In my last post I introduced the journey our family has been on the last few months, starting a Vegan diet. If or when any of you have made a big decision I’m sure there was a time when all the options, all the decisions, all the change started to get to you. You probably felt overwhelmed and maybe even started to question why you were doing what you were doing. I got to this point too with all this Vegan change. However, I was able to wade through all those emotions and came out the other side with a deeper sense of appreciation for this journey we are on.
When we made the decision to take this leap into the unknown of veganism we knew it would be a challenge. I have always been willing to take on challenges, and most of the time actually enjoy the hunt of learning all that is needed to complete the challenge. This time was no different. I started watching tons of YouTube videos. I researched lots of recipes and menu plans and I spent hours just walking through our local grocery stores reading labels and discovering all that was around us for food options. I was having fun and learning a lot.
Now there are many ways to take on a challenge like this. Some will take things slow making little changes over time, however I was so excited about all I had been learning I dove right in. Boy were we in for a shock. Hubby came home from work one day to find me in the kitchen surrounded by bags and boxes of food. I had emptied every cabinet, drawer, fridge and freezer. I cleared out anything that was not Vegan and only put back anything that was Vegan.
Wow! That one task alone had me in shock. I honestly had no idea how many products contained dairy. I had a HUGE pile of stuff that I was able to donate to a neighbor who really appreciated it. However, when I looked back on our kitchen after the job was done I realized we really did not have much food left. That meant a trip to the grocery store, but what was I going to buy? I obviously needed a plan so my next task I set out to complete was to create a menu for the week.
I got out a pen and paper and drew myself a little grid with breakfast, lunch and dinner across the top and Monday through Sunday down the side. I filled in the boxes with things I knew we already ate that were Vegan or could easily we created as such. Cereal, oatmeal, smoothies, etc. For the rest of the boxes I thought about one for one substitutes I could use. For example, a quick-lunch we have a couple of times a month is boxed mac and cheese. I knew in all my trips to the grocery stores I had seen a boxed mac and cheese that was Vegan. So that went on the list. I was actually pretty shocked how easy it was to put together. I made out my shopping list and headed to the store while hubby watched the kids.
Over the week I worked down the menu I created, cooking what was listed from our nicely reloaded Vegan kitchen. However I started to notice something about myself. Whenever I was home I felt completely comfortable and happy with our choice however when I was out shopping or running errands I found myself looking at the restaurant signs and the quick snacks at the gas station and felt like I was missing out. I started to feel overwhelmed with the choice we made and wondered if we were doing the right thing. Would I need to keep a strong will to resist the temptations forever? Would this ever feel normal? Could we ever eat out at a restaurant?
I went back home those next few days with determination to figure out how to make this work, even if it was only for the 3 month experimentation timeline. I dove into doing more research. I watched lots of YouTube videos, read lots of blogs, and over time realized that I could do this. We could do this. That there were options for getting quick snacks on the go. There were options at restaurants. We just had to be willing to accept this change and try to enjoy the process of discoveries.
Over the next few weeks I kept learning. I was chugging along with each new weekly menu I created. Each week there were several times I got to experiment with new methods of cooking, and many new recipes. We all had to get use to the fact that there were going to be meals we just did not like at all and that on those nights it was okay to pull out extra popcorn to fill up on. We got to the point where at the dinner table we would take a vote of whether the recipe was a winner of a dumpster. That way I knew if I should add it into my stack of ever-growing Vegan recipes for future menu plans or not.
As the weeks went by I realized that while I dove into this decision head first before knowing how to swim, I was doing it. I had found a way to not only keep my head above water but was able to swim well enough to venture out to sea away from the dock. I was thriving and so was our family. All it took was a willingness to keep learning and experimenting.
Like this topic? Next week I will be sharing a simple, family favorite recipe that just so happens to be Vegan.