We’ve always lived by a pretty simple rule: if it’s not fun, why do it? And usually, fun for us means putting ice cream in our coffee in the morning, spending the day cooking up new and exciting flavors, and ending the day with a big bowl of Half Baked.
But once in a while, we like to challenge ourselves. A challenge can still be fun, right? So recently, one of our employees embarked on a 30-day vegan challenge, vowing to eliminate all meat, dairy, and other animal products from their diet for a whole month.
So, off to the grocery store they went, stocking up on tofu, hummus, and plenty of Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy, ready to dive into a month of veganism.
It was a wild ride from start to finish, with these 30 thoughts dominating the month:
1. Start With Inspiration
You wouldn’t believe how many great vegan recipes are out there! The hardest part is deciding which ones to try and honing those cooking skills.
2. Don’t Fear the Tofu
It looks like a tasteless blob of boring, but trust us, there’s more to tofu than meets the eye. It’s a blank canvas ready for your creativity.
3. Hey, It’s Tempeh
Make friends with tofu’s cousin tempeh while you’re at it. You’ll be glad you did.
4. Oh Yes, There Will Be Dessert
Obviously, giving up dessert for a whole month was not an option. Good thing Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy was there to save the day, along with recipes like the Vegan Brownie Sundae and the Vegan Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake.
5. Breakfast is a Real Challenge
Protein-packed breakfast go-to's like eggs and sausages were out, so breakfast required a little creativity. Avocado toast, anyone?
6. Kale, Yeah!
Leafy greens like kale, mustard greens, and collard greens are packed with nutrients our bodies need. Plus, the kale puns are endless, if you kale about that kind of thing.
7. So Much More Than Salads
No, being vegan doesn’t mean living on salads. Seriously.
8. Scoop Shop Date Night Rocks
One PB & Cookies Non-Dairy shake, please, hold the whipped cream.
9. Beans, Beans, The Magical Fruit
. . . and you know the rest.
10. Avocado Makes Everything Better
Literally everything. No exceptions.
11. Hummus is a Must
You should never be more than 10 feet from a container of hummus.
12. That Vegan Logo Matters
When you see that vegan certified logo on packaged foods (like pints of Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy), you know it’s a yes without even sorting through the ingredients. And that’s a real time saver.
13. Prepare to BYO
It’s a fact: not every party host is going to offer up vegan options. And that’s okay because we’ve never been opposed to bringing our own munchies. Even on the 4th of July.
14. People Are Going To Ask Questions
“You can’t even have honey?” “How do you eat out at restaurants?” “Do you ever cheat?”
15. Restaurants Are a Challenge
You have to get used to being that annoying customer who asks a million questions about everything on the menu. Embrace it.
16. You May Only Get French Fries
Sometimes the only thing you can eat on a menu is french fries. We didn’t say that was a problem.
17. . . . But Vegan Restaurants are a Mecca
A restaurant where you can have anything on the menu, no questions asked? That’s heaven.
18. Coffee Is a Little Weird
The options are: black, with a dairy-free creamer, or having a sleepy coffee-free morning.
19. Dairy is in Some Strange Places
Reading the ingredients is a must because things like potato chips, granola bars, and crackers can contain dairy.
20. Accidents Happen
If you accidentally eat something with a not-so-vegan ingredient in it, don’t worry. Take a deep breath, it’ll be okay.
21. Cooking for Two Can Be Tough
Two people: one vegan, one not. Dinner will require some extra planning, but you don’t need a personal chef to make it happen.
22. You’ll Find Out Who Your Friends Are
Those friends who are willing to bring a vegan dish to potlucks so you’ll have more options? Those are the ones to keep around.
23. Take Your Vitamins
A vitamin supplement is a good idea for most vegans. Vitamin B12, for example, is only found in animal products, so a supplement-less vegan could find themselves lacking.
24. Vegetarian ≠ Vegan
Beware of vegetarian items like veggie burgers. They might seem tempting, but they’re not always vegan.
25. Plan Ahead for Travel
Road tripping? Bring your own snacks, because that gas station off the highway isn’t going to have your favorite vegan snacks.
26. Desserts Make Everything Better
27. Some People Won’t Get It
And that’s okay.
28. Avoid Triggers
If you think going to BurgerFest is going to make you want to quit the whole challenge and down bacon cheeseburgers like it’s your job, maybe skip it this year.
29. It’s Surprisingly Easy
Sure, it’s tough at first. But once making vegan dishes becomes routine, the whole challenge becomes, well, not that challenging.
30. New Favorites
Even after this 30-day challenge is over, there are some vegan favorites that won’t be leaving the freezer. (Like Non-Dairy Peanut Butter & Cookies, that’s not going anywhere.)