Although the challenge wasn’t impossible and was pretty fun, I had my ups and downs. As with any challenging obstacle, the thought of cheating crosses your mind at least once, even if it’s, “I will not cheat!” we’re still thinking about the prospect. We’re only human! So I will use this post to admit my biggest weaknesses throughout my 30-day trial. Before I continue I would just like to point out a few of my extreme strengths:
1. My boss brought cupcakes to work one day and I didn’t even lick the frosting.
2. Every time my staff meal came with sour cream on top, I always scooped it off, even if it meant wasting a little of the food it was touching.
3. I stayed in one night when all my friends were together having chicken wings (and I love chicken wings…and my friends, of course).
4. I was not a sneaky cheater; it was always done in the presence of others and I made them well aware of what was happening, usually with a long monologue and rhetorical statements and questions like, “Does it really matter if I have one bite?”
Ok, so on to the bamboozlement! I split my cheating into two categories: Shameless and Shameful. “Shameless” doesn’t mean I’m exactly proud of these cheats, it was still cheating, but that I can back them up with really good reasons for my actions. “Shameful”, however, I have no good reasons, I just gave in.
Alex’s Shameless, No-Regrets Cheats
Taste of Pearl – I paid $60 to sample 17 local restaurants and by god, I was going to get my money’s worth!
Chicken (just a bite) – I had just learned that my dear old, sweet dog was being put down in a matter of hours (she was very sick and it was for the best). I did it for Rudy. She would have wanted it that way.
Guinness – Did you know they use fish bladders in the brewing process? Me neither.
Alex’s Shameful, But Still No-Regrets, Cheats
Nacho Cheese from Taco Bell – it was a Mad Cow Craving no substitute could satisfy.
Black Bean Burger (made with eggs) – I knew the ingredients and I got it anyway out of spite (this was about two weeks in).
Movie Theater Popcorn – the bag was passed, my hand commandeered my brain, I didn’t even realize until later when I was washing the greasy butter off my fingers what I had done.
Guinness – after my shameless first beer when I learned about the fish bladders, I had a shameful second one…
Overall, I would say I very much enjoyed the vegan challenge. For only 30 days, I think the most difficult part was grocery shopping and knowing what substitutes and their brands to buy. I had plenty of help and support with recipes, eating out, and dinner parties. The challenge was fun and it’s inspired me to incorporate more veganism into my daily life. Meat and dairy will become less prominent in my diet, but won’t be totally eliminated. Let’s face it: I love my cheeseburgers….and pizza….and nachos….I just love to eat everything!