Three weeks ago, I went vegan cold-turkey, deciding at breakfast that I wanted to see what the excitement concerning only-vegan food was all about. As all those of you know who have been following my blog, I have been interested in vegan recipes the entire time, but was far from being vegetarian or vegan. The past three weeks, I have been testing a wholly vegan diet, and the plan was to continue for an entire month. As plans go, though, I didn’t make it that long, and here’s why:
Before I give you the gist of why I stopped eating wholly vegan after (only) three weeks), I’d like to remind you of the fact that I don’t do well on restricted diets in general: be it low-carb, Schlank im Schlaf, or vegan, I am just too extreme a person to handle it well, I guess. The reasons I still wanted to try out eating purely vegan are, for one thing, that I really enjoy vegan food. I have tried out so many new cool recipes that are vegan in the past 4 months, and I have always enjoyed them. Another big issue was that I wanted to see whether all those reports you find online about people turning vegan feeling so much more energized and healthy than before were true. True for me, that is – because I don’t doubt that the people talking about their experiences really do feel better after going vegan!
Let’s start with the things that were great in the past three weeks: first of all, I didn’t feel as guilty about eating as much as I liked portion-wise; after all, it just takes more to fill you up if you’re eating a plant-based diet. Another awesome part of vegan eating was that I really did eat more veggies than usual, but also more fruit – and I didn’t realize this was possible, because I have always integrated loads of fruit and veggies into my diet. It was awesome to find out new ways to integrate even more healthy foods into my diet, and I really drew a lot of new ideas from my vegan cookbooks (e.g. The Oh She Glows Cookbook – which I recommend to anybody, be it vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore!).
As for the negative parts of vegan eating, I am a bit worried that they will be mistaken for a bashing of the vegan diet. This is not at all my intention, I am speaking only from the short experience of those three weeks – and I realize that everybody’s experience is different. I should add that I have always eaten healthily, and I have always eaten a very small amount of meat, so making the change to a vegan diet was not so much about eating healthier and vegan, but about cutting out cheese, the little meat I did eat, and continuing to eat healthily. And, I did inform myself very well prior to the experiment, so I highly doubt that I was missing minerals or vitamins.
Overall, the last three weeks, I have been feeling increasingly weak, bloated, and unsatisfied (foodwise). Feeling weak may be due to the changing climate (it’s been getting increasingly cold), and, as I didn’t eat much meat before those three weeks, I suspected that my B12 levels were a bit low, which is why I have been taking some this past week, making me feel a bit better. The bloating and general uneasiness concerning my digestive system (sorry about this less than interesting topic) may be due to the increased amount of legumes I had been eating, however I fear it was more than that. The first couple of days I told myself it was just the transition, and that the awesome-healthy feeling would soon kick in. But, over the course of three weeks my stomach just started feeling worse and worse. I still don’t know whether it’s solely due to what I was eating, but I suspect that it’s at least in part responsible. And, concerning the lack of satisfaction after meals…I have read enough on the subject to know that this subsides for most people after eating vegan for a while. I was honestly just getting sick of not feeling “full”, even if I consumed loads of veggies, legumes, plant-milks, grains, nuts. It must be mostly psychological, but I just started craving meat so badly – which is a very foreign feeling to me, as I’ve never eaten lots of meat, and never felt like I needed it. Turns out I do need it, as well as some cheese. I had a steak last night, and today is the first day I feel energized to a normal level – the only way I can explain it is due to the fact that I’ve been eating meat and cheese again for three days now.
To draw a resumé: the vegan diet didn’t work for me. Perhaps it would have turned out great had I continued for longer, but I didn’t see any reason to keep going doing something that made me feel less than energized and unhappy. I don’t regret testing it, though, as I did figure out a couple new recipes during that time, for example my vegan buttery cheese spread.
To finish off this very long post, I want to present to you a Chicken-Veggie-Curry I made on Friday, to “break the vegan fast”, which easily can be made vegetarian/vegan. Don’t worry, all you vegan/vegetarian readers: I won’t turn into an exlusive meat-enthusiast, I’ll keep posting both vegan and vegetarian recipes, and recipes with vegan/veggie options!
The awesome thing about this recipe is that it really doesn’t rely on much but veggies, coconut cream, and thai-curry-paste. It can be prepared within 15 minutes, and you can trade the rice for millet or rice noodles. You can add chicken, prawns, fish, tofu, or “only” veggies, making this the go-to recipe for cleaning out your fridge!
- 1 tsp. peanut oil
- 1 can coconut cream
- 1-2 tsp. thai-curry-paste (I always use red paste, as it is the spiciest and we love spicy food)
- veggies, whichever you like (see picture below for the ones I used)
- 350g diced chicken (leave out for vegan/vegetarian version)
- 1 cm diced ginger (optional)
- sliced chili (optional – as I said, we love spicy/hot food)
- 1 tsp. Sambal Olek (optional)
- 1 tsp. honey
- 2-4 Tbs. soy sauce (depending on the type of soy sauce you may need more or less)
1. Start cooking the rice.
2. In a wok, heat up the peanut oil and add the ginger, chili, thai-curry paste and sambal olek, if using.
3. When the curry paste has “dissolved” and mixed with the oil, pour in the can of coconut cream. Stir, and allow to boil.
4. Once the coconut cream starts boiling, add the chicken. Put the lid on, and start cutting up your veggies. I used carrots, bell peppers, brokkoli, and bamboo sprouts. If you’re feeling experimental, you could also add half a banana, adding a slightly indian touch to your curry.
5. Once the curry starts boiling again, add in your veggies, the soy sauce, and the honey. Bring to a boil again, stirring occasionally, and then put the lid on, allowing it simmer on a lower heat level. The sauce will thicken up the longer you allow it to simmer.
6. After allowing it to simmer for at least 7-8 minutes, taste the sauce and add more soy sauce, if needed. If the sauce is too spicy, add a bit more honey.
7. Serve with the rice, and enjoy!