Hello! This is Tyler Yelle, Donna’s grandson and a new guest writer on her blog. About 6 weeks ago my girlfriend and I decided to switch to a vegan lifestyle. That’s right, vegan, no animal products at all. We made this decision for a number of reasons, with the number one being our health, as there is much evidence suggesting that a vegan lifestyle, if done correctly, is the healthiest thing you can do for your diet. My role on this blog is not to tell everyone that they need to be like me and switch to a vegan lifestyle, nor am I here to disrespect the diet of anyone who does eat meat or animal products. Everyone has their own dietary choices and I am here to present another choice for people to consider.
So what can I say after being vegan for 6 weeks? It wasn’t that hard to make the switch. I was never someone that ate a large amount of meat. I would have the occasional cheeseburger or taco, but really I was never that keen on meat. When we made the switch, it started with a trip to the grocery store where we got an excessive amount of fruits, vegetables, and some pastas and bread. No eggs, no milk, no butter. “Where are your staples?!” you might wonder. When you’re a vegan though, your staples are much different because everything is plant based. We do still usually get vegan cheese and butter from the local co-op but we use it sparingly as it is expensive and we are college kids.
I don’t crave burgers. I don’t crave grilled chicken. For the most part, I don’t feel like i’m missing anything. Vegans don’t eat just salads and fruit, contrary to the stereotype we actually eat really well and really yummy food. The best part is that because our bodies are functioning more effectively off of plants, we can indulge and have extra pasta or chips and salsa, because the carbs and the calories are actually good for you.
If you have a favorite food that has an egg in it or milk in it, substitute those things out for vegan alternatives. Can’t think of any? Literally Google “vegan alternative for eggs”, or “vegan (whatever food you’re trying to eat),” and i’m sure you’ll be surprised that you might even have the things to make this dish. In my experiences the vegan alternatives come out just as good and sometimes even better. My Nanna has an excellent recipe for fudge with avocado as the main ingredient.
So what do I eat? Well I’m writing this on a Sunday where I am working from 8am-noon at my announcing job at Public Radio 90, followed by a 12:30-8:30 shift at my other job. What I mean to say is that I’m pretty busy today. And since it’s hard to get substantial vegan meals where I live, today i’m taking a whole bunch of bananas with me. Bananas are rich with a lot of things that fuel your body and will definitely hold me over until I get home tonight. When I get home I will supply my body with some carbs and maybe a little protein, so that I have what I need to refuel and energize.
During a normal week I will have some breakfasts where I eat just fruits, oatmeal with fruit, cereal with almond milk, or a breakfast smoothie. It depends on how much time I have in the morning and how motivated I am. I’m a procrastinating college student after all. Even so, eating fruit is really good for you and involves zero prep work or cooking. During the day for lunch we usually have a pasta or a vegan grilled cheese or vegan cheese quesadilla. Something good but pretty easy to throw together in the middle of the day. I’m a very big fan of roasted potatoes. For dinners we eat things like quinoa, pasta, a vegan soup, a vegan sandwich, really whatever we have that sounds good. This is a good time to load up on carbohydrates, which help your body regenerate at night and fuel you through the next day. We try to buy gluten free pasta as it tastes just as good and many people suffer from an undiagnosed gluten allergy which can give your cramps, bloating, muscle aches, and just general discomfort. We also try to eat a lot of avocados in whatever we can. They are a super food and nature’s butter so they’re good in just about anything and great for you.
Finally, if you’re still not convinced that this is something you could try every once in a while, there are even ways to have vegan deserts. Oreos are actually vegan too which is really cool! Ice cream can be made from frozen bananas that have gotten pretty ripe. Baking vegan is very easy as well, just use almond milk and an egg substitute and you can have your favorite treats without feeling guilty at all.
Veganism isn’t for everyone. Some people go with the vegetarian option which is quite a bit easier and still great for you, and some people choose to eat vegan for one day a week, which studies show, has a significant beneficial impact on your health. Experiment with it and see if it’s something you can try every so often. Lastly, i’d like to stress the importance of educating yourself on the stuff going into your body. Whether that be food, medicines, drinks, or whatever else. This is the only body you get so take as good of care of it as you can.
P.S. Sorry for the long post, hopefully it’s a good read.