Day 3 as a Temporary Vegan

Chris and I are on Day 3 of the 28 Day Health Challenge Whole Foods Market invited me to try.  Much to my surprise, Chris is having no trouble with the plan, while I am struggling.

Here’s why a restrictive vegan diet just is not my friend (so far):

1. I like to cook.  A Lot.  As any loyal reader of Homemade Mothering knows, I happily prepare homemade meals for my family every day.  I make so many basics like yogurt, peanut butter and bread from scratch, too. Because I love trying new recipes and experimenting with fun ingredients I thought this vegan health challenge would be no big deal.  However, so many foods (all dairy, eggs, meat, and oils) and cooking techniques (sauteing and anything that might involve even a teensy bit of olive oil) are not allowed, so in many ways I feel very restricted.

2. I feel hungry.  Like, all the time.  I know the popular belief is that fiber and crunchy veggies will keep a person full, but for me that seems to be quite the opposite!  No matter how much I eat, I AM STILL HUNGRY!  A little olive oil or cheese keeps my tummy full.

3. Everything about this diet goes against my personal philosophies on food.  It is my very firm belief that just about any food in its natural, unrefined state is healthy.  I do not take offense to the cholesterol in farm-fresh eggs and I go out of my way to buy raw or lightly pasteurized, non-homogenized whole milk with the fat floating on top.  I find room in my regular diet for homemade cookies and sweets, too.  Instead of restricting entire food groups I seek out the freshest options possible to create what I consider to be a well-rounded meal plan every week.

4. Quite frankly, I am worried about losing too much weight during this challenge.  I respect food and I make healthy choices when it comes to what goes in my body, so at this point I don’t have an extra ten pounds to lose.  If I want to maintain my weight, I think I might have to eat non-stop throughout the day…?!?!

I have a stubborn streak that has served me well throughout my life.  Once I set my mind to something, I rarely quit.  This stubbornness enabled me to train for and complete several marathons, and it gave me the strength to endure 24+ hours of labor without any pain medication…twice.  So, in an effort to try something new and keep an open mind, I am going to give this challenge a fair shake.  For now.

Tonight I made a vegan dessert found in “The Engine 2 Diet” book.  We enjoyed this a few nights ago at the Whole Foods Market kick-off dinner, and it is surprisingly delicious and not-too sweet.  Even Evie and Mack liked it!

Chocolate Icebox Pie (from “The Engine 2 Diet” book)


1 cup dates

1/3 cup walnuts

1/3 cup cashews

1/3 cup almonds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract(I prefer homemade vanilla extract)


1-2 bananas, sliced lengthwise

1 package tofu (book calls for silken tofu, but I couldn’t find that so I used regular tofu with fine results)

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup maple syrup (we buy ours from our fabulous co-op)

Make the “crust”: blend the dates, nuts and vanilla extract in a food processor until coarsly ground and a sticky consistency is achieved.  Press the blended crust ingredients into the bottom of a pie pan.  Lay the sliced bananas on top of the crust.

Make the filling: blend the tofu, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and maple syrup in a food processor until smooth.  Pour on top of the bananas.

Chill for about an hour. Top with fresh berries, if desired.

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7 Comments for this entry

  1. Chris says:

    We eat pretty darn well most of the time so this challenge shouldn’t be hard. Aside from a craving for a cup of Irish black tea with honey and milk I have been fine. If anything, this challenge has made me reflect on how much food I eat, not so much what we eat.

    The whole food plant based foods diet does have its shortcomings: a reliance on processed and weird proteins, lack of variety, and a heavy reliance on carbohydrates. That said, this diet does point out how much the “American diet” relies on heavily processed foods, meats, and dairy. Eating fewer foods from those aforementioned categories has been a piece of kale. Imagine how much fitter and happier everyone would be if they put down the sugar, oil, and fat and munched on some fruits, vegetables, and legumes instead.

    Rest assured, day 29 will most likely involve dining on a breakfast of bacon & eggs and a dinner of roast chicken. I’m looking forward to it and know full well that our meals will be even more balanced in the future!

  2. Amber says:

    My triathlete husband is actually thinking about giving this health challenge a try. We eat pretty darn healthy, but he wants to lose about 10 pounds. We have some triathlete friends who have done it, and my hubby figured this might be a good way to shed those stubborn pounds. I am still nursing, so I think I won’t do it in its entirety, but definitely support his efforts.

    I just did a blog entry about the effects of obesity on children’s brains, and it is so sad. I honestly get a bit depressed (and frustrated) when I go to the grocery store (which isn’t much since I shop at our local farmer’s market) and all you see are carts full of overprocessed crap…and (surprise) the people are really overweight. So I second Chris’ comment.

  3. Sayward says:

    Hi, I just found this post through twitter somehow. I’m a committed vegan and I just wanted to offer my 0.02. It always makes me sort of bummed when people adopt veganism simultaneously with a bunch of other restrictions, because it is such a huge change and it makes things really hard and mostly, it makes veganism seem really limiting. Which it’s totally not! Every single vegan I know eats a much wider variety of food now than they ever did as an omni. But it totally takes time to get used to. It’s a lot of kitchen experimenting and a lot of tasting and testing and also, reframing the idea of what your plate is supposed to look like (from “main and 2 veg” to “an assortment of things”)

    Anyway, just wanted to throw that out there. Don’t throw the baby (vegan) out with the bath water (“cleanse”, ie no oil, yeesh!)

    About the not feeling full, my guess is that’s totally a fat thing. I’m the same way, and I eat a very (relatively) high fat diet (and stay slender of course, because not all fat makes you fat!). A lot of people have this problem when they go vegan because plant food is naturally nutrient-dense but calorie-light, and especially low in fat. If you’e on a special “cleanse” diet with no added oils, can you up your whole-foods fat intake? Lots of nuts/nut butters, avocados, olive, coconut milk, etc.

    For what it’s worth, I think no-added-fat diets are crazy town, and I am an uber health conscious vegan. Just wanted to offer my perspective. =)


  4. Susan says:

    I realize this is long since over, but in case any one else stumbles upon it and is turned off from a plant based lifestyle because of it, I feel I should comment with a few things from the perspective of a registered dietitian.
    You won’t lose too much weight without oil. You will lose too much weight with no fat at all. No avocado, no nuts, no olives (whole food, not oil), no seeds, etc.
    The no oil method isn’t extreme. Heart surgery is extreme. You don’t have to be fat to have clogged arteries from butter and eggs and animal foods eaten to excess.
    Minimal intake of oil is fine if your arteries are in good health. But it isn’t so outrageous to encourage people to enjoy foods in their real state without slathering fat on them to make them palatable.

    Thanks again for the wonderful cleaning product recipes!

  5. Aurora says:

    problems wit the pie. The chocolate filling in is not setting. Did I do something wrong?

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