Well friends, most of you have probably been wondering how my vegan journey has been going this past week. Let me tell you, it’s not.
I was SO excited to try going vegan! I read a post from a fellow CFer via the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which you can read here, and it was really encouraging. If you know anything about what I’ve been going through CF-wise recently, you know I am tired all time and my digestion is terrible. These two things are what going vegan was supposed to help with.
What is “vegan”, you may ask? Basically, it means no animal products. Some may call it a plant-based diet. No meat, cheese, milk or dairy of any kind, no eggs, fish…you get it. Of course, there are vegans who eat eggs or fish, these are called ovo-vegetarians and pescatarians, respectively.
Since I have CF, I have to get a lot of calories, fat and protein. Thankfully, I’m a dietitian and have a good idea of where to get these things from. Avocados, nuts, nut butters, quinoa and nutritional yeast, to name a few.
As a dietitian, I’m not a fan of any diets. None. I do think some of them can help you lose weight quickly, but it’s not healthy and most are not sustainable. I think you have foods that you eat usually, sometimes and rarely. So for me, going vegan felt like I was going on a diet. Which of course, I did not like.
However, I thought, even if it doesn’t work out, I can at least maybe feel like what it would be like to go on a diet, and I can relate more to my clients/patients.
I told Jason my plan, and he immediately asked, “Do I have to go vegan too?”
I am not a mean wife, so I told him he did not have to, he may just have to cook his own meat, which he agreed to.
So last Saturday evening, we made the menu for the week like we normally do and Sunday after church, we headed to the grocery store.
Y’all, I was SO pumped! We bought fruits, vegetables, peanut butter, nutritional yeast, chickpeas, tons of beans, and several other items. We only spent ~$124, which is typically what we spend anyway, give or take. We even went to Sprouts afterwards and I was able to find some vegan cheese, vegan “butter” and even…vegan chocolate pudding!! If you know me, you know I LOVE chocolate pudding, so this was exciting for me!
**Spoiler Alert: vegan chocolate pudding is chunky and gross.
Now, I’ll take you day by day and tell you what I ate.
- Breakfast: We had not gone to the grocery store at this point, so I had my usual Chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast with 10 oz. Fairlife and 10 oz. Whole Cow’s Milk
- Lunch: We decided to finish off our leftovers from the day before-chicken and veggies
- Dinner: First Vegan meal!! Jason grilled corn on the cob and zucchini, and I heated up refried beans (vegan) and corn tortillas. We had tostadas and they were delicious! Even Jason really loved this meal.
- Breakfast: You probably saw my facebook/instagram post of my green smoothie that matched my scrubs…lol. It was made with spinach, almond milk, avocados and pineapple. It was GROSS. But I drank most of it to have something higher in fat to take my Symdeko medication with.
- Lunch: I was in the process of smashing some chickpeas to make vegan “tuna” salad, all the while trying not to puke, when my mom called. God bless her. She says, “Would you like some vegan Chick-fil-a?” I almost cried. “YES!” I cried. I threw the smashed chickpeas away. Didn’t even get a picture. So gross. I had nuggets and fries instead.
- Dinner: I’m honestly not sure why I thought this would be good. But I wanted to make something Jason could enjoy. So I made vegan broccoli and cheese soup. How? Cashews. We blended veggies and cashews and some other yummy items in a blender. Yea. Then stuck some broccoli in it and called it broccoli and cheese soup. GAG. Jason actually ate a whole bowl and called it “not bad”. I had one taste and I just couldn’t. Karli, my younger sister came over and she had cereal for dinner. We threw the rest out.
- Breakfast: Jason and I tried a new smoothie that a friend had sent me. It contained almond milk, ice, 1 banana, 1/2 avocado, raw cacao, almond butter and flaxseed. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t good either.
- Lunch: I didn’t have time to cook anything, so I went to Chipotle and ordered a salad with sofritas- Chipotle’s tofu. It was okay. Would have been better with chicken lol.
- Dinner: We had already planned to go to Alamo Drafthouse to see Ocean’s 8 for date night, and I was not about to be vegan here! We love their loaded fries and it was Taco Tuesday. So I participated without guilt!
- Breakfast: No more smoothies. I stuck to an apple with peanut butter and it was fantastic!
- Lunch: I didn’t have anything to take for lunch, and I was just about done with the vegan thing, so I had chicken tortilla soup from UMC’s cafe (it is SO good) and veggies.
- Dinner: We were supposed to have black bean enchiladas…but I still wasn’t feeling vegan, so we decided to go to Timeless Cafe and use our Groupon (really good food if you haven’t been!) I got honey mustard pork chops and a zucchini/corn medley. Oh, and we got mozzarella sticks. YUM.
- Breakfast: My trusty apple and peanut butter.
- Lunch: Leftovers from Timeless Cafe and veggies and fruit!
- Dinner: I had a work dinner at Funky Door and I ordered the Chardonnay Chicken. I had hummus with veggies and their delightful cheese sticks as an appetizer, plus chocolate fondue for dessert.
- Breakfast: You already know. Apple and Peanut Butter.
- Lunch: Jason made me a delicious salad with spinach, sunflower seeds, shredded cheese and chicken. I added grapes. Plus balsamic vinaigrette. I also munched on veggies and fruit.
- Dinner: Jason and I went to Sonic around 4:30 because we really wanted a late afternoon snack. I had mozzarella sticks and we shared a large order of chili-cheese tater tots with jalepenos. I ended up taking a 3 hour nap and not having dinner. I did drink a tall glass of hot chocolate later in the evening to take my Symdeko with.
- Breakfast: officially given up on being vegan.Went back to my regular carnation instant breakfast with Fairlife and cow’s milk.
- Lunch: Jason made chicken, hashbrowns and veggies.
- Dinner: Jason made steak, sweet potatoes and a large spinach salad.
So there you have it. Honestly, it may seem like I didn’t try very hard. I think I could have tried harder. But really, I love dairy products SO much and I rely on them for the majority of my calories, fat and protein. It was so hard to stay away from cheese and chocolate pudding. I do really like almond milk though.
How did I feel during the week?
I probably can’t give a good answer to this since there was not a single day that I went completely vegan. I did have regular bowel movements, but I’ve had regular BM’s for a few weeks before trying this. I still had gas and some bloating, but not much. The fatigue? Honestly, I think that’s mainly related to the sleep disorder my pulmonologist thinks I may have.
So as you can see, being vegan is not for me. I’m proud of myself for attempting it and going vegan for at least every breakfast and trying some new things. I’m really proud of Jason for unintentionally going vegan with me when I did. But it was not worth it for me.
I don’t crave vegan foods. Except for fruits and veggies, which is great, but they don’t have calories or protein! I noticed my appetite decreased and I didn’t eat as much this past week. I felt nauseas every day and even had headaches every day because I wasn’t eating enough.
Obviously, this wasn’t for me and I’m okay with that.
I’d also like to point out that I still tube fed every night, and my formula is not vegan. Vegan formulas are available, but the maker of these formulas have made another formula that I have tried and the fiber source did not like me. Lol.
I love cheese and dairy products and that’s okay. I really love chocolate pudding and I’m so glad to have that back in my life! And hey, if I decide to have some vegan meals in my life, cool! But as far as making it an every day, all the time thing? No thank you.
I’d like to take a moment to say thank you to everyone that was so supportive and encouraging. I got so many texts, comments and instagram messages and I was truly grateful and overwhelmed. Y’all are seriously so awesome!