Last month I decided to try my hand at a vegan diet. The Chef goes vegan every year for thirty days and I wanted to challenge myself at the end of my weightless challenge. I also wanted to understand the idea of being a vegan a little bit more as many people who work and dine at our restaurant choose to live with this dietary restriction. I knew that going vegan would be no easy feat so I went to the library and took out every vegan cookbook I could find. I read through each book, cast aside the books that utilized fake food (sorry Alicia Silverstone) as well as the books that demonized carnivores. After a few days I was armed with a meal plan and ready to go vegan.
I didn't give myself a timeline for my vegan journey. I just wanted to see how long I could go and what it is actually like to place such a strict dietary restriction on myself. Starting the week off as a vegan was different and pretty tough. Even though I was making each of my meals from scratch I was always starving. Like starving staving. Like I am going to cut off my arm if you give me a piece of bread starving. Although I felt like I hadn't eaten in weeks my energy level was crazy. I was bouncing off the walls as my belly rumbled loudly.
A few days into being a vegan and my hunger subsided. I began to understand what my body needed and would supplement my hunger with raw vegetables and protein shakes. I also figured out that I am a pretty shitty vegan cook so I decided to get out of the kitchen and into our city's restaurants. My first stop on the vegan restaurant tour was Noodlecat because I knew that the vegan offerings there are not only delicious but quite filling. I was not mistaken and my belly left happy and full of vegan love. My tour of the city continued over the next couple days and I quickly realized that there are not a lot of options for the vegans. Most restaurants downtown have a few veggie options but hardly any had vegan. I found that my only three good options of true vegan food was Noodlecat, The Flaming Ice Cube, and The Greenhouse Tavern. Back towards my house the options were even slimmer. I think I ate at Whole Foods and Tommy's almost every other day.
I was vegan for almost three weeks. I lost 11 lbs. and felt really good. I learned alot about the dietary restriction that so many people put upon themselves. I learned that the majority of servers (none of ours) hate vegans. Like with a passion. I also learned that most vegans have no idea where their protein comes from. Seriously not one vegan I asked could give me a straight answer about protein. Vegans are also big into converting. When I tweeted about going vegan I was immediately followed by like 100 vegan twitter handles all encouraging me on my 'healthy life' journey. Vegans are also passionate people who take their life choice seriously. An admirable quality in my eyes...
But the thing I learned most is that while I do love my veggies, I also love to eat meat in moderation. Not eating beef tartare for three weeks was extremely difficult and you can bet your ass it was the first thing I ate when I weaned myself off of vegan-ism. For me, going vegan was interesting journey. It gave me insight into the struggle so many people find themselves having when trying to go out to eat and it also taught to always respect people's food choices no matter what they may be.
Now can anyone tell me WHERE IN THE HELL VEGANS GET THEIR PROTEIN FROM????