The longer I forgo animal products in my diet, the easier it becomes. In fact, it almost feels weird to label my food vegan—these are simpl...

Eating in CT

The longer I forgo animal products in my diet, the easier it becomes. In fact, it almost feels weird to label my food vegan—these are simply the foods that I eat. Why do I eat them? Because they are the foods that I like and the foods that get me where I want to go.

For many months, I was frustrated by constant fatigue. I blamed a lot of it on dietary changes; perhaps I was lacking in key nutrients or not getting enough protein. As it turns out, I just wasn't sleeping enough. Once that was cleared up, I began to trust my diet of greens, beans and other plants. That's when it really started to thrive.

The trip to Connecticut is another opportunity to really eat well. To take all of the question out of my shopping for the week, I used the plane ride to plan out my meals and make a shopping list.

Dinners and Lunches:
Grain bowls with curry
Grain bowls with BBQ sauce
Curried split pea soup
Pasta with broccoli and tomato sauce
Peanut butter sandwiches
Oatmeal with nutritional yeast and spices

Oatmeal with peanut butter, instant coffee, banana, cinnamon, etc.

(Normally I would have some sort of soy products as well, but they are ridiculously expensive at the grocery store here, so I decided to opt for more beans and less soy this week. Looking forward to seeing if I notice any differences.)

To make sure I got enough, stayed within budget and didn't stray too far from the shopping list, I did some quick calorie estimate. Figuring I needed 3000-3500 calories a day, for 9 days, I planned on getting around 30,000 calories worth of food.

I brought some food along (breakfast for my first day, leftover snacks from the plane, chia seeds, nutritional yeast, gatorade powder, spices) but I still needed to buy around 27000 calories for the week. I knew I wanted most of it to come from grains and beans, so I set to work figuring out how much oatmeal, rice, pasta, bread and beans I should be buying.

A lot, it turns out. 

Previously shopping on the road, this has been my biggest mistake. Because we stock these things in the pantry at home, I underestimate their contribution to my diet. I bought 4.5 pounds of oatmeal, 3 pounds of rice, 6 cans of beans, two pounds of split peas, a pound of pasta and two loaves of bread. A few fruit and vegetables and a medium jar of peanut butter later, I checked out with a total of $52.

Not bad, considering I eat nearly as many calories as a normal family of two.

Would a nice piece of cheese add something to my daily meals? Maybe. But just as likely I'd be suffering the consequences halfway through the afternoon session. It might just be acclimation, because I don't know many people who would choose curry over cheese for their pre-workout meal.

Another trick has been pre-cooking. Canned beans solve a lot of the issue, but brown rice and beans take a long time to cook. After a workout, the last thing I want to do is watch rice simmer for an hour. So I pre-cook. And it seems that when it's just as easy to grab a spoon and a container of rice as a spoon and a jar of peanut butter, I'm just as likely to go for the rice.

Making soups, beans and grains ahead of time—or even soaking the oats overnight to shorten cooking times—makes eating good, cheap, wholesome, healthful foods that much easier.

The most important thing I've learned, though: Trust my food.

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