A year ago yesterday, I walked in to SnackLab in Bentonville for what would turn out to be my last non-vegan meal. Ironically, I’m sitting in the same restaurant typing this on my one-year vegan anniversary as I pound an Earthgrain bowl (filled with quinoa, rice, sweet potatoes, spicy tofu) thinking back on a year that was way easier than I thought. Especially with my vegan wife supporting our journey…
When I set out to be vegan, I had already been dairy free (mostly… I still ate cheese knowing full well it would make me hurt hours later) since January or so. I started reading articles on the meat and seafood industry (and watched a couple documentaries) and it was like a switched flipped inside me. Bye bye birdie… and cows and tuna and lobsters, etc. I knew that vegan was the lifestyle I felt the most peace about. After all, I want to be happy about what I’m putting in my body.
Some Myths about Vegan Food…
You’ll be hungry all the time.
This is more of a metabolism thing, but I’ll say… I had to kick start my metabolism after eating once a day for years (I think trendy people call that intermittent fasting, but I never thought of it like that). Becoming vegan helped me eat on a regular schedule. I’m not more or less hungry than I ever was, I’m just putting better food (also: fuel) into my body. I definitely get filled.
It’s impossible to find food when you eat out.
This probably started as truth, especially if you don’t live in a big city; however, it’s becoming VERY easy to eat vegan regardless of where you live. If you’re in Northwest Arkansas, eating Vegan is easier every day. I even wrote an article for Leisurlist about all my favorite vegan dishes in NWA. Give it a read! There’s Pizza, Cheeze Fries, Power Bowls, Pancakes and more. If you aren’t from NWA, or you’re traveling… check out impossiblefoods.com or happy cow (an iphone app) to find vegan options. And if all that fails, Taco Bell has a certified vegan menu, and Chipotle has some yummy options.
The food isn’t appetizing.
As a former chef, founder of Baller Foodtruck, a master of sous-vide… I know appetizing food. I eat with my eyes and my mouth, and I promise: vegan food can be beautiful and delicious. Here’s a lovely little gallery of some pretty dishes I’ve either eaten or created over the past year…
You won’t get enough protein.
It’s been a year, and I’ve maintained my weight and shape (I actually might be a little more fit than a year ago) when switching to an all vegan diet. People all of a sudden were concerned about where I got my protein (it’s like they know they’re supposed to ask this question… when they never asked me anything about my diet previously). I love vegetables (you would too if you had them the way I’ve had them!): chickpeas, potatoes, sweet potatoes… I love foods like peanut butter, bananas, oatmeal, edamame… all vegan, and all rich in protein. Here’s a list of vegan food w/ protein.
Your friends and family will stop inviting you to dinner.
Haha… maybe… but in my case that isn’t true. My buddy Wiley makes the best effing vegan panang curry on earth and he invented it because he wanted to have Tyler and me over for dinner. He’s since made it a handful of times, and Tyler recently said if she could choose a way to die, it would be by drowning in said curry. What a way to go.
Also, my mom (who is a stellar baker) made me the best damn chocolate cake I’ve ever had this year on my birthday. Dense and moist and full of chocolatey goodness. I still have dreams about it.
It’s Hard to Cook Vegan.
False! I’ve made homemade vegan pasta and ravioli, sauces, tacos burritos, risotto, chocolate caramel tart, grilled veggies, guacamole potato boats, acai bowls, etc… and they typically require only beginner or intermediate skill (rarely are you working with safety cooking temperatures for meatless food!). Here is a gallery of some of my favorite dishes Tyler and I have made this year…
Do I miss meat? Or Cheese?
I definitely don’t miss or crave meat. I haven’t one single time. Maybe it’s a mental thing after reading what I’ve read or watched what I watched about the meat industry… maybe it’s my love of animals and all-of-a-sudden connecting what I’m eating to what had to give his/her life to feed me… whatever it is… I don’t miss eating meat.
Cheese, on the other hand, is proven to be addictive. I remember the first time I craved a food it was on the playground in 5th grade; it was cheese pizza. I’m still looking for a perfect cheese substitute, but I do have a couple fantastic alternatives to get me my cheese fix: vegan cheese pizza (my favorite is from Midici – there’s one in Rogers (click here for the Midici restaurant locator), and amazon has this (click here >>) Zesty Cheddar Cheeze (<<< click here) that makes me see the Lord.
How Do I Feel, One Year Later?
In one word: fantastic. I’ve maintained my weight, feel bouncier, healthier, and all around better. I’ve done it all without killing or exploiting any animal friends. Will I ever push this down your throat? Nope! As long as you don’t judge the way I eat, I won’t judge the way you eat. There are all sorts of different lifestyles and diets out there. What I do know is that I haven’t been sick or had stomach pains in a year, feel great, and have comfort knowing I’m doing my small part to make the world a happier place.
If you have any questions for me, post a comment below and I’ll check it out and reply!
Talk to you soon,