Last year, the day after my 40th Birthday, I started a one year eating-vegan journey. One day I woke up and said, “When I turn 40 I’ll try eating vegan for a year.” People thought it was weird but I didn’t care. So, the day after I had my ovo-lacto vegetarian food and cake, I started! I have to say it was an awesome year! To my advantage, I had been an ovo-lacto vegetarian for some time and had completed this 21-day vegan challenge a couple of times.
The foods I had to stop eating were:
Eggs, dairy (specifically ice-cream and cheese), and honey.
It was not hard to get rid of the eggs and honey but I can’t say the same thing about dairy. Even though I had stopped drinking cow’s milk a long time ago, I still ate ice-cream and cheese. Oh, and of course I ate things that contained milk in the ingredient list. Now, this was the worst! I couldn’t (can’t) believe how many things contain milk. Why? Why would they put milk in so many things? Oreos don’t contain milk and they have cream in the middle!
I did have some mishaps during the year, like eating some pretzels that had honey and veggie meat that contained eggs. Other than that I did pretty good. Did I beat myself up over it? No! Was I going to quit because I ate something that I decided not to eat? No! I kept going. And that taught me to read the ingredients before stuffing my mouth.
I have to say that I ate many healthy things during this year but I also ate a lot of junk. I can’t believe all the vegan junk food I found. Wow! And all of it was yummy… The healthy, the junk… All of it! But the best part was that I could still enjoy the foods that I grew up eating in a vegan way. I ate rice and beans, sopas y asopaos (soups), empanadillas, potato salad, and more. Yes, I make vegan-puertorican food and I love it!
Where did I find my inspiration to complete the challenge? Well, I found it everywhere from books to documentaries like Cowspiracy. The things that impacted me the most were how animal agriculture badly affects the environment and how we can feed entire villages with the food that is cultivated for animals. This is something that can’t be unlearned. We are responsible for this tragedies and we can help by choosing wisely what we put on our plate. I will not contribute to it and that’s why I choose not consume any meat, eggs, or dairy.
It can be done.
And this was my vegan birthday cake:
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