Why we aren’t vegan all of the time.
Eating plant based is hard sometimes. I don’t believe that you have to be all in, or all out. Do what works for your family mama. If you think that vegan is a good choice but it seems hard or Maybe your significant other isn’t on board, Then start somewhere in between 100% vegan and the traditional diet. Your not failing if your choosing a step in the right direction. Veganism sounds like a scary and radical change from life as you know it. Give yourself some grace.
By the way, did you miss out on part 1? Find out why we chose a plant based diet in the first place.
When superman and I attempted our first month of veganism we said that we would not do it for special occasions. We were in the vegan word from a health point of view and it’s a common thought in the health and fitness realm that a ‘splurge meal’ is not only ok, but is actually good for you body in some ways. And, we just weren’t sure if we could do it. Having this one little cheat meal just kind of stuck, and we still do it now.
In the previous post i talked about all the reasons which we considered most important to our family that supported a plant based lifestyle. But now i want to talk about why we choose to have that cheat meal every week, and splurge on special occasions. We have several reasons, but a lot of it boils down to doing what works best for our family.
We Shouldn’t Cut Out Entire Food Groups
Weather your talking about carbs, fats, sugar or meat. I have never believed that it’s wise to cut out an food group entirely, maybe dramatically reduce the amount you consume, but not a complete omission for a long time. It’s just always been my gut feeling.
I’ll be honest here, i haven’t done a ton of research on this point. But it just make sense to me. It’s a known fact that our bodies need certain building blocks to stay healthy and that those nutrients come from our food. Multiple studies have shown that whole food sources are the best way for our bodies to absorb those nutrients, versus taking a supplement. Some nutrients can’t be absorbed unless they are taken in with a different nutrient. Food sources come with those pairings built in. It seems to me that to cut out a food group entirely means that you are losing a vital source of nutrients that you body needs.
Your body is a fine tuned and very efficient machine. If you give it the right foods it will run well for a long time. It’s not just about getting rid of sugar or carbs. It’s about finding your nutrition from a whole food source that your body recognizes and eating it in a healthy proportion. In the same way, i think we can and should eat animal products. However, it must be a high quality, unprocessed source and in a healthy proportion. I go into more detail on that issue in the Part 3 of this series. You can read that here.
Long Term Goals
Being vegan is not all that hard. Once you get used to subbing in more veggies and better at cooking with seasonings for flavor then it’s pretty easy. However, i’m not the only one in my home and i’d be lying if i didn’t think about a burger or mac and cheese from time to time.
I do believe that having a cheat day helps us to stay on track during the week. If you know your going to have pizza on Friday then it’s easy to stick with your veggies during the week. For our whole marriage we have been healthy eaters and have always had a cheat meal so it was a natural choice to make when we became vegan.
I also think that because we have that splurge meal it helps us sustain a plant based diet as a lifestyle. I believe that it will help to make us a healthier family for a long time. If we didn’t have that meal every week then i think Superman and I would grow tired of it, and it would be especially hard for our kiddos, when they have no understanding of their health and its importance.
Family Lifestyle Choices
Every family is going to have a different version of what works for them and that’s how it should be. You do you, you know. Superman and I have always made ‘date night’ a priority in our marriage. It’s important that our dates are enjoyable and fun. Fun food has always been a big part of our relationship and it’s something we both really like. We didn’t want that to change so date night became our splurge day. Food is important and lots of small choices that lead to an, overall, healthy life. But one meal a week as a compromise for a healthy marriage, is worth it to me.
We initially did the plant based diet all week and then all day on friday was “normal food”. It’s become mainly dinner on friday because i don’t buy animal products when i’m grocery shopping. I don’t have a hard rule about it, but, unless we eat out for breakfast and lunch then we only have vegan options at home. That is the day that we have that latte we’ve been wanting to try or any other little treat that’s usually off the vegan menu.
Another thing to consider is babysitters. Our littles stay the night with their Nana on the fridays that we go out. I don’t ask her to stick with only plant based food so they get to have their own little splurge night with her. She’s completely NOT into being vegan and it would just put strain on our relationship to push the issue so we let her be the typical ‘grandma gives you treats that you don’t get at home” kind of grandma. They love it. We also compromise on birthdays, holidays and special occasions. Those are special events that we want to keep a special treat.
The little exceptions we’ve made to our eating may seem contradicting and some people may think that were making the wrong choice. I truly believe that our family has become healthier than we were previously and that has been my primary goal of choosing a plant based diet. It has kept us on track and made it easy to maintain as a long lasting decision, not just until we get bored.