Happy Tuesday #Jontourage,
Welcome back to the “Classy Gent Chronicles”, where staying classy is the only way to be. In this week’s edition, read about my life as a vegan for three days.
I recently tried something completely out of my comfort zone. For three days, I became a vegan. My favorite singer, Mya, who is an amazing person and vegan, hosted a three-day vegan challenge. Anyone who has known me for at least 20 minutes will know I am a Mya fan. If not, this link will catch you up to speed https://www.authorjon.com/blog/mya-classy-creative-cool . It was something I had been considering for a while but never followed through with. I always thought it was too complex for me and I would not be able to keep up with the challenge. Luckily, three days is not a long time and after successfully losing 100 pounds, my confidence reminded me I can do it.
Day one was probably the toughest, I made it through breakfast and lunch relatively easily but when it was time to figure out dinner, it got real. I need to go grocery shopping to get something for dinner as well as for the remainder of the challenge and the reality settled in about how different my shopping has to be. While it was easy finding fruits and vegetables, finding vegan-friendly bread, cheese, milk, and other foods started to get to me. I spent 10 minutes in the bread aisle, reading every single bread label until I found something vegan friendly. I have a mentee who is a vegan so after a good talk with him, I started to feel better about this challenge. Something I am constantly working on is to remember that Rome was not built in a day.
I can often get discouraged when I do not grasp concepts quickly. I had to remember, I have eaten a certain type of way for almost 30 years and now I am shopping differently to participate in this vegan challenge. I am in parts of the store I never visit before.
I am buying brands I would not normally support. I am reading each product to understand the content in the food I am consuming. This is all so new for me but I felt a great sense of reward from taking more responsibility for what I was consuming. Now onto the meals:
For breakfast, I created a fruit salad bowl consisting of apples, pears, grapes, watermelon, oranges, bananas, and pineapples. For lunch, I ate a salad consisting of lettuce, red cabbage, shredded carrots, and vegan-friendly dressing. For dinner, I grilled a vegan burger made of celery, carrots, and barley on a slice of gluten-free vegan-friendly bread with vegan cheese and lettuce for toppings, vegan macaroni and cheese which was DELICIOUS, and green beans.
For breakfast, I made my favorite... OATMEAL but this time I used Soy Milk instead of cow’s milk. I usually add brown sugar to my oatmeal but on this vegan journey, the soy milk made the oatmeal sweeter without the brown sugar. For lunch, I decided to have some fun with tomato soup and one of my favorite vegetables, corn. For dinner, I had french fries and fried cauliflower made in vegan-friendly soybean oil.
For breakfast, I decided to juice. I made a smoothie with strawberries, bananas, peaches, & pineapples (my favorite). I used my juicer to use orange juice as my base for the smoothie For lunch, I made beefless tips (made with garlic, onions🧅, red bell peppers, canola oil), mashed potatoes (made with soy milk) and spinach. For my post-workout snack, you can never go wrong with blueberries so I ate those. For dinner, I ate General Tso’s Tofu which is a vegan variation to General Tso’s Chicken. The meal consisted of tofu, brown rice (healthier than white rice), broccoli🥦, and peas. I love bread as well so I put some thin-sliced vegan-friendly bread on broil in the oven for a few minutes and added some vegan butter. Absolutely delicious
And just like that, I completed my 3-day vegan challenge.
I started this challenge nervous because this was completely new to me. I was embarrassed because I had tons of questions about vegan life. Most importantly, I was unaware of how manageable veganism truly is. On this three-day journey, I had an amazing support system. I had people who texted me to check in and encourage me. I had people who sent me vegan recipes. I had people who answered questions for me about vegan choices.
I learned a lot doing this 3-day vegan challenge.
1. I learned healthy eating is not expensive
2. I learned vegan food is tasty if you prepare it the correct way
3. I learned that some of the foods we consume have dairy and/or eggs in them even if it doesn’t appear to. I didn’t realize this until I went shopping and starting reading food labels and the contents inside.
4. I learned that veganism is not just about the food itself but also how the food is prepared (i.e. what oils/batter is being used, if animals played a role in the filtration/preparation process or not, etc.)
5. I learned many of the foods we generally like are already vegan-friendly
6. I learned that there are vegan alternatives to everything that you like
7. Most importantly I learned I am capable. I went into it curious to try but I did not think I would have the discipline to do it due to my lack of knowledge about it prior. These three days gave me a chance to explore something out of my comfort zone. Ironically, some of my friends and my students reached out to me saying they want to now try your August challenge because they saw me do it for July. Plus, I lost three pounds on today which is my one-year health journey anniversary so I can proudly say I’ve lost 110 pounds. When I started the vegan challenge, I had lost 107 pounds so I’m grateful.
Moral of the story: Although it was a challenge and I want to win, I feel like I already won. I left skinnier and better educated about healthier living options. Can’t truly ask for better. Mya thank you for giving me the opportunity to explore this. Be open to new experiences, you might like it a lot more than the way you’ve been doing things.
Remember, in order to live out your dreams, you have to think it, feel it, live it! Until next time, stay classy...
For more Classy Gent Chronicles blog post, be sure to visit https://www.authorjon.com/blog
Jonathan C. Harris is no stranger to leadership, hard work, or success. At the age of ten years old, he earned the right to be a guest weatherman for a day on Fox 5 DC News. He has already received over 100 honors and awards including Forty Under 40 for Prince George’s County, MD, TEDx Talk speaker, American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Outstanding Men’s Program, high school Valedictorian and the Kiwanis Club Citizenship Award. Raised in Fort Washington, Maryland, he has served in leadership positions his entire life, from being the manager of the school store in elementary school to the president of the Homelessness Awareness Club in middle school to the president of the National Honor Society in high school.