Before we get to the GVE, a reader asked me fess up about the no shave business. My statements that no one has noticed are hard for some folks to believe. So here’s a photo to show how hard it is to see any offending leg hairs from a reasonable distance. The photo was taken with my smartphone at the gym on a Saturday morning with natural sunlight streaming in through the windows. To date no one has noticed or reacted in any way to let me know they have noticed. Still not a big hairy deal.
It is now Day Six of the GVE; the Grand Vegan Experiment. I’m still waiting for the harder part. So far the most arduous task has been getting enough calories but it feels false to call that hard. All I have to do to fix a calorie deficit it is to eat more. Eating more is not hard. I still have no cravings for meat or cheese or milk or eggs or any specific dish which contains them. Brain and bowel function still seem good. I’m sleeping. I’m still in a good mood. I just don’t know if this isn’t hard because I want to do this successfully (commitment is a powerful force) or if I still haven’t gotten to the hard part. Am I going to hit a wall at some point?
I’m reading the daily posts by other 30 Day participants in the support group and my experiences thus far are less stressful. I’ve had no temptations to cheat. I haven’t gotten into arguments with anyone over how I’m harming myself with this choice. I’m not struggling to find, cook, or eat plants. I haven’t advertised my choice to anyone but my inner circle so I haven’t been attacked for it. I don’t preach the doctrine, ergo I’m not getting a backlash. There are tons of online resources at my fingertips if I have questions. From my perspective I get to eat far more than I’ve given up, so I haven’t been able to participate in many of the support discussions. I don’t mean to sound smug but this has not been a challenging challenge thus far.
But enough of that. I feel like I’m tempting the Universe to up the ante. No need to make it harder; I’m just surprised. I’ll just cut to the Q & A from friends and family.
Have I lost weight? I don’t know. I don’t own a scale. I do think I’ve reduced in mass because my clothes feel looser but I can’t say how much weight. I didn’t take measurements before I started so I can’t report in inches either. The same clothes I’ve been wearing over the past two weeks feel a little roomier. If I had to guess I’d say it isn’t actual weight. It’s more likely loss of swelling/inflammation.
How do I feel? I feel superb. I feel satisfied after meals. I have energy for work, play, and exercise. I have brainpower for problem-solving and planning. I feel good about my choice for the benefits to my physical wellness, social wellness, and environmental wellness.
Do I have to cook two dinners every night? Nope. I’ve been cooking a vegan entree and treating whatever meat he wants like a side dish for him.* I make what I want to eat and The Chef gets meat/dairy on the side. Last night I made a big vegan dish and he put cheese on his portion. Tonight will be a vegan meal and he’ll toss his own meat on the grill. It is no more work than before. And so far he has liked everything I’ve plated.
*The only thing that is harder about this is that I can’t taste-test his food. He has to come test it for salt, pepper, whatever and tell me what it needs (or add it himself). Still not a hardship.
What about when I’m too tired to cook? Peanut butter is vegan. Bread is vegan. Jelly is vegan.
Isn’t it more expensive? Not so far. I’m eating the summer vegetables that are in season, which means they are cheap. The staples like pasta, rice, oatmeal, beans, and fruit are all the same as we bought before. It helps that I’m still not buying meatless substitutes for meat or cheeseless substitutes for cheese, etc. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t see the wisdom in exchanging one processed product for another, and those fake meat and dairy products are highly processed just like the real versions. They are also expensive. More importantly, if I mean to get used to living without cheese, meat, mayonnaise, etc. I don’t want to eat things that are designed to taste like cheese, meat, mayonnaise, etc. *
*The folks in the support group disagree. They say the substitutes are helpful to allow people to transition gradually. The idea is that people won’t feel deprived of the foods they love during the transition period to a new lifestyle if they can get a viable vegan substitute. I can see the point. It might help folks who crave or want to cheat stay on the wagon. I just can’t relate. I went all in (I don’t think I can say cold turkey anymore); no transition. One day I was an omnivore. The next day I was vegan. I guess I skipped the training wheels and went straight to whole foods. Not that either way is right or wrong; it was simply my preference.
Will I try to convert my spouse (or anyone, for that matter?) No.* Assuming I stick with this past the 30 Day Challenge I won’t be throwing blood on anyone or pointing to someone’s lunch to accuse them of eating a plate of cancer. That’s not my style and I’m not in charge of the choices he makes for his body any more than he gets jurisdiction over mine. Or anyone else. I’ll be busy minding my own body.
* I can’t predict whether or not I’ll feel differently in the future. It’s entirely possible that I might want to preach the vegan gospel as an outreach some day. For now I’m just reporting on my own experience. But my spouse will always be free to choose without harassment from me.
What will happen at Thanksgiving? Pumpkin is vegan. Again, assuming I’m still vegan at Thanksgiving I’ll take my own food if I’m a guest; cook my own vegetables if I’m home. No, I will not eat Tofurky.
Any new superpowers to match the expert-level smelling, tasting, and breathing? Haven’t noticed anything new. Maybe more calm? More patient? When I crawl out of bed at 4:45 a.m. my body doesn’t seem to ache as much. That feels super.
Will I stop buying consumer products made from animals, such as leather? Probably. Since we don’t have to kill sheep to get wool I’ll probably keep using wool to keep warm. I never bought fur. I guess won’t replace the down pillow when it dies. The rest I will learn as I go. ** Update** I will not be using wool anymore; got some more education on that industry. With few exceptions, it is not humane. No more wool.
Will I join PETA? No immediate plans.
What about B12? I’m taking it.
How do I get enough protein? Plants have plenty of protein. It’s a myth that humans can’t get “enough” protein without meat or dairy. It’s simply not true. Humans can get all the protein they need from plants. Avocados, oatmeal, squash, spinach — all have protein. Most of the animals eaten by humans get their protein from plants too.
Will I eat fish/seafood? Fish and sea creatures are not plants, so no.
And that’s all I’ve gotten so far, except that I keep getting the same questions from every new person I’ve told. Not that I mind. It’s part of the experiment.
I’m off to watch Finding Nemo again to see the shark support group scene again.