About a week ago, after watching some documentaries that got us thinking about our food choices, Mat and I decided to try going vegan.
At first it didn't seem like it would be too hard, since we never cook or eat meat at home, and the only dairy products we really use are butter and cheese, and those sparingly.
In fact, at home being vegan was pretty easy. The hard part was finding things to eat when we were out at restaurants with friends, and saying no to things we are accustomed to eating. It was helpful to have each other for moral support, and to keep each other accountable and remind each other why we are trying this in the first place.
A few days in, I really started to miss the taste of fatty foods like eggs and cheese. Mat said that his energy was flagging, and that he generally felt hungrier. My energy was fine, but I definitely I needed to eat more frequently that I used to in order to feel satisfied.
One day I bought a jar of cashew butter and blew through it in less than 72 hours. I couldn't get enough of the rich, fatty taste, and felt that it was more satisfying than any other snack foods I had at home.
I won't say that we stuck to 100% vegan foods the whole week. But we did completely abstain from meat, and we stayed away from dairy probably about 90% of the time.
We have decided to continue with this diet, staying away from meat and slowly phasing out of eggs and dairy. Vegan friends have advised us that it may take some time to move away from them completely, and we're fine with that. We feel much better just having cut out meat, both from health and ethics standpoints.
One thing we're trying to be conscious of is getting the right balance of nutrients. There are a couple of key nutrients, like Calcium and Vitamin B12, that are a bit more difficult to get on a vegan diet. Calcium is in lots of plant-based foods, but we need to make sure we're getting enough of them every day. For B12, we unfortunately need to rely on a supplement, since it's a microbe that's almost exclusively found in animals.
The good news is, when there's no meat, dairy, or eggs on your plate, you have room to fill it with lots of colorful vegetables and fruits, which naturally give you much more nutrient content than you'd otherwise be getting.
Like any lifestyle change, I'm sure this will take some time, but I'm glad that we're giving it a try, and that we haven't thrown in the towel yet!