Week One Of Vegan Eating + “Sol” Food

Week one of the vegan experiment has come and gone. And it was a success!

There have been a few challenges along the way, but overall it’s been a positive experience so far. One thing that I’ve noticed physically is that my stomach feels different- in a good way. I’m kind of used to feeling just a little bit bloated (or a lot) most of the time, and that’s pretty much gone away. I’m assuming that this might be from eliminating dairy, but I can’t really be certain just yet.

I’ve certainly been more creative in the kitchen- and meals have been delicious and flavorful. I have a long list of different meals that I am planning to make, and am excited to see how they turn out. Greg has also really liked the experience so far. He has really liked almost everything that we’ve eaten, and I think he’s pleasantly surprised at how easy the transition has been.

As great and wonderful as week one of the vegan experiment has been, there have been a few challenges. When shopping for groceries, I’ve had to scan labels thoroughly. Luckily, anything containing milk or eggs (or any other animal protein) is usually pretty clearly labeled- but that’s not always the case. There have been a few things that I was surprised to find out contain non-vegan ingredients, but I’ve just had to adapt and find something else.

Meals (especially dinners) take a little more thought and planning. It was always really easy to just throw a piece of meat on the grill, add a veggie and a starch, and call it dinner. Unless I want to eat grilled tofu every night, I have to put in a little more effort.

One interesting thing that’s come up is the fact that for the first time in his life, Greg has had to start looking at nutrition labels. Greg’s never needed to “diet” or lose weight, and doesn’t have any food allergies, so he’s pretty much just eaten whatever he wants without giving it much thought. I’m the opposite- I’ve been extremely aware of ingredients and nutritional stats for at least ten years- and scanning food labels is just second nature to me. Greg’s never been able to relate to me in that way, and it’s kind of nice that because of the vegan experiment, he (sort of) can for the first time. :)

Another challenge was having people over to eat dinner this past weekend. I really do not want to purchase any meat, eggs or dairy for the next five weeks- and an pretty firm about sticking to that. However, when Greg’s parents visited us for a few days this past weekend, I didn’t want to force them to eat things that they’re not used to. We went out to dinner one night, and I made pasta with marinara sauce the next. However, on Saturday night I was a little bit stuck. My mom and stepdad saved the day and brought over their own beef to make hamburgers for them and Greg’s parents. I roasted some potatoes and made a big salad to go along with the meal. The biggest challenge of the night came for Greg when my mom sliced up a bunch of sharp cheddar (for the burgers) and set it out on the kitchen counter. I think it took a lot of restraint for Greg not to just grab a slice of cheddar and go to town, but he resisted! To him, that was a lot more tempting than the hamburgers.

While everyone else ate hamburgers, Greg and I enjoyed some veggie burgers that I had recently picked up. Sol Cuisine was kind enough to send me a handful of coupons for free products, and I picked out three different items: mushroom burgers, black bean burgers and sausage patties.

We tried both varieties of burgers on Saturday, and they were delicious! Like most other veggie burgers, they are a little high in sodium, but contain fewer ingredients than other brands I’ve purchased in the past.

While I prefer to make my own veggie burgers when I have time, it’s nice to have a good option for a quick dinner.

I haven’t tried the sausage patties yet, but plan on putting them in a tofu scramble later this week- and maybe as a topping for pizza on Friday. :)

Week one was terrific- and so far week two is off to a great (and delicious) start!


The winner of the Kombucha Brooklyn Home Brew Kit is….

Congrats, Jen!! Email me at lauren@oatmealafterspinning.com and I’ll give you the details!!


Do you pay attention to nutritional stats and ingredients (on food labels)? If so, does it affect the food that you eat/purchase?



  1. I think the key to making vegan meals for guests and others who aren’t vegan is to make something their familiar with – pasta is good, but also maybe chili, enchiladas, soup, veggie stir-fry, etc. Something that they won’t know is vegan.

    I’ve figured out that my stomach feels a lot better when I don’t eat dairy too (it wasn’t gluten for me, turns out). It’s really hard sometimes. It is in a lot of stuff, but also some things just go well with some cheese!

    • Good call on the vegan meals! I’ll have to find a good veggie enchilada recipe- I never make enchiladas- and definitely should more often! Sorry that it’s dairy that upsets your tummy- but at least now you know!

  2. Glad it”s going well!

  3. Glad to hear how well it’s going! I’m assuming tomorrow’s WIAW we’ll get to see some of what you guys have been eating?! :)

  4. karenclanderson says:

    I sure do pay attention to nutritional info and ingredients! And yes, I have put many things back in the shelf because of what I read on the label! I find that what the food manufacturers put on the front of the package is usually misleading. The truth is on the back.

  5. Congrats on the first week. So glad it went well. I definitely read nutrition labels — Kevin doesn’t. At all. Ever. So that’s fun that Greg is a little more tuned into that with this experiment!! Those burgers look good. I always want to make my own veggie burgers, but I have a hard time getting the consistency right!

    • It is definitely tough to nail the consistency of veggie burgers! I find that using Vital Wheat Gluten definitely helps!

  6. Heather @ Better With Veggies says:

    Darn – i wanted to win that Kombucha kit!! I am so used to reading labels it doesn’t really phase me anymore, but I do remember that being different now that you say it. I had an app on my phone that listed animal-derived ingredients, since there are some hidden ones you wouldn’t think about. So glad your first week has been good overall! Everything gets even easier with practice, we whip up random dinners with no planning all the time now. :)

    • I’ll have to look for that app! And it’s good to know that it gets easier. I have veggie burgers and couple of other things that I can quickly prepare on the fly- but I’m an over achiever. I have this thing about wanting every meal to be EPIC. :)

  7. How exciting that it is going well so far!! I’m so glad to hear that! I need to get me a Kombucha kit now… I’m seriously obsessed. I have you to thank for that! ;)
    I have to read food labels all the time because I’m allergic to everything under the sun!

  8. Yay! Glad it’s going so well. I think I’d die. Actually, my husband would. Fact. ;)

    • I don’t know… you’d be surprised! I don’t feel like I’m missing out at all- and my husband doesn’t really either (except for that cheese) and he is a HUGE carnivore. I know you have no desire to find out though- and you have found a way of eating that works well for you! :)

  9. Even though the color creeps me out, I actually really like the Sol breakfast patties…I use them to make easy breakfast sandwiches a few mornings per week!

    As for nutrition labels, I *always* check. I look at calories, calories from fat, sodium, carbs, sugar, and iron – and then of course, I check the ingredients. It takes longer at the grocery store, but I like to know what I’m putting in my body!

  10. Hooray for one week down!

    I had a lot of the same challenges that y’all are having: hidden milk solids/fats/powders in everything, and HONEY (which I know you aren’t eliminating, but I did for the first month). It can be so difficult, but I actually loved becoming super aware of what I was eating by studying labels so carefully. [It is also funny to discover the things that are vegan, like Reeses Peanut Butter Puffs cereal, that prove the adage: Vegan doesn't mean healthy.]

    Planning is CRUCIAL as a vegan. I found it made me so much more creative in the kitchen, but I really had to think about every meal so much more. You also can’t get ‘caught’ out because a lot of places won’t have quick vegan meals on hand. [Praise Whole Foods!]

    And I have just grown accustomed to bringing my own food wherever I go. My friends and family are cool about it. :)

    • Yup- I bring my own food when I need to also- it just makes it easier. It’s just hard not to “offend” people sometimes because you aren’t eating what they are.

  11. I’m not huge on reading labels either, but I feel like I understand enough to not make bad decisions (Unless I just really want to!) I don’t eliminate anything from my diet however, so that probably is a large reason why. Good for you for sticking to this!

  12. I had an accidental vegan-speriment last week. mostly. 95% …. 100% vegetarian. :)

  13. Congrats on your successful week! As a mostly vegan person, I always read food labels. Even before making the vegan switch I tried to avoid things like gelatine. I was shocked to find it as an ingredient in yogurt, cheese, cream cheese, and even cereal! What the heck?!
    I also try to avoid HFCS and other not-so-nice (by my own definition) ingredients. Usually I make my food from scratch anyway. Thankfully, there are no labels on produce. ;)

    • Yup- I hear ya! It’s easy to avoid any kind of weird ingredients when most of your food is veggies and/or grains and legumes!

  14. Mmm, veggie burgers are definitely one of my go-to quickie dinners.
    Joe generally checks protein and carbs for his fitness regimen, but its only been in the last couple of years that he occasionally diets to lose weight. (Of course, he diets for 2 weeks, drops 8 pounds, and then forgets about it for another 6 months…) And I definitely notice that he can relate to my food “issues” a lot more closely now. I agree that it helps to have that understanding!

  15. I think my hubby has gotten into label reading more so since I went vegan (he’s nearly vegan, but still eats fish), and it’s really beneficial because he now will read a label before he buys something!! It’s awesome because he totally has a better understanding for ingredients and making sure the list is pretty clean.

    I’m so proud of your hubby for resisting the cheese, I can only imagine how tough that probably was. You guys sound like you’re doing fantastic. Can’t wait to hear more about it!!

  16. So glad to hear the first week went so well! I’ve been a dedicated label reader for a few years now. It started off slow, paying attention to sodium and fat…then protein…then sugar…THEN I finally started focussing on the ingredients. Which NOW I see can sometimes be a much bigger deal than just the nutritional “stats”. It’s amazing what needless franken-ingredients exist out there!


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