Dan and I are officially by from our mini Florida vacation!
And I have a HUGE confession to make…
I stopped being a vegan for 2 days.
I tossed out my veggie loving lifestyle and embraced a weekend filled with seafood and ice cream.
Yes, I ate ice cream… twice.
Now before I get the hate comments, I think first we should discuss why I’m vegan in the first place before I announce the side affects of my choices.
I went vegan exactly 1.5 years ago. While I LOVE animals and believe that the meat business in the USA is pretty messed up and dirty, it’s not the reason I made this huge lifestyle change.
I went vegan, because it felt right. For once, I had a nutritional program that I was comfortable with.
I feel better, I have more energy, and when I am hungry I eat. No more guilt, and no more calorie counting.
If anything veganism has personally helped me enjoy food much more. It’s made me more of a foodie than I could have imagined.
Now with that being said…
I love seafood and I REALLY love ice cream.
So when on vacation, I decided to go crazy and endulge in both of my loves.
What happens when a vegan eats ice cream?
You feel like crap. And you’re reminded of why you don’t drink milk.
I savored every single bite of my ice creams (yup, over the 4 days, I enjoyed it twice). It was rich, creamy and perfect!
But about an hour later, I felt bloated and uncomfortable.
If I had a huge meal before I would have expected the aftermath feelings. However, I knew we would make a stop for the ice cream so I kept dinner light and even got the smallest cup available.
The next morning after my first indulgence, I was still uncomfortable.
- I was gassy, bloated and during my unplanned kettlebell workout there were a few times I felt “hungover”.
- Another interesting observation… I woke up with boogers. TMI? I have often said that since giving up dairy I have had NO sinus issues, no stopped up nose issues and no boogies. So I wasn’t surprised when I had them the following morning. And I actually had to blow my nose. Coincidence? I think not.
The feeling passed of course, and didn’t stop me from enjoying this on the drive home:
Again, I felt as if I had eaten a horse and wanted to be rolled into the car. It sat like a brick in my stomach and I almost instantly regreted the decision to partake in the Blizzard festivities.
Luckily, the feelings that had accompanied the first ice cream adventure, passed by much quickly. By dinner time I was 90% better.
I guess that was a sign my body was already adjusting to the lactose found in the ice cream.
What happens when a vegan eats seafood?
I love love love scallops and fish. One night, I enjoyed a white fish (grilled, no butter or sauce) and the second night I enjoyed grilled scallops.
Holy moly both meals were great. But the scallops were stand out excellent! If you’re ever in the Jacksonville area, make sure to check out 29 South. They have a garden on site where they get most of their produce. For the rest of the menu, the chef partners with local fisherman and farmers. Love that!
How did I feel after eating every single scallop on the plate?
Just fine, actually.
Now over the 18 months, I have enjoyed seafood from time to time.
When my body craves it, I eat it (I take it as a sign it needs something I am not giving it). But this happens maybe once every 2-3 months.
And it’s only been salmon (which is weird since before being vegan I hated salmon).
So I was curious to see how scallops would react with my veggie loving stomach.
It was fine. I was full but not uncomfortably so.
- I had no nausea or upset stomach issues.
- But I was fuller longer.
I think this is most likely due to the fact that animal protein takes time to break down and be digested. Since I’m not used to it, I am not used to feeling “full” for so long.
Don’t vegans lose the enzymes to break down protein?
I was worried that eating all the dairy and seafood that I would be stuck enjoying the rest of my vacation in the Ritz’s bathroom.
I had heard that the longer you go with out animal products, the harder it is for your body to break them down because you lose the enzymes needed to break down the animal protein.
Well, I’ve learned that’s just crazy. Studies do show that enzymes may be reduced with time, however never down to zero. Often, once a vegan or vegetarian re-introduces animal products back into their stomachs, product is revved up very quickly.
Then there is the matter of stomach acid.
HCL (hydrochloric acid) is the main breakdown machine of protein. No matter what you eat, your stomach is still housing HCL.
It isn’t as if eating vegan is going to change your stomach acid to be water instead.
Tips for eating meat again after being vegan.
Now, I didn’t go all crazy and decide to go with a steak. That would have been very dangerous and my fears of becoming best friends with the bathroom would have likely been the case.
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian thinking about re-introducing meat into your diet:
- Do it slowly. Opt for lighter fare like seafood, then chicken then move into the “real” meats.
- Watch portion control. Start small to see how you handle the meat and then slowly keep upping intake until you’re getting “normal” portion sizes. Don’t get the “meat lover’s” pizza the first week back to an omnivore diet.
- Have someone else prepare it. If you haven’t had meat in a while, there is a change you don’t crave it or you’re even repulsed by it. Have your spouse, roommate or local restaurant prepare it for you as you ease back into it. After a while, the idea of touching meat or cooking it, will no longer gross you out.
So there you have it…
When a vegan stops eating like a vegan we still continue living.
No one was harmed in the making of this blog post and I am 100% re-committed to my vegan diet.
Because we haven’t had a chance to go shopping, we tried a new to us restaurant last night:
Black Bean Co. where I enjoyed a completely vegan wrap and boy was my body happy with me. Now all I want are veggies and zero sugar. It’s a detox week ahead for sure.
I told one person about my seafood love and they quickly snapped back “so you’re not vegan.” Well… yes and no. And I am okay with that.
What’s your favorite cheat food?