My upcoming 40-day challenge : veganism.

As the kind of person who likes planning my weekly meals with giddy pleasure — this is the first week that I’ve ever stared at my lists with worry.

Starting Wednesday I am challenging myself to see if I can do something unthinkable: go (temporarily) vegan for 40 days….as much as I can, anyway.

This is unfathomable, because this is how I act at a Brazilian rodizio grill (an all you can eat insanity meat buffet where low-carb dieters consider breadbaskets a table centerpiece):

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The trick is to limit any sort of direct eye contact with others.

You might wonder, why? How? And… how?

Well first off, let’s go with the why.

The past few years, I’ve tried to limit the amount of meat in my diet. Not because of any altruistic reason, not because of my passion for animal rights: mostly because I was a poor grad student and I lived in an area where purchasing meat was prohibitively expensive.

For most of my life, I usually went pescatarian in the spring. Since I’ve been living on my own and purchasing comparatively less meat, pescatarianism was actually too easy to be a challenge.

The past years, I was able to challenge myself more by cutting out specific unhealthy things. Most people tend to go for sweets, chocolate, that kind of thing. My previous weakness? Fried products:

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Artistic depiction of what happened  two weeks into my first attempt.

After quite a few attempts, I actually was able to go a whole 40 days without it — though it was tough. I mostly blame falafel and vegetable tempura. Now… why veganism? Well, I figure, that’s the biggest jump to make in terms of radically changing my diet.

A few friends of mine have gone vegan and rave about it – their skin is better, they have more energy, they sleep better, the list goes on.

Also, I’ve accidentally ate vegan “buttercream” chocolate cake and really liked it because I thought it was just cake, and didn’t even realize it was vegan. If I can still have chocolate cake, this might not be so bad after all, right? Oh, and wine is vegan too! Whoohoo!

I’m not quite sure if it is the healthiest diet to take on (see vegan chocolate “buttercream” cake above), and I’ve been doing my research to make sure that I’m still okay with vitamins, etc… but hey, I like challenging myself. Because I like trying to challenge my boundaries, my limits — and my palate.

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So, HOW am I doing this?

Hahahaha. HAHAHAHA. If I keep laughing, maybe I don’t have to think about it.

To be fair, I am mostly winging it because I have noticed SO MANY VEGAN PLACES in my neighborhood. I am fortunate to be in an overly vegan-friendly city, so I’m hoping that will give me a boost.

I’ll be honest, I won’t be the strictest vegan. For this time, I’m only going to be vegan in terms of diet and not really much else — I’m not throwing away my leather shoes or bags, nor am I only using vegan cosmetics and toiletries. Though specifically vegan wine and beer exist, I am not going to limit myself to this. I won’t be too strict about my white cane sugar consumption, and I’m going to try to avoid honey.

I also have a growing Pinterest board dedicated to vegan recipes, and I have stocked my pantry with many staples as suggested by Serious Eats. The past month has been dedicated to finishing off the animal products in my freezer and fridge.

It hasn’t even started yet, and I already am mourning the loss of real cheese in my life.

Oh boy. This is going to be interesting.

In the meantime…

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