What is The Vegan(ish) Experiment?

Our family (me, my husband D, and our four-year-old Molly) started 2009 with a mostly-vegan, macrobiotic-inspired diet (although I have to admit, the strict macro rules have pretty much gone out the window). I have seen a marked improvement in my chronic migraines, and I'm enjoying proving that we can make amazing, mouth-watering, memorable food without animal products. For a more in-depth intro, click here.

I stopped updating this blog quite awhile back, when life got in the way. I'm still keeping a mostly vegan kitchen, though, and loving it. Have fun browsing my recipes!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Day -15: Introduction

A few weeks ago, in the middle of one of my tougher migraine periods (translation: 3 or more in a week), I said to D,
"Hey, I'm thinking of radically changing my diet. Any time I've read about anti-headache diets, they focus a lot on staying away from certain meats and cheeses, and on eating more fresh food and fewer additives. I wonder if it would work for me."
D's initial reaction was one of skepticism ... but, after a few days, he said out of the blue,
"You know, I've been thinking about what you said about changing your diet. I'd like to try it with you. But let's wait until after the holidays."

And so the one-month vegan(ish) experiment was born. We aren't doing it for ethical reasons, so we'll be cheating occasionally. I doubt that D will give up milk (he has a glass of skim milk with dinner every day), and we aren't asking Molly to give it up either.

A little bit of research has shown me that a macrobiotic diet is almost what I'm looking for. I tend to be a Western-Empirical-Science-type, and am not particularly into the yin/yang approach taken by macrobiotic theory, but the diet does a great job of balancing foods. I won't cut out nightshade vegetables (couldn't live without tomatoes, peppers, etc.) or avocados. But we will use a lot of macro guidelines so that we can make sure we're getting all the nutrients we need, and we'll use lots of macro recipes because there's a ton of yummy ones out there.

I've ordered a couple of books: The Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics and The Self-Healing Cookbook. They should arrive by the end of this week or the beginning of next, and I'll blog about them as I'm reading them.

So welcome, readers, and thanks for supporting us in our experiment!

12/18/08: Edited because I'd misremembered one of the books I ordered!


  1. Yaaay, you're blogging! :)

    I'm excited to her how this goes for you. You'll have to share recipes with me...ones that are likely to be enjoyed by my meat-lovin' man.

  2. Very cool idea... I'm very interested in your recipes.

  3. C.Beth - thanks! I'm excited to be on your blogroll!

    rainylakechick - I'm really looking forward to the experiment, although a little scared it'll be too hard. But I figure any little change helps, even if I don't do it perfectly!

  4. 1. I am following you...
    2. I'm thrilled that you're doing this.
    3. Your mom got excited when I told her the subject.
    4. Your mom won't start a blog. What's wrong with her?
    5. If Molly were announcing your new blog's arrival, she would exclaim, "It's coming; it's coming!"

  5. Dad:

    1. I just added the list of followers as a gadget, but don't see you there. :(
    2&3. I'm glad! You and Mom (well, Mom the most!) are an inspiration.
    4. It's because she didn't get that channel growing up.
    5. I read your comment out loud to Donal, and when I got to #5, Molly said, "It's coming; it's coming!" Really.

  6. Hey, hey, hey! My first convert! I REALLY hope it works for you. And I've very seldom missed all the foods I used to eat. Here's the link for the book we had in our class that I took.
    (Didn't know how to do a link to it on the comment section.)
    You can d/load the whole book and not have to buy it. It really explains how a vegan diet helps in all areas of your health. It also includes over 100 recipes. It really does amazing things to help your body. I don't remember if they mentioned headaches, but probably!
    You probably know that I try 2-3 new recipes each week, so let me know if you need any...

  7. I'm sorry to hear about your migraines! I have another friend who was on an anti-migraine diet (she lives in Utah and I haven't heard an update in a while). I hope it works for you.

    I have experimented with trying to go vegetarian (not motivated enough to do total vegan), but have been somewhat lazy about it lately. I wouldn't really miss red meat at all, but chicken and fish would be hard to give up completely.

    At any rate, I'm always interested in anything food-related, so I'm sure I'll check in regularly. Good luck with your experiment--and good idea to start AFTER the holidays!

  8. well, i guess it's better than a vegan microbiotic diet... i hear it's hard to get full on that one.

    i'm excited for you! let's talk soon! wanna skype for christmas?
    :) sean

  9. Good luck! I went vegan last year February and it improved my health dramatically (I have a link to those posts on the main page of my blog). It is so worthwhile to do it. I'm excited to hear how you do!

    PS: My big inspiration was the book, The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell.

  10. Becki - I've also read The China Study and it was one of the books that also convinced me. It's title is deceiving since most of the book is not about the China study, but anyway, it talks about a remote village in China that mostly only had fresh plant-based foods and how much healthier they were than other areas whose lifestyle was more like most of ours.

  11. Mom - Thanks for the link! I will definitely use this.
    duckbill - Glad to see you commenting. Got your email, will reply. I definitely want to Skype on Christmas.
    Amy - Thank you for visiting! I will look up The China Study. It definitely looks worth reading. I hope to see you here again.

  12. Janell - I'm glad you're excited to follow along! I'm lucky that I really like vegetarian food, and cook vegetarian more often than not anyway. The vegan part will be harder, but I think it will be worth it!

  13. follow mary's experiment here:

    and, see if you can take a basic food and nutrition course in between grading papers and cooking! seriously, it will help.
    this blog: http://fanaticcook.blogspot.com/
    will change your approach to food safety and public health issues.

  14. I'm not writing solely about the vegan thing (but vegan-ish is a great description!) but I'm on about week 6 of it. I have had eggs on three occasions, because I was so low on protein and the tofu was not cutting it. It's interesting to learn about new foods. I'll have to check to see what macrobiotic is all about.

  15. Hello--

    I'm stopping by to check out your blog after you visited mine (the one with the kid's book quiz). This is a GREAT idea and I am very interested to see how this goes for you. I know that my family needs to eat better but each person is so picky in their own way that I'm not sure I could pull this off. And I'm not a very good cook to begin with. I would like to learn a little more about this so I will follow your journey and maybe I can pick up some hints and tips along the way to help my family eat better.

    Just a hint at what I'm up against:

    Husband: Won't eat any green vegetables. Doesn't like fish of any kind. Wants a satisfying meal for 6 points (Weight Watchers points).

    Child: Wants mac & cheese at every meal. Cries and becomes hysterical whenever new food is served to him. It took me about 4 months to get him to eat some chicken on a regular basis.

    Me: Hate cooking. Try to pull together two different dinners each night in about 15 minutes with a 4 year old saying "play with me, Mommy" every 30 seconds and meet both of my picky eaters requirements.

    I've been thinking about posting about this problem and now I think I will ... I bet I'll get some help. Good luck with your journey!

  16. Virginia - thank you for the comment, and for the email! I appreciate the links, advice, and support.

    marymurtz - I'm adding you to my blog roll. Thanks for sharing! I just commented on your blog.

    Jenners - I have a daughter who is kind of picky, too. Luckily her pickiness will go well with our new diet - I'm about to post on this - but her dinner is kidney beans, peas and/or carrots, and brown rice more nights than not. I've heard the advice that you're supposed to expect kids to eat what you eat ... but I don't think the people giving that advice have ever had to deal with a kid who wakes up hungry in the middle of the night because she just doesn't like what the adults are eating. Anyway, the best solution we have found is just to keep a tupperware container with the bean/veggie mixture in it in the fridge at all times. At least it's healthy...

  17. I'm eager to find out how this works out for you. If you can change your lifestyle with a job and a toddler I have no excuse lol. Here's to your success!


I love it when people come back and tell me how the recipes turned out - please consider doing so! Thanks!


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