Many people avoid going vegan because they fear they won’t find enough food to eat to feel satiated. Instead of acting in fear of this idea, embrace it. Eating fish, eggs, and dairy products serve as a crutch in a person’s diet, preventing individuals from exploring other foods and flavors found in fruits, vegetables, and legumes. What first started out as an experiment for me has now become a lifestyle I couldn’t imagine myself without.
I took the challenge of searching for new foods, struggling with eating foods I potentially didn’t like and exploring new tastes I never even thought existed in the first place head on. I seized the opportunity to explore new foods every chance I got. Now, whenever I go out to a restaurant or see a new animal-free dish, I love trying it for the first time. And if the food sucks, at least I can tell all my friends about the experience, because most people are curious but not brave enough to take the leap.
When I don’t go out to eat, I generally have the same foods every day. I found that having a set of go-to favorite foods makes it exponentially easier to transition from a diet made up of predominately “proteins” to a diet filled with foods packed with vital nutrients essential for fighting diseases, building muscles, and maintain a healthy life. Here is my experience with veganism and the foods that have given me incredibly great results.
For breakfast, I drink a 500ml glass of warm lemon water and eat about four tablespoons worth of oatmeal. I swear by the lemon water. Since starting this habit in the morning, I have been able to loose a significant amount of size around my waist, as well as clear up acne on my face. The oatmeal is an essential part of my day that ensures I get enough fiber in my diet right in the morning, aiding in removing toxins from the night before.
Since I work in an office for eight hours a day five days a week, I stock my office with snacks to last me from breakfast to lunch and from lunch to when I go home. On Mondays, I go to Organic Roots and buy bananas, sprouted grain bread, and several different fruits. Sometimes I bring in some all natural peanut butter for spread—in Southern California, you can buy natural peanut butter on sale at grocery stores for as low as $1. I also like to bring avocados to work and use it to spread over toasted bread.
I’m not great at meal prepping (yet), so I go out a lot for lunch. It can expensive if you don’t know where to find the deals, so I always look for ways to save money.
On days where I feel like keeping it light, I buy soup, like minestrone, golden kale, and three bean chili, from Organic Roots for less than $5. I toast up a couple slices bread from my weekly stock and call it lunch. Since on Thursdays they take $1 off wraps and sandwiches at Roots, I buy a vegetable wrap complete with tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, jalapeño hummus, banana peppers, carrots, spinach, pickled jalapeños, and wrapped in a spinach wrap for $4.99. About once every two weeks I’ll treat myself to vegan pad Thai or pho with vegetable broth and tofu, which can cost about $12 including tip.
At first, getting food for dinner was very difficult. I would always find myself hungry at night with little to no options for me at home. I would eat vegetarian ramen (I read oriental flavor is vegan-friendly) or plain rice because I had nothing else. Since then I have gotten better.
On days I workout, I drink a protein shake consisting of Orgain or Vega protein powder, two bananas, three tablespoons of chia seeds, a dollop of peanut butter, and about a cup and a half of almond milk. Lately, I’ve been making my own protein shake using PB2 cocoa powder, almond milk, dates, frozen kale, chia seeds, flax seeds, three bananas, and a dollop of peanut butter. It tastes fine (my step dad even said it’s good), and it’s cheaper than buying protein powder. I’ll admit that I don’t find chunks of unblended dates in my drink, but that is my blender to blame.
Other nights, my mom will cook. There’s a vegetarian Filipino dish—practically the only vegetarian Filipino dish—called “mong-go” that I like to eat, which is lentil soup with garlic, tofu, and spinach. It’s very simple, but it tastes awesome over brown rice. And on nights where I want a little more to fill up my stomach, I open up a can of bean, wash them, heat them in a pot over low heat, season them, and eat them just like that.
Of course, throughout the day I eat whatever fruits I can get my hands on: mangos, pineapples, apples, pears, peaches, watermelons, melons, oranges, strawberries, bananas, and so much more. I just love fruits and can practically live off a fridge full of ripe fruits. Whenever I feel like I need a little more food to fill myself up, fruits are my answer. I also go to fruits whenever I’m looking to fulfill my sweet tooth.
I’m not a perfect vegan. I still eat vegan junk food, like the ramen I mentioned earlier and Oreos on occasion (because I heard they are vegan, and now my worst enemy). I’m not the most perfectly healthy person, but going vegan has helped me dramatically reduce my intake of baked goods and processed foods. I no longer eat cookies and cake on demand because they’re made from milk and eggs—veganism is an excellent excuse to eliminate foods that tend to get trapped in adipose tissues.
Veganism has helped me monitor the foods I eat and adopt a greater consciousness for foods that has improved my health as a by product. I feel stronger, have more energy, and feel like I have a better perspective on the world.