For reasons that are plentiful, I have decided to make some changes to what I put in my body and try out a vegan diet with extras for thirty days.

I like to think that I ate fairly healthy to begin with... I always loved fruits & veggies (I could sit and eat a quart of blueberries without blinking), aways opted for whole grain anything and shied away from the bad whites (flour, sugar, rice). All that said, I had some vices: I drank a minimum of 5 Diet Pepsi's a day (it was my coffee), I enjoyed real good micro brew beer and there was no such thing as too much cheese.

So, my vegan diet with extras... extras, you say? Yes, well in addition to removing all the animal products from my diet, I am also eliminating Diet Pepsi and all the bad whites. I am going to do my best to eat organic where I can, but in the interest of not doubling my grocery bill and therefore putting my husband completely over the edge, I will not be as strict on that point.

Today is Day 8. Hindsight being what it is, I wish I would have started this last Monday, June 9th when this endeavor began, but better late than never, right?

My goal here is to document my journey: what works, what doesn't and how I feel along the way. In addition, I am sure how my husband feels will sneak in as he has already shared much of his feelings about this and shed light on things I had not considered. So, here we go...

Day 8:

I have not had a Diet Pepsi since Sunday June 8th and the cravings are all but gone. I suffered from some pretty good headaches the first couple of days, but they have subsided. I do not miss meat at all. I miss cheese and I miss brunch at my favorite restaurant, The Frog & Turtle in Westbrook. (James, the owner, has already given me his thoughts on my experiment, reminding me his scrumptious donuts contain eggs - thanks James).

My initial feelings about this experiment were those of intimidation. I do not have any vegan friends to call upon for advice. Luckily, a very good friend of mine Amy pointed me in the direction of a phenomenal blog entitled Commune Tested, City Approved. The dialog is great and so far, the recipes are fantastic. Bo, my husband is working tonight, so after the gym I came home and experimented with Pad Thai, a recipe I found on the fore mentioned blog. Check it out:

It was really good and the recipe can be found here. (Admittedly, hers has a much prettier presentation.) The taste is a bit more peanuttier than I am used to but the all the flavors are very full, fresh with a little heat. Next time, I think I will experiment with additional vegetables and more heat. Also, I am not happy with the noodles I got this time, rice noodles from Hannaford. Next time, I will make the effort to go to Vientiane Market and hopefully find something a bit more authentic.

As far as how I feel, I feel really good. As a whole when I eat, I feel full and satisfied and not at all deprived. Yes, there are places I will miss going to eat, but the way I see it, this forces me to get out and check out restaurants I may not have checked out before.

Another recipe I have tried that has worked out well are these yummy Rockin Roasted Vegetable Burritos. I made them with some chili tortillas I found at Whole Foods. There are things I have tried that do not work for me... like fake cheese. I tried some, hoping, but it just wasn't good. So, I have decided that I just don't eat cheese - real or fake.

How has my body reacted to all of this? Well, I do not feel tired, my energy is starting to get pretty darn good and I have lost weight. I am not a weigher, I have to go by how my clothes fit. And jeans that I used to have to suck in to zip up now zip up easily... and this is only after one week!!! My back pain is about the same, which is what I am hoping to alleviate with this experiment, but I am not at all deterred... these things take time, right?

And the last thing I will talk about in this post is how my dear ol' hubby is dealing with all of this. It really never occurred to me that this would cause more than a hiccup in our relationship, but apparently, I was wrong. Bo and I love to eat and we have some places that we love to frequent - a few of them where the staff know us by first name. Because of my modifications, this is going to have to change. This didn't sit well with my husband. If I could do it all over again, I would sit down with him and have a more in depth conversation about this before doing it. regardless of how the conversation went, I cannot imagine it would have changed my mind, but it would have given him the opportunity to be part of my decision and to voice his concerns.

All in all, I am very happy I have decided to do this and am anxious to see where the journey will take me.