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 –
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.
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.
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) –