Vegan Week Recap

It’s a day early, but I’m officially ending vegan week. Like a bad relationship, a promising start fizzled into something where  my vegan diet and I sat sullenly in the same room and stared at opposite walls. Up until  about Wednesday, things were great. I had fun trying out new recipes, enjoyed the moral clarity, didn’t miss dairy or eggs, and really thought this had long-term relationship potential.

Then on Thursday, I started to feel tired, headachey, and a little dizzy.  I wanted an omelet. Instead, I made and ate a nutritious vegan dinner, complete with barley, spinach, wild mushrooms, and whole wheat focaccia. I popped a vitamin, which I almost never do.  Friday: bleah. No energy, dragged myself to work, no appetite for my lunch (last night’s leftovers), so I ate a handful of berries. I got home with no energy (surprise!), didn’t want to cook, couldn’t think of anything I wanted to eat, didn’t have anything fast that I could eat. So I finished off the last 1″ of a bag of Fritos, had some almond soy milk, and ate a bowl of strawberries. I put on Ratatouille, which exacerbated my omelet craving. Finally, egged on by Kevin, I got up and made a perfect omelet, a golden crescent of gooey awesomeness, and ate it with new appreciation for the role eggs play in my wellbeing. 

I know I messed up on the last day, but I’m saddened to have to come to either of these two conclusions: 1) I don’t know enough/didn’t plan well enough to keep my body healthy on a vegan diet; or 2) veganism isn’t right for my body at this time.  The first is more probable, but the fact is that I did plan this week and ate lots of beans, vegetables, and whole grains. I spent more time planning my meals this week than I ever do as a vegetarian who eats eggs and modest amounts of dairy. And I ended up feeling pretty crappy. Maybe I should have eaten more tofu.

I don’t really know what I did wrong, but I do know that continuing would have made me feel worse. I tried on my tight jeans that were still in their super tight phase just after being washed. They felt distinctly looser than usual. As someone who isn’t even three digits soaking wet and fully dressed, I can only afford to lose so many pounds and stay healthy.

This week wasn’t a total loss. I found some fun new recipes and got over the assumption that vegan cooking was any different from regular cooking. I’m very open to trying more vegan recipes and incorporating more meals without eggs or dairy into my life. I learned that almond milk smells divine when warmed and will probably try baking with it at some point.  I feel a lot of gratitude for the egg-laying chickens that made my omelet possible and will make a renewed effort to get eggs only at the farm where I can visit the chickens and know that they’re well treated and happy. And in a little while, after I read up more on nutrition, I may try again.

But today, I’m having yogurt for breakfast.


4 responses to this post.

  1. You have to realize that it can take months, even years, to discharge the accumulated dairy, eggs, sugar, meat (anything toxic, like chemical foods, Fritos) from our bodies. You have to push through the detox period. I usually suggest at least a 1-3 month cleanse for clients who are transitioning to a plant-based diet. You can’t expect anything with just a week. It’s an accumulative thing.

    So if you want to try again and do it right this time, let me know and I can guide you.


    • Posted by ailanna on 08/08/2010 at 10:44

      Thanks, Christy! I’ll think about it. My main hang-up is that I feel great and am very healthy on a plant based, whole foods diet (Fritos are NOT a regular occurrence!) with small amounts of animal protein, so it’s hard to imagine putting myself through weeks of not feeling good and not having energy just to end up feeling as good as I used to.


      • Well, sure, if feeling good is your sole reason for eating then keep doing what you’re doing. But if the bigger picture is of concern, the ethic, spiritual, environmental, and health aspects of eating, then maybe you will revisit it someday when it feels right.


        • Posted by ailanna on 08/25/2010 at 07:31

          If feeling good were my only concern, I wouldn’t be a vegetarian. At the same time, if I don’t feel good as a vegan, I think being a vegetarian is an appropriate compromise for the environment and my ethics.


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