The holidays have moved on with the exception of New Years and I have been less than strict with my vegan diet. I have caved into my tiny grocery budget and settled for vegetarian sausages that contain milk and other products that existed in my fridge previous to my vegan adventure. I have also enjoyed more than a few completely non-vegan Christmas cookies.
And thus I have gained a few pounds and I have not felt as ripe and energetic as when I committed more fully to a vegan diet. I listed some of the challenges I faced that led me to caving into non-vegan foods. These fall-backs have become lessons and I have developed some easy solutions to help me commit more fully to a vegan diet.
1. My boyfriend is a full blown carnivore and so is his kitchen.
Solution: I brought my own soy milk to his house once. I will commit to bringing my own vegan snacks. I accept that this is completely nerdy and I know he loves me anyways. The positive side of bringing my own food is that I know it will be healthy, it is fun to bake together and I really enjoy cooking for him. As I have said in previous posts, there is something deeply satisfying about cooking for people you love.
2. Sometimes I absentmindedly leave my vegan packed lunch on the counter before work.
Solution: Leave myself a note. Do not settle for non-vegan food at Starbucks–buy the expensive bistro and cut out the non-vegan products. Use the ridiculous high price as motivation to remember my lunch next time! I could also utilize my fridge at work—put in some staple foods and condiments that are vegan. The next time I buy a bagel I will not be tempted to get cream cheese if I have peanut butter or vegan cream cheese in my work fridge!
3. Holiday deserts are not vegan. Ever.
Solution: I remind myself of how much better I feel when I eat vegan and I think about all of the issues that have motivated me to take on this diet. Also, I have terrible digestion problems including acid reflex that return when I start eating more cookies and animal products. Getting creative and baking my own desserts is fun, but not always realistic when the season brings chaos and a busy schedule. Preparing meals ahead of time is key. Finding some recipes before the holiday seasons hits could be helpful and save time too.
4. It’s ridiculously hard to eat-out vegan where I live.
Solution: Make more dinners. Who does not like to curl up in front of the TV with a warm blanket and a homemade meal that you can feel good about? Also, do my research ahead of time. I like to look up menus online so that I know what my options are. Worst case scenario I can eat a snack before dinner and settle for a salad at dinner. This solution probably would not work for everyone—do you have any ideas to face this problem?
5. Life gets busy.
Solution: Prepare meals ahead of time. I like to make smoothies ahead of time as well as vegan protein bars. They are quick snacks for any one on the go!