high carb, and adequate protein, but still high carb. Of course, this is clean and nutritional carb, so its not much of a concern to me, just definitely huge change from what I'm used to.

*I always though that becoming vegan must really put a strain on peoples social lives and their eating out wants due to not having many options to choose from...I was SO WRONG! There are vegan friendly options all around us today, and I had no idea. I guess because I wasn't looking, I never really noticed. Today, almost every restaurant and even fast food chains now offer at least a vegetarian option on their menu. I just saw that MCDONALD'S now even offers a veggie burger! Come on, if McDONALD'S can do it, ANYONE can and probably already IS doing it.

My first vegan friendly lunch out at Funky Fresh Foods. 

Everything there was so good. Lentils, quinoa, falafel...ummm, yass!

As I'm now approaching my two week mark of my vegan-ish trial run, I've come to realize and rationalize that this lifestyle will most likely not become a long term lifestyle for myself. Although I completely agree with and respect all that live this lifestyle, I personally do not see me EVER not eating meat again. I would be lying if I said that I would never touch another animal product for as long as I live. I love cheese too much! YIKES. However, what I AM committing to is cutting my meat and animal consumption drastically by even just small changes that I actually prefer whether vegan/vegatarian or not... for  instance...Almond milk I always will buy over cow's milk, I'm making it a point to only eat animal protein for one meal a day at most, but ultimately trying to cut it down by only a few times a week, getting all the veggies and legumes in that I can throughout the week, and choosing soy options whenever possible over dairy products like soy based puddings, etc. I believe the old saying, "Everything in moderation." The weekend will be my times to sit back and be a bit more lenient in my food decision making. 

So, to say that I have and ever will be a "DIE HARD VEGAN/VEGETARIAN" might not be the most accurate description of my lifestyle, but, I have the vegans and the health experts to thank for shedding some light on this matter when so much confusion surrounds it, and exposing me to my new healthy vegetarian/vegan-ish lifestyle, but most importantly for helping me to gain the acknowledgement and respect that you all most definitely deserve!!! You are awesome!!

*if anyone is vegan/vegetarian and has found alternatives for eating not such a high carb protein intake, I would love to hear from you. Remember, I'm a total newbie at all of this, and would LOVE to take in any knowledge that I possibly can for future use. Thanks Guys!

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