Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains. Sounds delicious! There are so many diet recommendations out there, I decided to learn more about a vegan diet. After learning about it, I wanted to try it out. I decided to eat a vegan diet for seven days. My husband and two kids wouldn’t change their way of eating, but I wanted to try this for seven days. It’s only seven days, I could do it, right?
To put it simply, eating a vegan diet means consuming no animal products. That’s right, no dairy, meat, fish, or eggs. This way of eating has many health benefits. There is extensive research that shows that people eating a vegan diet have lower rates of chronic disease, including heart disease, elevated blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, and some cancers.
Planning and preparing for the week was vitally important. I decided to write down what I planned to have for dinner each night (and what my husband and kids would be having), have some basic ideas for breakfasts and lunches, and then make my grocery list based on this.
Every morning, the breakfast was the same (boring, but easy): whole wheat tortilla with peanut butter, chia seeds, and unsweetened coconut flakes. I also made a fruit and veggie smoothie (assortment of frozen and fresh fruits and veggies). I changed what I put it in it every day, including a few of the following: fresh or frozen spinach, kale, carrots, berries, banana, mangoes, and pineapple.
On Sunday afternoon, I prepped my lunches for the work week. My favorites were the Mexican grain bowls: quinoa, black beans, diced red peppers, chopped green onions, corn, and salsa. These were hearty meals, and they had tons of mouthwatering flavor!
For dinner, I made what was on the menu, and I adjusted the meal for my family, as needed…usually adding chicken, eggs, shrimp, or lean pork. Although I was eating a vegan diet for seven days, I understood that they still wanted to eat some animal foods.
Dinners were the hardest to prepare for my family, since I was the only one eating a vegan diet. I had the same “base meal,” but I added meat, cheese, and/or other non-plant foods to make it more appealing for my kids and husband.
My kids and husband have some things that they love eating and drinking. Just because I was doing this experiment didn’t mean that I had to make them do it, too. To avoid any meltdowns, they still could have string cheese, chicken fingers, pizza, milk, ice cream, and other non-plant foods.
4. Perks for the Family
My husband was on board for this experiment of eating a plant-based diet for seven days…as long as he could still eat non-plant foods! After the week was over, he was pleasantly surprised by the meals that I had prepared. For instance, one night I made cauliflower fried rice with tofu. We both thought that it was as good (or better than!) regular fried rice. It is not as filling, has fabulous flavor, and is so much more nutritious! Another vegan food that I tried was tempeh. It is a soy product that is drier and chewier than tofu, and it’s delicious when marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil.
We found out that we like a lot of vegetables and fruits, and we like eating them on a regular basis! The kids would ask for raspberries and strawberries for dessert instead of a piece of chocolate. Everyone enjoyed the new flavors and colors that were on our dinner plates.
5. What’s Next?
I think that this experiment was so much fun! I loved looking at and trying vegan recipes. It opened up a whole new side of food for me. With that being said, I don’t think that I could do this all of the time. It took a lot of planning and effort to get meals on the table for everyone all week long, and I don’t think that I could keep that up every week. I definitely enjoyed eating a vegan diet for seven days though!
My family and I will be eating a lot more vegetables, fruit, and other plants in our meals from now on. I read a book titled VB6 by Mark Bittman, and it’s about eating vegan before 6:00 p.m. (aka breakfast and lunch are vegan, and dinner is not). I might try to adopt this way of eating.
More Plant-Based Meals
Eating a vegan diet is arguably the healthiest way to eat. I may not become a full-time vegan, but I will definitely start eating and preparing more plant-based meals for me and my family. Would you ever consider trying a vegan diet?