Saturday, January 5, 2013

What the heck does a gluten-free vegan eat?

I'm on Day 19 of the PETA 30 Day Vegan Challenge... and so far, it hasn't been nearly as challenging as I'd expected it would be. The rundown on what I gave up:

Meat, including fish: This wasn't very difficult for me. I've never been all that hooked on meat, thanks to the section in my 5th grade science textbook on the hazards of food-borne illnesses (my mom wasn't too pleased when I came home and started questioning her cooking techniques...) On the rare occasion when I crave meat, it's always for a big, juicy steak, which is something I wouldn't want to consume on a regular basis anyway.

Milk: I've been drinking milk alternatives, especially almond milk, for a while now. Almond milk tastes rich and creamy (like milk) but not too sweet (unlike ricemilk), and it doesn't have soy's distinctive texture. No problems here, either.

Yogurt: I mostly miss the convenience of yogurt. It's a great way to get a substantial dose of protein, calcium, and energy in one little bowl. Soy yogurt is readily available, but again, I'm not a fan of the texture. Coconut yogurt is decent, though.

Eggs: Eggs on their own, I can take or leave. It's harder to avoid them in baked products or things like waffles and pancakes, but I just read labels a little more carefully.

Cheese: I thought I'd be craving cheese! I've never met a cheese I didn't like, even the stinky, goopy, blue ones. But I'm not hankering for it. Not yet, anyway. I'm most surprised by this particular aspect of my vegan foray.

Here are some of the things I've been enjoying during this challenge:

Fruits and vegetables, of course!

Almond milk. Oatmeal. Sometimes together.

Carb- and protein-rich basics

 A probiotic drink, since I'm not eating regular yogurt anymore

Earth Balance spread (a little goes a long way, and it's so good) and corn tortillas

I feel good and am thinking about extending the challenge another two weeks once this month is up. Am I ready to commit to a total vegan lifestyle? I don't know yet. I have another work trip (with non-veg coworkers) coming up this month, and although I will have access to a refrigerator and microwave, the kitchen situation is a little sparse. So I'm going to try the vegan thing in that situation and see how it goes. If it's too stressful, though, I'll reevaluate. I travel a lot, and as prepared as I try to be in terms of having snacks on hand and planning where to shop, it's not always easy to find food that meets the gluten free/vegan requirement. Nor do my traveling companions always have patience for what some of them see as pickiness.

Aside from that, though, I am 100 percent behind veganism in that it supports sustainability, a healthy environment, and animal welfare. And those reasons, too, have been part of the motivation making this challenge pretty straightforward.


  1. I'm cutting out sugar, gluten, and dairy for two weeks. And maybe some other stuff too. It's an online course type of thing where they give you instructions and recipes. I'm sure I could do it on my own, but I won it and am very happy for the extra help. I've never even attempted to cut out gluten. We're still eating limited meats. I'm interested to see if I feel like continuing once I'm done and to see if I lose weight. I'm not necessarily interested in losing weight just for the sake of losing weight, but I have felt kind of bloated with the holidays, which I know is not helping me in the speed department of running.

    1. Since trying this vegan diet, I've noticed that I'm a lot more clear-headed... Less brain fog, fewer cobwebs. I'm definitely leaning towards continuing the vegan thing.