A few friends of mine recently turned vegan and noticed an improvement with weight management, an increase in energy, and feel overall much healthier…so I thought I’d give it a try for a month to see how it made me feel.
Here’s how it went for me…
WARNING: You may become very hungry after reading this post. It’s all about FOOD.
WEEK 1 – Start date: November 3rd
It was a bit of a rocky start, as it took time to become reaaaaaaally aware of ingredients…and there were a few oversights because of things I automatically cook with during meal prep, such as oyster sauce and Better than Bouillon chicken stock, which are now blatantly obvious! lol
On November 4th, we watched Georges St Pierre fight, at a sports bar. Not many vegan options, as you could assume. We had onion rings and yam fries…not very healthy and now that I think about it, it was likely not deep-fried in a vegan way either.
The following day I made up for it by going to the Vancouver Health Show, learning some things and discovering some vegan food products, such as “pulled pork” using young jackfruit instead of pork. Also picked up amazing vegan dumplings from one the vendors, House of Yee. Later that evening, I went for happy hour drinks at Earls Kitchen and had a delicious Quinoa & Avocado Powerbowl, while I watched my family eat chicken wings, tuna poke, and meat pasta. I love all those things but luckily the powerbowl tasted amazing, so I was barely even phased.
That week, I meal prepped more powerbowls. I admit, I became a little obsessed with powerbowls…because they were so yummy, so colourful, and so easy to prepare! The powerbowls consisted of chickpeas, quinoa, orange peppers, cucumber, spinach, corn, and avocado…and then I had it with hot sauce. I pretty much ate these for lunch and dinner until I became tired of them.
After a week or so, I started to get the hang of it and was better at catching myself from eating things with eggs or dairy hidden in them. I also was pleasantly surprised at how restaurants are able to cater to veganism. I went to Hapa Izakaya with a couple friends, and the server pointed out all the vegan-friendly options AND had the kitchen make a few off-menu items just for us. We ended up enjoying a roll, a salad, a stone rice bowl , yaki udon, and a whole lot of sake. It was a great night.
The next day was my niece’s birthday, so knowing that there would be nothing we could eat there, we went to Jinya Ramen Bar for the Spicy Creamy Vegan Ramen (add corn), my new favourite dish! Then after playing with the kids for 3 hours, we had worked up an appetite, so we went to a nearby sushi joint to have a few vegan rolls. Later that night, some friends & I enjoyed a big meal at The Naam in Kits, a vegetarian restaurant with live music on the weekends!
The next day, I went to Virtuous Pie with the same vegan homies from the previous night. On Monday’s, they have all-day happy hour with select pizzas and wine on special! This place is amazing, whether you’re vegan or not. And then the day after that, we went for vegan hot pot at Little Sheep Hot Pot. They have a vegan broth (which comes out clear as water, but don’t worry, it becomes more flavourful throughout your meal) and a huge selection of veggies and sides that you can order a-la-carte.
For lunches, I prepped powerbowls again. Quick, easy, and delicious. Pretty much used the same ingredients, but then I became a little tired of them by the end of the week again. This is when I realized I needed to become more creative when cooking vegan meals!
On Friday, I finally went to try Melu Juice Bar with a girlfriend. Had their lunch combo that came with juice (I had The Hulk), a salad (Undercover Curried Rice w/ Zoodles), and a health bar (Salted Pecan Pie). Everything tasted sooooo good, and the shop is really cute too!
On November 18th, we decided to take a break from veganism and enjoy all the things at Pan Pacific’s Opera Buffet. It was a fantastic meal and made me realize that I’m okay with incorporating some meat back into my diet. I had really been missing fish! Dairy and red meat, I could live without…and especially being lactose-intolerant, I try to stay away, and take a Lactaid pill only when absolutely worth it.
The next day, I meal prepped chickpeas, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and zucchini for my lunches. It was a nice change, and still super simple to prepare!
My lunches were healthy but I was finding that the rest of my meals were quite carby, since most vegan options I craved were noodle dishes or vegan pizza. I hadn’t noticed many health benefits yet, other than feeling less gross or heavy after meals. The difference was more noticeable after eating out, like having vegan ramen vs chicken ramen.
It was around this time where I decided to be 86% VEGAN – that’s 3 meals a week where I can have meat. I was missing sashimi like you wouldn’t believe…and then I was magically treated to sashimi and sushi rolls at Tojo’s! If you haven’t been, you must go.
Following that weekend, my lunches were consistently healthy and vegan, and my dinners were either salad or noodles, depending on cravings or who I was dining with.
And here we are after a month of veganism. It has definitely tapered off (maybe about 50% vegan now) and I decided to go back to eating meat because I felt like I was missing something from my diet. My eczema came back in full force and I found myself craving heavy carbs again… but on the plus side, this vegan trial made me want to eat cleaner and get more creative with my meal preps. I made butternut squash for the first time, and I loved it. I dine often with my vegan homies, so there are still many more restaurant/recipe discoveries to be made!
So there’s a glance into the vegan life… and some really awesome vegan restaurant recommendations for all you foodies out there!