The 30 Day (Almost) Vegan Challenge

The 30 Day (Almost) Vegan Challenge

Posted by Rob, Tom’s of Maine Brand Manager, Citizen Engagement

RobinsonWhen I tell people I meet that I work for Tom’s, I am always surprised how many make the assumption that I’m a really healthy person. So here’s my true confession: my healthy-living habits have always been a bit… sporadic.  Periods of intense healthy living tend to be followed by equally intense periods of not-so-healthy living.  When my wife came to me with the idea to eat a vegan diet for 30 days – let’s just say I was game, but skeptical about any lasting impact.

If you are one of those people who thinks “I could never be a vegan”, trust me, I know exactly what you are talking about.  I love my cheeseburgers, my over-easy eggs, and my coconut ice cream.  But 2010 ended in one of my unhealthy periods, and the way I felt made me realize my body just isn’t up for the punishment anymore.  I felt ready to do something big to try and get back on track.  I’ve also read Diet for a New America and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and I’ve seen Food, Inc. Food is one of my biggest passions (both the cooking and the eating), but I do think a lot about the ethical and environmental implications of my eating choices.

My first surprise was our grocery bill. I expected it to be more expensive than usual, and it wasn’t.  We bought a lot more fruits and vegetables, but the cost of these seemed to be offset by the fact that we weren’t buying any expensive proteins.  We bought a juicer as well, an up-front investment which has steadfastly been proving its worth.  Who knew I would really like a juice made of celery, kale, broccoli stems, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, ginger and pears?

The second surprise was how quickly I started to feel better.  In the mornings I’ve felt especially clear headed and full of energy – and this after cutting my usual 6 cups of coffee a day down to 1.  I am still allowing myself a splash of cream in that cup – the reason for the “Almost” in my post title.

There have been downsides too.  I’ve noticed that my energy seems to lag in the afternoon, and for the first couple of days, I was pretty irritable (my colleagues might say, “more than usual.”)  But the biggest challenge for me is that I’m finding the diet to be a lot more time consuming, both in the planning and preparation.  I’m not someone who can eat salads every day and be satisfied, and I’m finding it tough to come up with vegan meals that are both satisfying and easy to make.

I’m not really sure where this will end up, but I am committed to the diet for at least 30 days.  I’d love to hear from others who might have advice on how to make it through!