I am really excited to share this with you today! I was inspired by the movie Vegucated to do my own kind of vegan experiment here on the blog. In the film Vegucated, three ordinary meat eaters decide to try out a vegan lifestyle and diet for 6 weeks. I love the idea and thought it would be fun to ask someone in my own life to do something similar. I have asked one of my best friends to try out a vegan / plant strong diet for a period of time. Meet Dan...
Dan and I have been very close friends for over 12 years now. Dan has always been there for me whenever I needed him. Dan knows me very well and actually is one of my only friends who reads my blog. He has watched me transform into an entirely different person over the past few years. Of course I want everyone I know and love to be vegan for health reasons. I want them to be living the longest life that they possibly can. I believe with a plant based diet that is what you get! Dan has volunteered to kinda be my guinea pig here on the blog. Great friend right?
Needless to say that we are approaching this just as an experiment. Dan is mainly interested in eating healthier, picking up some new meal plans and some new eating habits. What will Dan being doing during this vegan project? I will be asking him to give up processed foods, added sugars, soda, dairy, meat and many other items. I will teach him how to read the ingredient labels on food products, help him with vegan meal planning that fits into his busy work schedule, have him watch the film Forks Over Knives and others like it so that he can learn the facts about a vegan diet.
I've decided to do this on my blog because I felt it would be inspiring for others. Dan and I don't know if he will actually stay vegan or not. We are approaching this as something fun for him to try. We are both approaching the project with an open mind. Needless to say he will have my full support along the way! At end of the time period we agree upon, we'll just see what changes stick. Below I had Dan answer some questions. First he also introduces himself to you guys! Lets read what he had to say....
Hello everyone! My name is Dan, I'm currently 30 years old, and I've lived in Ohio my entire life. I met Jessie in 2001 while I was working at an antique mall. She has been my best friend ever since! I keep up with Jessie's blog on a daily basis. We now live over 1,200 miles away from each other, so it's really a great way to keep current on what she is doing in Wyoming. As you all know, Jessie is now completely vegan, and definitely on her way to a healthier life. I'm very happy for her, and wish her the best! Recently, Jessie e-mailed me asking whether I'd be interested in trying out the vegan lifestyle for a short period of time. I currently eat the same foods that most Americans eat...beef, chicken, plenty of dairy products, and just about anything else you can imagine!
As I was considering whether or not to accept the challenge, many things went through my mind. There are many benefits associated with changing to a plant-based diet, and a healthier body is my biggest motivation for giving it a shot. I've read how happy Jessie has been lately because of her decision to eliminate animal products from her diet. This also gives me hope that I can succeed as well. But since I am new to this, I do have some worries as to how far I will be able to make it. I will be honest when I say there are certain things I am very nervous about. There is a bit of uncertainty about whether I will be able to give up the foods I enjoy so much.
There are many foods that I feel will be extremely difficult to quit eating. I love chicken sandwiches, cheeseburgers, and tacos very much. However, I am learning about how unhealthy those all can be. My unpredictable work schedule frequently makes it difficult to plan a healthy meal. Many times I just settle for fast-food, which is about the worst thing out there! However, I'm willing to give this a serious attempt. I could have easily backed out from this offer and said NO before even starting. "Change" is a very difficult word in my mind. There will definitely be lots of changes to what I eat, once this project really kicks in.
One of the biggest things I want to come out of this upcoming experience is a much greater knowledge of the food I am putting into my body on a daily basis. A majority of people eat what they do, because it's basically what they were brought up to eat, and don't even think twice about the harmful effects it may be having on them long term. There is a significant attachment to the food I eat in my life. The hardest thing in my mind will be breaking that connection I have with certain foods.
Right now, I have come a long way, just to even try this. I never would have imagined myself not eating animal products for an extended amount of time. The thought just never crossed my mind. But, I have some great motivation to move forward. Obviously, my health is an important factor, and in the past I've never given it as much thought as I really should. I hope a majority of the changes I make actually become permanent. That would be terrific! But for right now, and with Jessie's help, I am going to educate myself on some vegan foods, begin sampling them, and try very hard to cut out a lot of the junk I currently eat. I am very much looking forward to preparing different foods I've never tried before. I want this whole experience to be fun, and not scary.
A very special "Thank You" to Jessie for even thinking I would be a good candidate at doing this. Being Vegan is one of the most important accomplishments in her life. Without trying different things in life, there is simply no chance of success, so I will do the best I can. I know there will be many challenges, but hopefully I am able to overcome them and come out a healthier person. That's the main goal!
Thanks Dan for sharing your thoughts and concerns about the vegan project. I asked Dan to be very honest with the way he was feeling. The doubts and emotions that he is experiencing are so normal and typical. The most common fear for people about being vegan is all the food they will have to give up. The key is replacing them with new foods that you will soon crave the way you did the OLD foods. When I talk to Dan I say things like," Yep. Yes. I know." I understand all his worries about changing his diet. I am very proud of him for even accepting this challenge at all. For even putting himself out there! Some people look at my food and turn their noses! Silly really.
The next part of the vegan project will be taking Dan grocery shopping while I am visiting him in Ohio. I am so excited about this. It's going to be so fun having a close friend really see what it is like to be in my world! So stay tuned for a video of Dan and I together next month talking about grocery shopping and his most current thoughts on a vegan diet.