I went vegan for a month and this is what happened

I've always wanted to title a blog entry that way. So intriguing! So enticing. Oooo, what is she going to say? Click bait at it's finest.

I'll spare you the details of why switching to vegan has been something I've been wanting to do for a while and why recently I've challenged myself to go completely plant-based for one whole month -- without cheating! But I will start by saying when the month ended, I travelled to Nova Scotia with my family and decided to reward myself by going back to my old eating habits. And I am kind of shocked by the fact that I really didn't care for it. I didn't like how it made me feel and I honestly didn't like the way it tasted in the way I use to. It was surprising to me. Some other things came as a surprise to me in such a short amount of time, and I wanted to share them in case others are considering doing the same (or are just curious about this topic): [FYI these are just snippets of my thoughts. I don't want to offend anyone -- I just had some thoughts recently and hope you can be open to them!]

First of all, one preconception ok, judgment, I had about veganism which was totally flipped upside-down was the idea that all vegans are crazy. I thought this for most of my life. However, the more I've talked to them and have tried to understand their motives, the more I realized that most actual vegans (I'm talking about the ones who do it for ethical reasons) are actually not crazy at all -- they're just super nice humans who have immense amounts of compassion for animals and sentient creatures. What most people see when they look at an omnivorous meal is a plate of yummy food. What most vegans see is something completely different -- they see unnecessary harm that an animal endured. This doesn't mean they don't care about other causes, or that they don't want to be friends with people who are omnivores, or that they judge omnivores (I also thought that too) -- they just have different diet and lifestyle choices to lessen the amount of suffering in the world. This made me realize that I compartmentalize the food on my plate from the places it came from. In the past, I refused to let people tell me how my meat was once an animal, or watch horrific YouTube videos (such as this one) that showed animals being abused and raped because I wanted to enjoy my milkshakes and my eggs benny with bacon. But this experience made me realize that I should be, at the very least, willing to face the truth about where my food is coming from. And if I can't do that and still enjoy it, then maybe I shouldn't be eating it.

On the topic of compassion/education, another thing that I've noticed about myself is that my compassion has been growing. That is never a bad thing for anyone, but especially for me. I've never been the most compassionate or empathetic person (hence my note above about compartmentalization), and thinking more critically about what industries I want to support has helped me become more educated, and becoming more educated has helped me care more about others needs. This has felt like a very organic process and I am thankful I am beginning to care more about others and [hopefully] a little less about myself.

butternut squash tofu scramble, baked beans and
daiya cheese, guac, cabbage and slaw,
roasted taters, and my personal favourite, soft fluffy
corn bread with vegan "honey butter."
side note: i could not finish this meal.
Secondly, another astonishing revolution has been that, YES! It's TRUE that you can have a completely satisfying and enjoyable foodie life without eating dairy, eggs, and meat! And you can feel very full. As I've been digging into more vegan food blogs and cookbooks, I've found that there is a tremendous amount of variety and that almost anything you enjoy on a non-vegan diet can be made vegan without that much extra work. One thing that's really helped me in this transition is simply changing the way I think about food. Before starting this journey, although I had the desire to switch over, I truly had no idea what I would eat. But committing to just once month made me realize that if you just think about food a tiny bit differently, it's possible to really enjoy things you eat just as much, if not more, on a vegan diet. Also if you live in Vancouver, it is a utopia of vegan alternatives everywhere you turn. Way more than I ever thought until I actually took the time to seek them out. Take this delicious breakfast I had at Bandidas Taqueria for example!
(For more info or inspiration, visit my vegan Pinterest board)!

Finally, a big change I've noticed since making the switch is how much better I feel physically and mentally. Admittedly, this was my biggest reason for doing this whole thing (I know I said I wouldn't talk about it, but it's worth mentioning the movie Forks Over Knives which inarguably proves how a plant based diet could literally save your life). I was just so low in energy and felt sluggish all the time. Even with my "cheat week" (I'll just call it that) on vacation, I still feel way better in such a short period of time since going vegan. People often argue that you can't possibly obtain enough protein on a vegan diet but after many podcast synopsis (thanks to Lucas), online resources, and through testimonials (even of supplement-free vegan body builders and athletes), I feel fairly confident that plant protein can give you all you need in your diet. Not to mention, you end up accidentally eating way more vegetables, less fat, and, even with all the vegan "junk" at your disposal, a heck of a lot less junk.

So just to be clear and to reiterate, I'm not trying to tell you to go vegan. And I'm really and truly not trying to "shove" any ideas "down your throat." I'm not trying to prove anything at all. I just wanted to share some of my insights as I discover them (as I do on here), and some of the new ways I've been thinking about food.



it is inevitable: you will become the lame mom/dad

it's an inevitable fact so we might as well all embrace it: one way or another, simply by making and raising a human, you will become the lame version of your younger, much cooler self. you know: the one at the amusement park with the hat and fanny pack, and matching family shirts, with mustard on the dads shirt, and the 2 year old throwing a tantrum; the one with the awkward stroller trying to fit into a tiny local brewery on a sunday afternoon with a newborn in a carrier, because they just want to do something cool for once; the one who wears leggings and an oversized shirt every day, and whose stroller looks more like something you tow behind your car when you go camping for a week, because she just DGAF. you know the ones i mean.

perhaps you're here and you're pregnant for the first time - congrats! you've likely been day dreaming about the adorable little fetus inside of you and what he or she will look and be like earth side. you've probably also spent some time pondering what type of parent you'll want to be and started scoping out other new parents you see on the street. you see other moms doing certain things and think "oh i want to be like that. i vibe with that cool parent." from my experience, and from listening to those around me also having babies, there's a really good chance you've started deciding things you will not do as a parent.

"i will be a cool mom" you've probably said to yourself.

"i'm not going to let this human take over my life" you declare with certainty.

well i'm here to tell you that you will almost definitely not be a cool mom (at least not the kind of cool mom you pictured when you first started thinking about having kids) and you absolutely will let the human take over your life. here are some ways that you will inevitably become the lame mom and dad you hoped you wouldn't (and why you won't care).
  • you will for sure rub rub your pregnant belly (or your partners pregnant belly). even if you're some of the rare few who resist the temptation to do this in public, as soon as you get into your comfy clothes and are in the secret of your home, you will rub the crap out of your belly in hopes of communicating with your darling child. and you will love it. 
  • you will take progression pictures of your growing bump. you may not post them all to instagram, but you know the ones you do post get more likes than any other photos you post of seawall sunsets, earnest ice creams, or cherry blossoms and blue skies. you will enjoy the attention.
  • you will go on a babymoon. my friend told me the other day she and her husband are taking a trip to hawaii during her second trimester. "oh you're taking a babymoon?" i say in jest knowing full-well she thinks that "babymoons" are super lame. "no, it's not a babymoon! we just want to take a trip and enjoy some independence before the baby arrives!" she replies, naively. "oh, yeah. like a babymoon!" i say, with smug satisfaction. 
  • you will talk to your child in an ugly voice that's even unrecognizable to your partner. you will speak in third person. when you hear yourself on camera, you will cringe. but you will continue to use that voice when you talk to your baby because he/she will light up when you do, and you will do anything embarrassing for the chance to see that happen. 
  • on that note, you will also use over-expressive gestures and basically become a walking stand up comedian slash broadway stage performer. especially on those rainy days when the two of you won't leave the house. it will be really important to you that you make your baby lol more than anyone else, and you will go to great lengths to ensure your first place ranking. 
  • you will also go to those baby sing-song groups and feel sheepish your first time for not knowing the words to the songs. you will be determined to go every week so you can learn all the actions and words to really lame songs so you can feel like the best mom while also looking like a total pro! you will not care that these songs aren't the beatles vinyl you said you would play for your infant in hopes of him/her having really good taste in music. 
  • your life will become overrun with colourful plastic shit. you won't realize it's happening because it will happen very slowly over time. you will find something plastic and gaudy in every room by the time the baby is 6 months old. you know why? because babies love plastic, gaudy, colourful crap. the uglier, the better. if you are one of those people who ends up buying only organic, wood, neutral coloured crap in determination not to let your life become overrun with the colourful plastic stuff, then have fun singing those broadway songs. all. day. long.
  • your social media will become hijacked by pictures of your child. if you are expecting and think for one second you won't post the most basic baby pictures of all times, then you are kidding yourself! even the most all-star-hipster parents who have untarnished instagram feeds, will post the basic pictures of their child. because instagram is about showing off. and your baby is, in your mind, your greatest accomplishment. 
  • you will stay in more. bonus: you won't have FOMO about it either. you will revel so much in putting your kid to bed and just being able to sit in your underwear, eat chips, and stare at a screen for two hours in silence, that you won't even care what anyone else is doing. after you are done, you will look through all of the photos you took of your child that day with your partner and gush. 
  • on the times that you do go out, it won't be like it use to. you may spend some time in the bathroom awkwardly with your pump wishing you could find a child to nurse instead of being attached to a machine, and you'll likely leave at 10pm just as people are arriving for dread of waking up the next day (sleep will be too valuable to you to stay out late, even if your caregiver has your child for the night). you will most certainly bring up your child in conversation often, and, as the night goes on, insist on showing the new friends you meet pictures of him/her even though they literally couldn't care less about your child. 
if you happen to be able to avoid some or all of the above, bravo! you managed to remain reasonably cool (assuming you were cool to begin with). but all jokes aside, my favourite thing about becoming a mom has been becoming increasingly lame over the past year and a bit. i relish in the moments when lucas and i gush over photos of casper together after a long day (with moments of frustration with each other and/or him), and we remember how awesome it is to be doing what we're doing; i confidently sport jam-stained sweaters, and cheese in my hair, without a worry in the world; and i have managed to come up with creative ways to keep our house relatively free of unsightly clutter. 
and probably the best part about being a lame parent, is having other lame parents around for the party so you know you're never alone. lame. it's the new cool, guys. 😎