My Thirty-Day Vegan experiment ended a week or so ago (I didn't keep exact track of the date I started...and I didn't log into the online program I followed every day, so it may have ended up being the Thirty-Six-Or-So-Day Vegan experiment).
It went really well, and although I celebrated its conclusion by eating pizza from our nearby farm store Friday night, I plan on continuing to eat a mostly plant-based diet from here on.
I followed The 30-Day Vegan Challenge program, which I found helpful in that it provided a lot of helpful information regarding cooking techniques and nutrition information. It also provided a lot of great recipes. It's not too dogmatic or strident, either, however as the program goes on, there are a more and more references to "compassionate" eating and living. The program also emphasizes whole foods, rather than processed vegan versions of meat and cheese (although those are also covered and encouraged).
I don't entirely agree with the concept of veganism being synonymous with "compassionate." For example, many vegan alternative products (like Earth Balance "butter") contain palm oil; the high demand for this oil is resulting in the rapid destruction of rainforests. I think it's much more humane to get butter from cows grown here in my state than desecrating habitat depended on by wildlife. However, if you're going to go oil-free also (as recommended in Forks Over Knives) then it's not an issue.
Anyway, as for results: I don't really know whether or not I feel better or healthier after eating mostly vegan for thirty days––I didn't feel terribly bad or unhealthy before. I did lose three pounds, then another three, then gained back three. I went out to eat much less often, because I wasn't sure I could resist cheesey eggy goodness in favor of a salad. But I did end up buying and eating whole bags of chips and Rice Dream Pies for dinner, rather than picking up a sandwich on my writing out nights.
We've continued to eat a lot of beans and rice dishes and a whole lot more vegetables than usual. The biggest advantage has been finding and trying a whole lot of new recipes, which has energized my cooking for the first time in years. Some of the sources of recipes I've discovered are:
Part of the reason, other than the health benefits, that I'm going to keep on eating a mostly plant-based diet is that I'm enjoying trying new recipes so much. The kids have barely noticed/mentioned the difference and C even stuck to the veggie dishes when we went to a potluck last weekend.
I've found that by adding something like avocado, roasted red peppers, toasted pine nuts, capers, or olives to dishes you can get the meaty/salty/fatty flavor that cheese provides without the cheese. I even concocted a savory breakfast without eggs by putting olive tapenade and avocado on a bagel. Divine.
Of course some things, like that fateful macaroni and cheese, and pizza, can't be faked, and it's best not to try. So those things will come onto our plates once a week or so.