So my brother and I have just finished weeks 4 and 5 of our vegan exploration. Originally we planned on just going for 4 weeks, but decided to tack on an additional week. All in all, going vegan wasn’t as difficult as we both thought. The first week was the toughest because we didn’t really know about the volume of food you would need to eat in order to feel full. Constantly eating veggies kind of make you feel like you’re always eating while sitting at your desk at work. On various occasions I know I have told friends that I feel like a cow just chewing food constantly. From this whole experience I feel so much better on multiple levels. First off, once I shifted away from eating the processed soy stuff to more fruits and veggies, I could notice myself looking and feeling leaner. It seems like in a way it was a detox for my body. As for weight loss, I did not lose much (maybe 7 pounds) but that would be because I wasn’t as active as I normally am. Also, I have developed a better appreciation for vegan foods and eating more fruits and veggies. Yes, vegan foods don’t look as appealing as other foods, but if you get over the looks and try them, they can be quite good. I was lucky because being in a large metropolitan area made it easy to find vegan options when I went out to eat with friends. I only recall one time where I had to settle for a salad because there wasn’t a vegan option on the menu, but I should have known better since we were going to country French café. From this experience I know that I will incorporate more fruits and veggies into my diet along with more whole organic foods. I also know that after staying away from processed foods and the revitalized feeling it gave me, I’ll try to scale back on the processed foods I eat in the future.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody who took the time to read my blog during this adventure and to all of those who supported my brother and me during this time. It was an adventurous journey and I’m looking forward to see how this experience will change the rest of my life.
Alright, week 3 is done and all is well. Many of my friends have been asking me if I have been losing weight during this experiment and I have decided to share with you why I haven’t been really losing any weight. So far I’ve lost about 2-4 pounds, which isn’t really that much. Why haven’t I lost more weight? Wouldn’t going vegan cause you to lose weight? The answer to those questions is, yes and no. Yes, I feel that if you go vegan and stick to just fruits, veggies, nuts, and clean organic foods you’ll lose weight, but there is unhealthy vegan food out there too. One thing that has changed in my diet during this vegan process is the amount of processed foods I eat. I have allowed myself to eat and drink items that I had normally cut out of my diet because, heck I’m going vegan why not allow myself the other things. Before going vegan, I had cut out soda for the most part in addition to chips, most carbs, and sweets. After going vegan I have noticed that I have allowed myself to eat arguably the worst kind of chips, thick cut salt and vinegar kettle chips, and my soda intake has gone from maybe once or twice a month to a couple of times a week. Also, I have been trying a variety of vegan desserts just to see if they taste like their “real” counter parts. FYI, the vegan desserts I have tried are quite good. I’ll share more about this in a later post. I feel that because of the addition of these high sodium and high sugar foods I have not been losing much weight. Additionally, my activity level has gone down this past month. This is due to me being busy/lazy not fatigue. Because of this I am thinking about continuing this vegan experiment for an additional week, going until the end of April, so I can try to revamp my vegan diet and get my activity level back to normal. We’ll see how this goes.
So I just completed Week #2 of going vegan and it has been a success. With the support of all my friends and family I have been able to get by without too much trouble; surprisingly I haven’t had any meat cravings. Additionally, I haven’t had a hard time eating out. It seems like there are plenty of vegan options at the places I went to this past week, I never really paid attention to the vegan options on the menu until I started this adventure. The sudden hunger pangs are not so sudden anymore and I think this is mainly due to the addition of quinoa and nuts to my lunchtime meals. Yes there have been times where I had to miss out on events, like a going away dinner to a steak house, sorry Fahad, but all in all I don’t really feel restricted. This maybe because I’m used to fasting during the month of Ramadan and this kind of feels like that except for I get to eat.
For snacking purposes, my sister picked me up a box of Brad’s Raw Chips. We got the “Nasty Hot” raw kale leaves which are seasoned with jalapenos and vegan cheese. They little guys tasted like a cross between an Indian Pakora and a Cheez-It. They are highly addictive, so I recommend eating them with self-control.
The other day I made a trip out to a DC staple, Busboys & Poets. Busboys is a great cozy restaurant that has a bookstore/coffee shop feel to it. They have tons of vegan options and also carry halal chicken and kosher beef. I got the Vegan Pepperoni Calzone – vegan mozzarella, veggies, vegan pepperoni in a whole-wheat crust- and it was great. It did not have the sparkling luster of normal calzones, because it isn’t brushed with butter, and looked like hippie food. It actually tasted really good and the vegan cheese in it did not have the slimy texture of other vegan cheeses I have tried. Unfortunately, I forgot to snap a picture of it, but I recommend you try it if you get a chance. I have also had their Vegan Nachos and they are very good.
My sister and I decided to hit up Burger 7 in Arlington recently. If you know me, then you know how I feel about Burger 7. I feel like it is the best burger out there, better than Bobby Burger Palace, Shake Shack, and any fast-food joint out there. Plus, they have a Halal Burger option! I figured by going there I would just have an order of fries, but to my surprise I saw they have a Vegan Burger. It had a very basic veggie pattie and was nothing really to write home about, but I think if they used Trader Joe’s Vegetable Masala Burgers. The Trader Joe’s Vegetable Masala Burgers are awesome and taste like the glorious filing my mom makes for her Aloo Paratay. They’re like a memory of home in a little microwaveable disk.
I just wanted to thank everybody for their ongoing support. I’m excited for the next 2 weeks of this adventure.