Give Me Back My Five Bucks

From vegetarian to vegan: a one month experiment

Most of you know I’m vegetarian. I started off as pescetarian when I came back from Germany in 2013. After a few months, I turned vegetarian – and have been for almost two years now.

It’s been an interesting two years. I still get asked by my good friends if I’m “still not eating meat,” as if it’s a fad I’ll eventually get sick of. :) I’ve been put in more than a couple uncomfortable situations, and I have traveled to places where getting a vegetarian meal can be tricky (I ate a lot of eggs). But overall, it has been such a positive change to my lifestyle that I can’t imagine ever eating meat again.

Taking the next step to vegan has always scared me. That’s why I’ve never done it, or even attempted to try. It’s new territory that I’ve always wanted to explore, I just didn’t (and still don’t) know how to go about doing it. Cooking seems daunting – especially cooking for others. Going out to restaurants and traveling will become harder than it already is. But here’s the thing: I’ve always known that eventually, I would want to make this lifestyle change. And now is the time to test it out.

Maybe this will work, and maybe it won’t. But today marked Day 1 of a 30-day vegan challenge for me. I’ve actually already failed, but that’s okay… I ate a piece of pumpkin loaf that I realized afterwards was clearly made with egg, and then I almost put milk into my coffee this morning.

Over the next month, I anticipate higher than normal grocery bills and a lot of “whoops” moments. It will be tough to change my habits, but that’s what’s fun about these 30-day challenges. :) And with any luck, one month will turn into two months, and a new lifestyle will come from it.

So, if any of you are vegan, I’d love links to your favourite vegan recipes or restaurants!

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


Comments

  1. I’ve been vegan since 2010 and it’s really not as difficult as you’re expecting. I’ve never been to a single restaurant where I couldn’t find something good to eat (and that includes a steak house!), and the only reason your grocery bill would go up is if you’re buying a lot of mock meats/cheeses. The interesting thing is that I originally went from vegetarian to vegan as part of a weekend “experiment” and have stuck with it every since :)

    May I recommend Follow Your Heart provolone cheese slices, and So Delicious cashew milk ice cream (especially Salted Caramel Cluster OMG!), and Happy Herbivore’s vegan alfredo… they should help ease your transition. Have fun!

  2. Anya says:

    Kuddos to you! I find being vegetarian to be really easy…even in the developing world. It helps that I love vegetables and have always disliked meat. But vegan is another story. I love ice cream, chocolates, sweets, etc so that would be a tough adjustment. And I don’t cook…

  3. Jessica says:

    Good for you! I’ve tried going vegan a couple times, but I can’t give up eggs.

    If you’re ever back in Toronto, I recommended going to the Fresh Restaurants. They are located everywhere and the menus is ah-mazing.

    As for recipes, if you haven’t already checked Oh She Glows, you really should. She has a cookbook and her website makes eating well really easy. ohsheglows.com

  4. Claudia says:

    Turning vegan complete?! I don’t i can do that, I love eating eggs prepared in different ways like omelet, scrambled etc and milk. Though it’s easier if you’re a lover of vegetables. Being a vegan has a huge benefit.

  5. Nice! My sister was vegan for several years and I always loved going to vegan restaurants with her. Especially in the Bay Area where she lives now. So many talented chefs and bakers! My biggest challenge would cooking, too. It’s so easy to eat all the processed stuff, but I guess that kind of defeats the purpose!

  6. Jennifer says:

    The Oh She Glows cookbook is AMAZING. I got it for my mom last Winter, she’s vegetarian at home, and she thinks it’s great. I’ve had many meals from that book and I would highly recommend it.

    Good luck.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yes! I picked up the Oh She Glows cookbook a few weeks ago… have only made one recipe so far, but everything looks amazing. Cannot wait to try them all!

  7. Good luck with becoming vegan. I go back and fourth with vegetarian but love bacon way toooooo much!

  8. Selene says:

    It’s super easy! And so delicious! When I was vegetarian, I pretty much JUST ate eggs and pasta. Then I went vegan and started eating so much stuff.

    And as long as you steer clear of fancy packaged stuff it’s super cheap (cheaper than veggie).

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Before I was vegetarian, I didn’t eat many eggs. Now that I’m trying vegan, I’m actually shocked at how high my egg consumption has gotten. I can see how eating vegan will make you really think about your meals more, and eat a wider variety of things. Am excited!

  9. Amy says:

    Thug Kitchen! I got their cookbook for Christmas and love it. I’m not vegan but I would happily eat their meals every day. A couple of people have also suggested Oh She Glows, which is also fantastic. Another good recipe blog is Vegan Dad – http://vegandad.blogspot.ca/

  10. Andi says:

    That sounds like a great project! When I moved out, I didn’t realize how expensive everything was and moved to a more vegetarian diet with meat being an accent or treat item.

    Have you tried the Acorn in Vancouver? It’s a vegetarian/vegan restaurant. The dishes were delicious, but on the pricey side. http://www.theacornrestaurant.ca/#

    I haven’t tried any other eateries, but a Google search for vegan restaurants in Vancouver looks promising and worth checking out places for a vegan food crawl!

  11. Joel says:

    Thug Kitchen cookbook offers vegan/vegetarian options and helpful tips for first-time cooks. The authors make cooking less intimidating for beginners. Request and borrow it from any public library instead of buying it then copy only the recipes you want. Avoid buying too many recipe books because they occupy premium space in a home especially for someone who is adopting a minimalist lifestyle. Yummy vegetarian recipes are available online including Thug Kitchen (http://www.thugkitchen.com/) or in free newspapers (The Metro). Good luck in the 30-day vegan challenge! :)

  12. nathan says:

    I have been mostly vegan for a few years and recently committed fully this past June. I find it a lot cheaper if only because I make more of an effort to bring lunch to work becuase there is practically nothing nearby. The social aspect is sometimes hard and is annoying when restaurants that have veg options seems to always use cheese and cream.

    Check out veg.ca for a directory of restaurants to try when you are in Toronto and as a resource of information. Fresh and Kupfert & Kim are the old standbys. Notable places to try are Grasslands, E L Ruddy, Porterhouse, Hogtown Vegan, Bloomers, and a bunch of cafes and bakeries in Kensington Market.

    If your main reason to go vegan is health related, the book Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis lays a good foundation.

  13. Michelle says:

    I was a vegetarian for 5 years and doing a one month vegan challenge made being a vegetarian a piece of CAKE. Good luck!

  14. Clare says:

    I highly recommend these two accounts on Instagram for solidarity: vegansidekick and vegancommunity

    <3 @clareyfrey

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