Vegan Jackie, Reporting for Duty

1 May

Hello lovelies! It’s the first day of a shiny, new month and that means it’s time for me to fire up another 30 Day Challenge. It’s month 5, and so far I’ve tackled Jillian Michaels, an hour of reading every night (readers’ choice), cutting sugar, and keeping a detailed daily food and exercise journal.

Cutting sugar has by far been my least favorite. I don’t like it when my food is messed with. Particularly my sugar food.

I also like to eat animals. I do. I went vegetarian a long time ago after reading Skinny Bitch (I’m sorry, I wish it were more academic, but we do truth tellin’ here), and I only made it eight months. It was a gradual decline. I started sneaking ham sandwiches when my friends weren’t around and told myself they were a one-time thing and then before I knew it, it was Thanksgiving and I might as well have shoved my head directly up that turkey butt (Exhibit 1).

In all sincerity I’ve become much more cognizant over the years about what I put in my mouth (stop it), partly due to my effort to get fit in my 365 Day Challenge, version 2013, and partly because I became aware of how terrible the food industry is to animals, which I love and adore in an Elmyra Duff fashion. I’ve learned to vote with my money and though it has been a difficult budget adjustment for me, I buy grass fed beef, free range chickens, and try to make environmentally- and ethically-conscious choices.

But now it’s time to go hard. Trying to read more and eat less sugar and work out are good and dandy 30 Day attempts, but I can’t imagine any 30 Day Challenge I would hate more than going vegan and that makes it real juicy. I owe a few readers this challenge as well – some of whom have even offered to help me along the way. 

This strapping young lad is Alex Etling, aka @vegantweeter and the host of the posts at iChewsVegan. I’ll be dropping in on him for some veggie-filled truths this month and he’s been kind enough to offer himself as lifeline during my animal-craving fits of rage. (photo credit: Lauren Morrison Photography)

I’m not even sure what I can eat today. I mean, I know what I can’t eat. I grabbed a banana and a granola bar this morning and I’m going to have to read a lot of vegan food blogs very quickly because for a long time my major food groups were Cheez Its, Pizza, Hoagies, Macaroni and Cheese, and Ice Cream.

Those all sound delicious and they’re all off-limits. This is going to be an actual challenge.

There are lots of reasons that this is both the perfect and the worst time to do this. It’s the next natural step in my increasingly healthy lifestyle adjustments, and it doesn’t hurt that a powerful dose of nutrients and body love will help an upcoming photo shoot and summer season look more appealing… but it’s also a month full of food celebrations thanks to a recent job change, and several business meetings at restaurants that will simultaneously test my willpower and my knowledge of what’s safe to put in my piehole. 

The truth is that there is never a “good” time to start anything. There are always challenges. Change, even if temporary, is not easy. For 30 days in a row, I have to do this regardless of guilt I may feel for not eating something homemade, the waste I might incur by not partaking in unexpected and generous food gifts, and the overwhelming cravings I’ll battle when one of my aforementioned major food groups comes sexily whispering into my ear.

I’ll admit that I’m really clinging to two things for panic relief: there’s a kick-butt veggie stir fry offered at the joint down the street, and I know an ice cream shop that pushes vegan offerings.

The premise of Lollipop Tuesdays, 30 Day Challenges, and 365 Projects is to do something that you aren’t sure you can do, that you don’t necessarily want to do, and from which you might learn a great deal. For me, this definitely fits the bill. The timing is terrible, the excitement is difficult to muster, and the reward might be incredible. If you want to hop on board, you can start with your very next meal and count forward thirty days.

I’ll see you on the other side. 

Vegan Jackie, out. 



35 Responses to “Vegan Jackie, Reporting for Duty”

  1. awesomemamablog May 1, 2014 at 8:39 am #

    Good luck to ya! I’ve been vegan for 2 1/2 months. Honesty, still not thrilled with it. At first I basically lived on green curry. I buy the jar at the market and toss in my favorite veggies + coconut milk. Viola!

    Veganism is hard and don’t let anyone tell you different. But not because fruits and veggies are the devil, but because we are sooooo addicted to refined sugar, hormones in our meat and just garbage over all. Kick some butt Jackie. And just remember to keep snacks on you AT ALL TIMES!!! Vegan is most difficult when you are out in the world… hungry. You’ll get primal real quick. :-p


    • Jackie May 1, 2014 at 9:05 am #

      Ah yes. If I can only eat healthy food, I shall at least still gorge myself. Thanks for the tip! And Grats on making it so far 🙂


  2. FitsofWit May 1, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    Ick. I used to be a vegetarian for years but I’ve recently added seafood back into my diet (I live in MD and all those blue crabs aren’t going to eat themselves). In my vegetarian days I had always wanted to go vegan but it really is difficult. SO many things have milk or egg products in them.
    I wish you luck on your challenge this month but I also hope when you’re done you celebrate with some shrimp alfredo.
    Good luck! Can’t wait to hear about it! 🙂


    • Jackie May 1, 2014 at 9:08 am #

      Mmm Alfredo. Milk and eggs are certainly a challenge. This is going to be a rough one. When I finish I shall celebrate with cow, methinks. And shrimp. And cookies and milk and donuts and…


  3. silkpurseproductions May 1, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    Good luck with this, Jackie. Just remember to get enough protein and Vitamin B. I was a vegetarian for years and unfortunately developed pernicious anemia as a result. Of course, these days we have a lot more access to information and resources that will help you avoid some of the pitfalls. If I were you I would attach myself to Alex Etling at the hip and listen to everything he says.


  4. mllaurie May 1, 2014 at 10:37 am #

    Yaaaay! Good luck, Jackie. If you need help or more recipes, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Don’t worry about protein & B12. You’re only doing this for 30 days, and really, most plant foods have protein (which is where the animals get it). Anaemia is less of an issue for vegans than vegetarians because milk is so low in iron. I was anaemic prior to going vegan and have been vegan for 3 years now. My iron & everything else is perfect. Almond & other plant-based milks are fortified with B12. Eating out can be a challenge, but restaurants will often Veganise meals or even make you something not on the menu-just ask! Vegan cupcakes are amazing & quicker & easier to whip up than ones with eggs. You can always bring some to any celebrations so that you’re sure to get some cake, too. Please do learn the why’s surrounding veganism. I’ll send you some links.


  5. ML May 1, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    I’m incredibly proud of you. 🙂 I’ve tried it before. I usually just do no meat and still eat dairy, but I’ve done the full-on vegan thing too. It’s very difficult, but rewarding indeed.

    I’m just gonna throw something out there that you may find interesting. Or repulsive.

    Have you thought about adding a juice fast to your 30-day challenge? It’s still vegan, but you’d literally go without any real food for 2 or 3 days. Spring is a great time for juice fasts, as it’s a transitional season. Look into ‘Fresh From The Farm’ Juices. They have a 2-day fast for $60. It’s basically liver cleansing. So during a vegan-month would probably be the best time. We can talk about it if that sounds like it isn’t too much. 🙂



    • Jackie May 2, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

      oh man – you’re proud of me before I even do anything! thanks! well, I mean now I’m 2 days in but STILL. Thanks.

      It’s funny you mention the juice cleanse because that’s actually how this all started. Folks planted the vegan seed, then several months later I start thinking about a juice cleanse for a Lollipop Tuesday and then I thought it would be a nice lead-in to a veganism attempt, and then I saw the price of a juice cleanse and abandoned it but kept the veganism haha

      Nice to know my search landed me at the right place though – I found all these NYC places and then realized we have one right in our backyard 🙂


  6. pegoleg May 1, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    Wow. You’re taking over Lollypopping as a verb and as a life-choice. Good for you, kiddo.

    I just heard on the radio that vegans allow themselves to eat meat that is road-kill because nobody actually killed the animal. Is that true?


    • mllaurie May 1, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

      I think those are “freegans”. Vegans are opposed to exploiting animals, period. Most vegans would want to bury the animal, not eat it.


      • pegoleg May 2, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

        OK, Thanks for clarifying.


        • Jackie May 2, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

          In the name of clarification, I would like to add that by the time the end of the month comes I might be so starved for meat that I’ll wish roadkill wasn’t off limits.


  7. Samantha May 1, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    I have given up on going vegetarian or vegan, and that’s mostly because it hasn’t been something I’ve really wanted to do. I was vegetarian for a few years when I was younger, but began missing chicken nuggets and didn’t eat very healthy, either.

    Now, I’d just rather eat healthy things even if they include meat and dairy products. I am also a big fan of adventurous eating, so cutting things out would be sad.

    However, I wish you lots of luck, less cravings, and delicious vegan meals throughout this whole month! It might be worth it to Pinterest vegan recipes, I’ve seen quite a few there that seem like they’d taste pretty good 🙂


    • Jackie May 2, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

      Thanks! So far some of the best advice I think I’ve gotten is to try to replicate my craving meals with vegan versions. At the same time, I don’t want to eat a bunch of weird, unnatural ingredients.. so finding things that fit the bill can be a challenge. I’ve already learned a lot and it’s only day 2!


    • Please Return to Owner May 16, 2014 at 11:37 am #

      To be fair, I’m not 100% sure chicken nuggets have an chicken in them O.o So you might be good 🙂


  8. adixon210 May 1, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

    After going vegan/gluten free (I now allow myself to have some hard cheeses because it doesn’t make me want to die) I had a low point where I thought food would forever be my enemy. Then I found this awesome recipe for vegan chik’n pot pie. It changed the game. I’d be happy to share some pointers! You’re a brave soul, indeed.


    • Jackie May 2, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

      Share away! In particular, I could use some good recommendations for lunch on the go. I’m a busy gal and I’ve stocked my bag with fruit and granola bars so that I don’t get ravenous, but I’m having a hard time identifying lunches that are both office friendly and vegan friendly. Any thoughts?


  9. Jules May 2, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Here’s one weird trick to add volume and nutrition to your food! And you won’t have to click a flashing red button! Are you ready? ((cook white rice with coconut milk))


    • Jackie May 2, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

      I have been hearing so many praises for coconut water, milk, oil… it’s fascinating. Apparently this is the month to put the praise to the test.

      Thanks for the tip 🙂


  10. pigeonwanted May 31, 2014 at 6:59 am #

    You’re blog is great, really witty -I love it! I’m just starting out and I’d love it if you could check out my blog:


    • Jackie September 3, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

      Hey thanks, pigeon. I wasn’t going to go to your page but I couldn’t resist because you had a great handle. Surprisingly heavy reading on the music post – your whimsical name tricked me.


      • pigeonwanted September 22, 2014 at 11:48 am #

        ha ha, yes I’m a little to into my music I think but thank you


  11. Ice_Badger June 23, 2014 at 6:48 am #

    how did I miss this post!!
    That is something I could never do!!
    Really well done!!

    (sorry about all the !!s I was feeling exclaim-y)


    • Jackie September 3, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

      I thought it was going to be one of the toughest and I really hated the idea of having to start but once I did, I didn’t have that hard of a time. I sometimes operate really well with absolutes. But I would have eventually caved going past thirty days because I searched through the history of vegan cheeses to find absolutely nothing comparable.


      • Ice_Badger September 4, 2014 at 2:12 am #

        I know what you mean about absolutes 🙂 I am quite an all or nothing person a lot of the time!
        It is definitely impressive though…I certainly couldn’t do it! I would miss eggs!!


  12. GillHenry July 6, 2014 at 9:56 am #

    Hi, just started blogging myself and came across yours. Love it. I became vegan 2 years ago. Not because I disagree with killing animals for food but because I think we have poisoned our food chain and I know it’s healthier for me. I look forward to reading more of your blogs and especially how you get on with veganism. Try raw food. It’s actually tastier than the cooked stuff. ;p


    • Jackie September 3, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

      Thanks for dropping by! I began to take pride during the vegan challenge in how much good food I was taking in. I probably ate more fruits and vegetables in one month that I typically do in a few.

      Raw food has been delicious to me but only upon exiting a fast.


  13. theawksteenlife July 12, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    To be honest becoming vegan would be very hard for me, but I really respect you for what you’re doing. Even if I will continue murdering animals for the time being this post is has made me decide to start buying more organic produce. Not much but I’m working my way up there 😉


    • Jackie September 3, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

      Have you noticed any difference in changing what you eat? I don’t find much in organic produce but I really notice a difference in organic milk and grass fed beef. I always intend to get to more farmers markets but I never do. Maybe I should try a month only buying from those before they disappear for winter.


  14. winnymarch August 13, 2014 at 1:05 am #

    Hi Im winny from Indonesia and i liek ur blog stufff, nice to know u


  15. awax1217 September 16, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    My wife is a veggie person, our children are too. I eat tuna and salmon but no heavy meats any more. Had a stroke and that threw out pizza, breads and other things I use to crave. I took off ninety pounds. It is a life style and one I do not preach. So many do.


    • Jackie September 17, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

      Grats!! I wonder if there are some people who are wired (or raised) to love things that are terrible for you and others that naturally really like healthy things or if we just need to teach ourselves. Do you miss the stuff you cut? I probably have about 90 pounds of pizza on me alone 😉


      • awax1217 September 18, 2014 at 6:11 am #

        I do miss pizza. Have not had any in over a year. I eat very bland foods. Humus and rice cakes when a get an urge to eat. Low calories and low salt. Veggie loaf from Amy’s low salt. Burritos from Tijuana Flats once a week. Water no soda. No flavored fruit drinks. Sugar is definitely bad for you. But I am alive thirteen years after a stroke.


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