Posted by: Kennedy | February 3, 2011

Coming soon, next week only: Kennedy goes vegan

Yesterday I came across Morgan’s 7-day Vegan Challenge – inspired by Oprah’s vegan-themed episode that aired earlier this week. I missed the show but caught the discussion all over the blogosphere afterwards. For those who also missed it and are interested, you can read about it on Morgan’s blog or watch clips on YouTube.

The general consensus I’ve been hearing is that the show had good intentions, but missed an opportunity to educate the public on what veganism really looks like. I have friends who are vegan, and they absolutely do not eat tofurkey and other processed meat substitutes on a daily basis. Instead, they use whole foods as their protein sources – lentils, quinoa, kale, spinach, beans, nuts, the list goes on. Unfortunately, Oprah’s guests did not focus on these foods as essential items in a healthy vegan diet.

I also realized something funny yesterday. Aside from a hard-boiled egg as a mid-morning snack, I did not eat a single animal product. A meat-free day? Sure, I often go days or even a week without eating meat. But no cheese? Butter? Dairy of any kind? Unheard of.

How did this happen? Me, a relatively uninhibited omnivore, eating like a vegan? Let’s examine the facts…

I took meat off my list of grocery store staples months ago. I buy chicken or salmon about once a month. When I realized how little meat I’ve been eating, I was genuinely shocked. It’s not like it’s been a conscious effort. I don’t avoid it when I’m dining out or eating at a friend’s house. But I’ve become so wary of the Loblaws meat section and the “health” claims on the packages that I now just walk right past.

I do enjoy meat. I also just read The End of Food. I won’t get into the details but let’s just say it paints a very upsetting picture – not just about how animals are treated, but about how they are fed on factory farms. I grew up in a rural area thinking all of the cows and pigs and hens I saw lived happy, fulfilling lives. Well, I can no longer ignore the fact that oftentimes these days, that’s just not the case.

So okay, I don’t eat a lot of meat. What about dairy?

I’m a cereal kind of girl. I don’t drink milk by the glass like I did as a kid, but I do enjoy a bowl of oats in milk every morning. However, I switched from cow’s milk to almond milk a while back. At first, it was mere curiosity. All the bloggers were raving about almond milk. I tried it, I liked it, and I kept buying it. I do take regular milk in my coffee though (Tim Horton’s does not yet have alternative milk options – I know, I was just as shocked as you are!)

My most beloved dairy product is cheese, bar none. Aged white cheddar. Brie. Gorgonzola. Fresh mozzarella. I love it all. I indulge in the fancier cheeses only on occasion, but I always, always have a block of low-fat old cheddar in my fridge.

That is, until two weeks ago.

One day, I went grocery shopping right after a class where I learned about antibiotics, hormones, even GMO feed given regularly to cows. I walked to the dairy section looking for a nice block of cheese and immediately felt my pulse start to race. I thought to myself: Self, there has to be a place in this massive city where you can buy your beloved cheese without feeling anxiety. And I kid you not, I walked out of there cheese-free.

I suppose crazier things have happened.

Finally, you all probably know I tend to plan my meals ahead of time. I make a list of recipes I want to make for the week, look in the fridge, make a list of what I’m out of and buy those things at the grocery store. A lot of those recipes come from the pages of my favourite blogs.  And who are those bloggers? More often than not, they are vegetarians and vegans.

There. Mystery solved.

So short story long (as Joanna would say), I have decided to join the 7-day Vegan Challenge. I want to see just how far off I am from eating an animal-free diet, and whether or not I’m actually eating in a balanced way. I’m also curious to see if I’ll crave meat and dairy when I consciously restrict it. You know, like a little kid who doesn’t want to ride her bike past the corner until someone tells her she can’t (yes, it was me).

I guess I’m going to find out.

Coming soon, next week only: February 7th through February 13th. Kennedy goes vegan. Guaranteed entertainment. But discretion advised: there may be scenes of profanity, aggression and excessive whining.

Check back next week to see how I’m doing. Or better yet, join me! There’s (will)power in numbers…

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Responses

  1. Great post! I’m doing the 7 day vegan challenge too!

    I have noticed that my meat intake has been very low lately, too! The meat isn’t what I’m worried about, it’s eggs (which I LOVE) yogurt and cheese!

  2. I absolutely love your reasons for doing the 7 day vegan challenge! It sounds like you are slowly transitioning to a diet of less-meat and less-dairy. The slow transitions (rather than the cold-turkey ones) are, in my opinion, the ones that stick. Especially when you have well-thought out reasons to back up your decisions. Just like you do!

    Yay for the 7 day vegan challenge (profanity, aggression and all)! 🙂

  3. Tim Hortons has no cow’s milk alternatives . . . oh my!

  4. Thanks ladies! Your encouragement is motivating 🙂
    And yes, Tim’s is a little behind the times! If they do have soy, etc. I’ve never seen it.

  5. Hey Kennedy……sounds like a great plan. i would love to try the vegan diet, just not sure how the boys in my household would like it. Maybe i can come and live with you for a week and eat vegan and let them fend for themselves!! 🙂


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