We’re big documentary watchers on Netflix – we’ll watch them no problem. Before we lived together, we would go to Shoppers Drug Mart, grab snacks for the night, and lay in Shaun’s bed watching anything that caught our eye.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, it was Saturday night and we stayed in to have a chill evening at home. With Shaun on the big couch and me on my little one, we came across a documentary called, “What the Health”. We like and appreciate good health/food related docs so figured we would give it a try.
Five minutes into it though, I began recalling that I had already seen the film in one of my university classes and remembered it being good so we kept on watching. Little did we know that this documentary alone would have such an impact on our week to come…
I don’t want to give too much of it away in case any of you plan on giving it a go, but it was ridiculously eye opening for us. I kind of laughed at myself because of how much it affected us now compared to how it didn’t do anything for me the first time I watched it in school. The doc is from the point of view of a young man who began searching different ways to live a healthy lifestyle but quickly realized that the information he was coming across wasn’t necessarily coming from “credible sources”. He found that major health organizations, such as the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and the American Diabetes Association are being sponsored by Subway, Dominos, Pizza, Mars, and Nestle to name a few. Right off the bat you know there’s a lot wrong with that picture even if you don’t dig into it further.
While we were watching it, we began to realize just how badly we’ve been eating. The documentary had a lot of biology in it (disclaimer, I’m a bio nerd) and we learned what eating meat and dairy do to the physiology of your body. We watched clips of how eating meat affects your arteries almost instantaneously and we couldn’t believe it.
So, without going into more detail, we finished watching it and sat on our couches completely lost for words. We were astonished to learn that what we had grown up thinking certain things were “healthy” to learning that maybe they weren’t so much after all, and it was in those short minutes after the film that we decided to try and go vegan.
Our first encounter of trying to switch to veganism was going to Starbucks. Shaun got a latte with soy milk and I had a macchiato with soy as well and our first impressions was that they actually weren’t that bad. We both felt that making the change to soy or almond milk would be one of the easier things to do and it was. We went about our errands for the day, gave each of our parents a visit (told them our thoughts of the doc and the change we were going to make to our diet), and then went grocery shopping. First stop was Longos where we picked up a bunch of fruits and veggies, veggie burgers, and of course, some vegan cookies and ice cream. We didn’t meal plan, just grabbed some essentials and made our way back home. This was our first error and because of not planning ahead, we didn’t prep for a successful journey. We went in blind – we didn’t properly plan out our meals and what we’d be having everyday for both lunches and dinners. Because this was also the week before we were leaving for our PEI road trip, we didn’t want to buy large quantities of things for them to go bad. Needless to say though, we were pumped to go home and give it all a try. Right after we got home, we realized there was a local organic shop across from our condo so we walked over to pick up some vegan cheese and bread for our burgers.
Once we were home for the day and settled in, we obviously went straight for the ice cream and then later that night we had some stir fry for dinner – it was your typical dish but without chicken or steak. The meal was delicious and we packed our leftovers for work the next day.
Come Monday at work, we didn’t feel the change too much as we had our lunches packed and a bunch of fruits and snacks to get us through the day. However, Monday evening was when Hangry Alex kicked in. Mondays are long days at work for me in general and by the time I got home, I was straight up starving. Our plan for dinner was to cook up the veggie burgers, have corn on the cob, and salad. There were four veggie patties so we each had one plain and then one with vegan cheddar cheese on it. When we finally sat down to start eating, it came to an abrupt stop once we bit into the burgers – they were awful and there was no denying it. Our “plan” going into this was to be realistic about the new foods we were going to be trying and simply stated, if we didn’t like it, we weren’t going to eat it. So with the veggie burgers being a no-go I got sad and didn’t know what else to do besides thoroughly enjoy my corn. At that point, Shaun told me to go over and cuddle with him to help me with my mood, so I did. Once I felt a little better, I began making us banana and strawberry smoothies, which were absolutely delicious. So with one banana, a handful of strawberries, a dash of almond milk, we our first vegan dinner was an absolute fail.
From Monday onward, we cut dairy and meat out of our meals completely and went mostly off of plant based meals and almond milk. This is where I feel like we could have planned better. At moments, I was completely thrown off as to what to make for dinner some nights, but we managed. Going into this vegan journey though, we knew it was going to be a trial run to see what we thought and if it was something we think we could do. We also wanted to do more research about the plant-based lifestyle and not just go solely off of a Netflix documentary.
We discussed this topic a lot that week; what we could do differently, other new things to try, and most importantly, if this lifestyle was for us. At the end of the week, we landed on the decision that going completely vegan wasn’t going to be something we could maintain so we came to the conclusion of doing our best to cut out dairy and eat meat once or twice a week compared to everyday like we were used to. This alone is an adjustment for us, but also manageable, attainable, and overall, just more realistic.
We’re both looking forward to feeling better in our skin and looking forward to giving our bodies a little cleanse from the processed foods we’ve been eating all this time. I know we definitely want to look more into meals that are plant-based and maybe take some vitamins along the way, but I’m pretty happy with our decision.
I applaud anyone who can switch 100% to veganism because that one week for us was definitely a challenge. To anyone looking on making the switch to a plant-based diet, I highly suggest and encourage you to do your research and plan accordingly. It’ll help from the Hangry mood swings, I promise.
Have you watched the documentary, What the Health? What were your thoughts after seeing everything?