so, i am going almost vegan for a month...along with ryan, my brother, ben and his fiance, jessica.  why?....just cause!  to see what happens.  to experiment!  i have always said that i could be a vegetarian, because i don't really like handling meat and it is usually not my favorite part of a meal, and within the last year i have come to enjoy vegetables so much that i literally crave them when i do not get enough.  the hard part for me will be the dairy.  so, no meat, poultry, or fish and no dairy for the whole month of january.  i did not give up eggs, because, well, that would be TOO hard, and i love them!!!   and they are great protein!  so far, so good.  of course i know i will miss the cheese...who wouldn't :)   i acutally think this is a great way to jump start a new nutrition program because it pretty much forces you to get a ton of fruits and vegetables, which should be the base of your diet anyway!  meat should really be a side dish.  one downside to this diet is not getting enough omega 3 fatty acids, however, ryan and i recently started eating chia seeds and just one tablespoon provides enough omega 3s for the entire day!  chia seeds are super small and can be added to numerous things like pancake batter, smoothies, and soups.  we already started, about 4 months ago, drinking almond milk instead of cow milk and just discovered that soy coffee creamer is better than the regular stuff!  other simple substitutions are applesauce and almond milk in pancake/waffle batter instead of cottage cheese, tofu and edamame instead of chicken, and black/red kidney beans instead of red meat.  another downside could be not enough vitamin D and iron, but easy ways to increase these nutrients would be 1) supplement and/or get some sun exposure for the D, and 2) get your fair share of pumpkin seeds for the iron!  being a vegan can be dangerous if not done right, BUT can also be a super smart way to increase health, longevity, and vitality!  follow my January Journey...maybe longer.  tonight for some cabbage, edamame, artichoke stew cooking in the crockpot, yum!