The following post was written by one of the NCVA’s 100+ 31-Day Vegan Challenge takers. Thanks so much to Killashandra for taking the time to share her experience with us!
By Killashandra Rashid
A few days into the vegan challenge, I was sitting with my friends, a bottle of red wine, pasta tossed in a homemade tomato sauce packed full of veggies with a side of garlic bread. For dessert, some vegan cheesecake. Every last thing was carefully prepared or purchased vegan. Not too shabby.
I think I can do this.
Don’t get me wrong, in the last week, I’ve read more food labels than in the past five years! There have been a number of surprises along the way as well. It’s pretty disturbing to see some of the innocent-looking food that animal products sneak into. People keep saying that going vegan means planning and, for that reason, I completely agree. It’s a good thing I love food.
Based on what I’ve seen so far, you have to love food to easily go vegan. If you’re not used to spending lots of time thinking about and preparing food, then being vegan would be a tough transition, I think. Personally, as a poor student, I’ve been planning out all my meals for the last year to maximize my food budget. This planning, that started out as purely practical, slowly shifted the way I think about what I put into my body and got me curious about food and recipes. Eventually, new recipes became exciting and challenging to me. Cooking, especially baking for friends and family, became a hobby.
So, when I ran into the NCVA at the Women’s Show in Ottawa a couple weeks before Veg Fest and they suggested the challenge, it more exciting to me than daunting. Getting to play with new ingredients, in new and creative ways, paired with the ethical and health reasons to make the change, made the challenge too good to pass up.
My experience so far has been great! By investing the extra time in planning, I don’t feel particularly deprived or limited. Eating out, with friends and family, has been the main challenge. While many restaurants have vegetarian options, vegan options are far more difficult to come by. It is also surprising how few places can confirm what may or may not be going into the food they serve.
These drawbacks, however, are well worth it. I feel great. I have more energy and don’t feel as heavy and lethargic after eating some meals. Whether that is due to the change in diet or a placebo effect related to it, I can’t be sure, but that doesn’t really matter too much to me. The most important thing is that I’m quite happy with my choice to take up the vegan challenge. Because of this challenge, I’m doing something I never would have fathomed just a few months ago. I’m considering going vegan for good.
I haven’t decided one way or the other yet, mostly because of the impact that it would have on my friends and family who find it difficult to eat with me now that I’m participating in the challenge. Regardless, I have plenty of time before the challenge is over figure it all out and I fully intend to make the most of it!