The Sustainable Living Challenge #1: Going Vegetarian For a Week Ft. Tia

If you have been following me for a while you would know about my journey to be more sustainable, a journey that led me to launch my own brand (MOKSHA). My lovely friend, Tia, from Tall Blonde Tales and I started talking about collaborating on a post a while back, while ideating for ideas – we realized we both are very passionate about moving towards sustainable living. So we decided to challenge each other with sustainable living challenges. Here is our first challenge to each other –

THE CHALLENGE

We challenged each other to make some changes to our daily food habits. If you aren’t aware, the meat and dairy industries are some of the most polluting industries across the world. While I am already a vegetarian, Tia isn’t. So she challenged me to be vegan for a week and I challenged her to be vegetarian for a week. We were hoping our experiences would help us adapt slowly to these lifestyles and help others see that these lifestyles are not that difficult to follow even if only 3days/week.

Here is how the ‘ONE WEEK OF BEING VEGETARIAN CHALLENGE’ went for Tia

HOW THE WEEK WENT

Monday, day one, was probably the hardest because we were driving back from the Kruger National Park and my dad, boyfriend and brother decided the perfect snack was a big bag of biltong. It wasn’t that I was unhappy with my apple chips (okay compared to biltong they come second so I was pretty unhappy) but we ended up getting stuck in traffic for an extra three hours on an already five and a half hour drive so all of that time watching those three enjoy their biltong while I ate my apples was pretty difficult. 

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

During the week, it was actually easy for me to be vegetarian. My breakfasts are usually either cereal or a berry smoothie, so that was already vegetarian. I don’t normally eat lunch but if I do then It will be something small like maybe a baked potato, a salad, or if I’m not feeling hungry then an apple or dried fruit roll. Apart from taking the chicken out of my salads (which was a little sad but not hard), that part was manageable too. Thankfully, my dad was really supportive and because we do the cooking together, it also made it fun trying out these recipes. We had to make meat versions of some meals for my brothers, which added some difficulty. Not because I didn’t enjoy my own veggie meals but because the smells from those meaty dishes were so tantalising omg!! I wish I could control what smells I process and which ones I can’t. It would make eating healthy so much easier. 

Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV on Pexels.com

Friday and Saturday nights were more difficult and I almost cheated, because we went out for dinner on Friday night and sadly there were very few vegetarian options. On Saturday, we always make fish and chips and while I was happy to skip it, it did smell amazing. Overall, I found it pretty manageable to complete the challenge and I’m proud that even though I had moments when I was really tempted, I never cheated. 

*happy dance and throws confetti* 

CHALLENGES OF THE CHALLENGE

Now I have nothing against being vegetarian. I love veggies. In fact, there are some weeks where I’ll be fully vegetarian for half the week so I didn’t think it would be an impossible challenge. However, my family eats a lot of meat so a big part of the challenge was not being tempted by everything my family eats, and making another meal on top of the one for my family. 

As I already mentioned, Monday was a challenge because my family was tempting me with biltong in a long car ride. Another difficulty was also going out for dinner because if you don’t go to the right restaurant, you may be stuck with very few options and as a meat eater, those meat options looked even more appetizing. 

TIPS FOR EVERYONE WANTING TO SWITCH LIFESTYLES

#1 Tell the people close to you so they can be supportive. My parents and boyfriend knew this was something I really wanted to do so they were very supportive and it made a huge difference. Having my dad to help make more of our meals vegetarian, and my boyfriend there to either help me avoid temptation or just encourage me truly made it much easier to do. Be sure you let your support network know so they can do just that – support you! 

#2 Get rid of temptation. If you know there are things that will tempt you, get rid of it or avoid it! When I went grocery shopping, I deliberately didn’t get certain things (like ice cream). Being tempted is super normal so always try and help yourself as much as you can. 

#3 Make it fun (and tasty). Making a lifestyle change can be really difficult if it doesn’t seem fun. For instance, making a change to lose weight is great, but it’s a lot less fun if you starve yourself and only eat lettuce as opposed to cutting out some unhealthy foods and trying to create a more balanced diet. Cooking the meals with my dad and figuring them out together made it fun, and finding food that I enjoyed and then incorporating that into the week made the challenge feel much easier and by the time I finished, it didn’t feel like I’d suffered. 

#4 Do your research. Research recipes, find ones you like, and plan your week so you can get excited for the meals. If you’re going out for dinner, check the menu online beforehand to make sure you have choices. If there aren’t many options for you, knowing ahead of time means you can have something to eat beforehand and just get something small at the restaurant. There’s always a way to manage the situation if you research and plan ahead. 

WOULD I RECOMMEND THE LIFESTYLE?

ABSOLUTELY!!!  I know sometimes making bigger lifestyle changes like this can be intimidating but that’s why I believe it’s far better to tackle things in small bites and then build up to bigger changes. 

Honestly, after my week I felt super healthy. My skin was looking great (always a pro in my book) and I felt more positive. If you’re thinking about making a transition like this in your life but aren’t sure, why not start like we did and try it for a week? If it works, you can extend it, or try to make it a regular event. It’s more challenging for me to stay vegetarian in my household, but I’ve upped the number of plant-based meals I eat generally and when I go back to university I plan to extend that more. So long as you try to make the experience a positive one, have your support network behind you and stay determined even when things tempt you, you can definitely make lifestyle changes like this sustainable in a way you enjoy! 

Thank you so much, Tia, for collaborating on this challenge with me. Going sustainable gets so much more fun when you have a group of friends that motivate you and join you in your efforts. If you aren’t already, do go follow her now! Check out how I fared in my challenge over on her blog, NOW!

Did you enjoy reading about how we fared in these challenges? Would you consider going vegetarian or vegan? Also, would you like to see us do more sustainability challenges? Let us know in the comments below!

PS: Just for reference, Tia did this challenge in South Africa and I did this challenge in India.

I have done a whole bunch of blogs on sustainable living, check them out here.

Also, check out my other recent posts which are also pretty awesome (:D) –

33 Comments Add yours

  1. This was such a fun challenge thanks for doing it with me! We should definitely try another one sometime ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This was a great challenge. I’m glad that the two of you managed to encourage each other to be more sustainable. Being a vegetarian is hard for a non-vegetarian, being vegan is even harder. Especially since substitutes are hard to find or expensive. I used to be addicted to tea but I’ve kicked that habit now 😃

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Happy Panda says:

      Yesss! Being vegan can be a pain especially when you want to eat out. But I guess it is possible to be vegan 3days a week and that is what I am doing right now. 🙂

      Wow – kicking the tea habit – that is amazing! I can’t imagine doing that with coffee!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Taking it one small step at a time sounds great. Ghee and butter are the only diary products I use frequently. I rarely have curd and milk. Cutting them off completely would be a struggle.
        I struggled a lot to free myself from my tea addiction but I eventually did it!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Mauro Longoni says:

    Great way to introduce Vegan, but i would not give up to meat! However, great and interesting post!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Happy Panda says:

      Haha – I get that giving up meat can be difficult but you can give up on eating meat 2 or 3 days/week. Even that would be beneficial for our planet! 🙂

      Like

      1. Mauro Longoni says:

        Of course! You are right

        Like

  4. Brittany P says:

    I love the sustainability challenge idea! When I was a vegetarian finding appropriate restaurant food could sometimes be a challenge. I found that bigger cities tend to have more options than smaller towns for sure. Getting my family on board certainly helped, but it was hard to convince my mom I didn’t want to only eat vegetables all the time

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Happy Panda says:

      Haha my parents were horrified when I turned vegetarian at the age of 15! Thankfully in India, vegetarian food isn’t too hard to come by but vegan food is so so difficult to find and super expensive. :/

      Like

      1. Brittany P says:

        I struggle sometimes to make different meals for everyone when our foster kids have different dietary needs, but somehow we always make it work. I can understand why some parents might get flustered with a kid suddenly deciding to change their diet

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I Blog says:

    Came from Tall Blonde Tales and immediately followed! Your blog seems really interesting!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ahh so glad you came here to check it out!! Much love xxx

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I Blog says:

        🥰🥰🥰

        Like

  6. Please like and subscribe my channel muhammad saleem iron work

    https://youtube.com/channel/UCnyJeSSd7w7eXZ4FiKIErRA

    Like

  7. Mainay aap ko follow bhi kiya hay

    Like

  8. Juliette says:

    Amazing challenge! I would for sure like to see more of these in here and try to do it myself too! 😊 lots of my friends are vegetarian so when I am with them it is pretty easy to avoid meat, but it is nearly impossible when I’m with my family… living alone surely makes it easier too and I really want to try out new recipes to help me live a healthier and more sustainable life 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I completely get you!! With some friends because they are veggie it’s easier but my family is the same so super hard to do veggie with them 😭😂 that’s awesome!! I’m thinking of sharing some healthy/sustainable recipes and maybe compiling them into a book would you read stuff like that? 😊

      Like

  9. utahan15 says:

    i like meat too much. not for me.

    Like

    1. Happy Panda says:

      I get it – but maybe try giving up on meat for 1-2 days in a week. 🙂

      Like

      1. utahan15 says:

        not me bring it on. cos john is on borrowed time anyways. so ala csn live it uppp~

        Like

      2. utahan15 says:

        all best wishes and highest hopes fa sho.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. E Kariuki says:

    Its a great thing you are doing here. Myself, I have been a vegie all my life (started out of a medical condition but now its a choice). When I tell some people, I don’t take meat. The reaction they give is like they are listening to a bomb survivor. They get shocked, others pity me. They just can’t imagine not eating meat for a day.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Happy Panda says:

      When I gave up on meat at the age of 15 – people were horrified including my family. But thankfully in India vegetarian-ism is quite understood so most people get it but people don’t understand veganism at all!

      Thanks for reading! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. bosssybabe says:

    Oh wow! This is a hard challenge if you’re not vegetarian/vegan. I tried the vegan challenge several years ago. Like Tia, I am a natural veggie lover and all of my meals mainly contains more veggies (fresh or cooked) than the meat portion. However, I do still eat and enjoy meat (just not as much as I love/enjoy/consume my veggies). I love Tia’s advice for being successful at this challenge and I generally used the same strategies as well (I cajoled my grandmother who lived with us at the time to cook only vegetarian meals LOL). I faired well for the most part but I missed milk and did NOT realize how many things were not vegan friendly!

    Great post, ladies! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Panda says:

      Now with mock meat options available – I think it is a lil easier to go vegetarian atleast for 2-3 days in a week. But veganism is SO hard. I just don’t get how people have vegan milk – they are all so terrible and so overpriced. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Anitaelise says:

    My mind would love to do this, but my body can’t. I am allergic to many vegetarian protein foods, and able to eat few non vegetarian foods. I would like more free range eggs and chicken and an industry norm that let’s animals live comfortably.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wonani says:

    I somehow missed the part that said “went for Tia” and was wondering how you were driving from Kruger National Park. 😂

    This is so interesting. I would definitely try being vegetarian. I think it’s a lot easier if you have so many options when it comes to what to eat otherwise I imagine it would feel repetitive.

    This is something I’ll definitely try for a week at least.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Good experience, I started two years ago and now I am lacto-ovo vegetarian. It is a healthy lifestyle as you highligh. Also I agree that the meat industry is impacting the planet. By the way, nice blog.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s