Special Veg Fest guest Lucy Van Oldenbarneveld to offer support to vegan challenge takers

For the month of March, CBC News: Ottawa co-hosts Lucy Van Oldenbarneveld and Adrian Harewood each embarked on new diets as part of the CBC’s Food for Thought project. Adrian tested out a meat-rich Paleo diet, while Lucy spent the month of March as a vegan.  Both anchors received advice from experts and celebrities who practice the respective diets. In Lucy’s case, many of Ottawa’s vegan who’s who pitched in, including Chef Caroline Ishii of ZenKitchen and Wellness Warrior’s Deb Gleason.

Lucy and Adrian: Fierce competitors.

At the end of her month, Lucy decided to continue on the vegan path, and she’s now going to put her newfound expertise to good use as a mentor to the 31-Day Vegan Challenge participants undertaking a vegan diet during the month of May. (We are up to 30 challenge takers, to-date.)

Lucy will be at Veg Fest on April 29 between noon and 3 p.m. and will speak about her experience, and answer people’s questions about going vegan.

We asked Lucy a few questions ahead of time about her experience.

NCVA: How was being vegan different from (or similar to) what you were expecting? What WERE you expecting?

Lucy: I think the month really did meet my expectations. I expected to feel more energetic, and to eat healthier food.  Although, I don’t feel nearly as ‘deprived’ as I thought I would. With great desserts from Auntie Loo and gourmet cuisine from ZenKitchen, you won’t feel too much like you’re missing out on delicious food.

Q: What were your favourite things about being vegan for a month? Any scary moments?

A: My favourite thing by far was how great I felt. After the initial ‘detox’ feeling, headache-y and nausea (three to four days) things have felt terrific. One ‘scary’ moment during the month was getting half-way through a ‘vegan’ meal at a friend’s place and have her say, “oh, we used chicken broth in that.” In the grand scheme of things not a big deal, you do the best you can!

Lucy weighs in.

Q: Tell us about the support you received from the veg community.

A: Immediately people began tweeting me recipes, advice and tips. It has been terrific.

Q: What is your personal plan going forward?

A: I plan to stick with it without becoming too fundamentalist. What I mean is, there may come a time where healthy vegan food isn’t available and it’s a choice between peanut butter sandwiches on white bread or fresh fish… or something….so I don’t want to box myself in. My plan is to stay as vegan as possible! And so far, so good.

Q: Time to impart your wisdom; what advice do you have for people embarking on the NCVA’s 31-day Vegan Challenge?

A: The first four days are grim and there are times when it feels like all you’re doing is chopping and cooking, but this will pass. You’ll start to feel better soon and you will get more efficient as meal prep and freezing stuff.

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