Monday, January 21, 2013

"Vegucation with Lasse"

Yes, it's true.

Today, I am embarking on a new journey and I'm sure it's going to be quite the experience. I've contemplated vegetarianism for sometime, but never committed to the idea. I'm from the South. Fried chicken, bacon, chitterlings, and catfish were all apart of my upbringing. The thought of not eating those food items really struck an emotional chord with me. Seriously, it did. 

Last year, my goal was to be a more active, healthier person. I exercised, ran, took swim lessons, flexed at Bikram Yoga and burpeed my arse off at Crossfit. It was alot of fun, and I pushed my body beyond the limit.  Too bad my eating habits were a hot ass mess. If I took more control of my eating, my progress would be much better.

"I worked out today, so I can eat this. I ran {insert number here} miles today, so this brunch is well deserved." Yeah, this was my thought process. SMH. Bad Lizzie. I needed (and strongly desired) a change, and Facebook provided the open door to a new opportunity.

While doing my usual scroll through, I saw the following post by Lasse Larsen:
"Beginning next year I'm looking for a few volunteers who are willing to go on a vegan journey guided by myself. The minimum commitment is 3 mths and during that time we'll have regular skype sessions to record the progress and make adjustments. Youd also commit to writing a daily journal about your experience and the changes you encounter within yourself and in your surroundings."
This was my chance. It was literally now or never. I composed my email to Lasse and said a brief prayer before clicking send. I felt it necessary -- vegetarianism was one thing, but veganism?!? Whew Lawd.

Friday nights at Cilantro
A few weeks went by and this happened. I was thrilled. I researched articles, watched movies (check out Vegucated), and gathered recipes. Then out of nowhere, sh*t got real...real fast.

How so? Well, let me explain.

1.) Dining out is a social activity for me. I ❤ it dearly. Meeting up with my girlfriends for brunch or having dinner with family is a highlight. Now that I'm shifting to a plant-based diet, I worry how this will affect my interactions. A feasible solution would be to create a list of other types of activities that we could do together instead of our usual 'to-do'. 

2.) As a runner, how will I get the needed fuel to aid me in my runs and active lifestyle. I know that some prefer carb loading, but for me chocolate milk and chicken worked like a charm. Now what am I to do?

3.) I am an emotional eater. When a moment surfaces, I have my 'go-to' foods and none of them are vegan friendly. *womp, womp* 

As you can see I've started to identify a few things that will be a challenge for me.
Tres Leches anyone?

To prepare for this experience:
1.) I participated in a 'sugar free' challenge last week. It's amazing how a substance (or lack thereof) can have such an effect on the body. I knew having no sugar would be a challenge so I kept snacks on hand to keep the cravings at bay. Too bad my headaches missed the memo. 

2.) I wanted to have a "Last Supper" of sorts. In my mind, Cilantro and Levain's sounded like the perfect meal. Luckily my friend, Yaniv, invited me to dinner at the Hummus Place. Our entire meal was vegan except for the Shakshuka Halumi. It was divine! Definitely a great kick-off to vegan living.

Hummus Place

When asked what advice does he have for those thinking of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, Lasse replied: 
"Enjoy the ride, this is not a fad or hype. At times it can be challenging and its important to be kind to yourself and allow for changes to happen, both those that feel good and those that feel less pleasant. Trust your instincts and don’t fall prey to old habits when times may kick your ass a little, I’ve seen so many people fall back on old dietary habits because they experienced discomfort during the transition. Know that this too shall pass and that you are on a good… no great journey. You will NEVER NEED to eat any animal foods for any reason again. You may WANT to, and that’s a whole other topic."

...and that's what I plan to do! Stay tuned. :)

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