My one-month Vegan Challenge is complete. But the journey is just beginning.
This saying is overused, and underappreciated.
After a month of eating a Vegan diet (no meat, dairy, eggs), no processed foods, virtually no cooking oils (except for coconut oil), I now know just how true that statement is.
I’ve learned so much over the past month about how powerful food is and just how poorly most people’s eating habits really are. We’ve become a lazy, complacent and brainwashed culture.
When I decided to give this plant-based whole foods diet a chance, people thought I was crazy. The concept of not eating any meat or dairy for a month was such a sacrifice to most people I talked to, that they couldn’t imagine how I would be able to do it.
Well I did it. And I gotta be honest- it really wasn’t that difficult.
Sure, giving up certain things like pizza, chicken or my favourite Vietnamese vermicelli beef noodle dish wasn’t easy. But in the grand scheme of things- is choosing what we eat, and what we don’t eat, really that big of a deal?
TOO MUCH ANIMAL PROTEIN
Then there’s all the studies I read/watched about the connection between animal protein and cancer cell growth, diabetes and other diseases. There have been countless studies done that prove that one of the best ways to increase your chance of getting cancer is to consume animal protein.
Yet, we continue to over consume.
I’ve learned about hundreds of cases where people were actually beating cancer and reversing their diabetes and other heart conditions simply by implementing a plant-based diet. That is powerful stuff.
Now I’m not going to sit here and say that everyone should go out and stop eating animal products- but I believe everyone should at least know all the facts.
I’m also not advocating against meat, people are free to make their own choices. Like the old saying goes: “Everything in moderation.”
After a month without eating animal products will I stop eating them? No.
But I will definitely be watching my intake, try to eat local and stay away from processed meats (as much as I possibly can).
WAS I GETTING TIRED OF THE FOOD?
One of the things I was most shocked about was how much I enjoyed all the food. I’m not a picky eater by any means (anymore), but I was nervous I would grow tired of the food and find it bland and boring.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Everything tasted better. Most times I would say over and over again how amazing the meals were while I was eating them- almost as though I was in disbelieve that something could taste so good and yet, be so healthy for me.
GOOD FOOD MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD
That’s a pretty simple concept, but it’s true. After each meal I felt full, but not stuffed.
My energy levels throughout the day was the most noticeable “side effect” of the diet. Normally, throughout the course of the day my energy levels would be up and down, and by late afternoon I would get sluggish. However, with my Vegan diet I didn’t experience this at all- my energy levels were always high, there were no crashes.
It should also be noted that within a day of switching to the Vegan diet, my heartburn completely disappeared.
I’m trying to think of the biggest challenge I faced throughout the last month and I’m having a hard time, because there were so many positives.
The obvious challenges were: preparing the foods (prep time), convenience and going out/over to someones house.
Listening to my friends call me a “pansy”, “tree hugger”, “hippy”, “idiot” and all kinds of clever names I won’t mention on here, was hilarious.
But I really didn’t experience too many cravings. I was beginning to enjoy the foods so much and feeling so good all the time that I didn’t really care about the other foods I used to eat so much.
WILL I KEEP BEING A VEGAN?
What I’ve learned over the last month will have a lasting impact on the way I think about food for the rest of my life. So much so, that I would venture a guess that 90% of my diet will be primarily plant-based from now on.
The reason for this is simple: I felt great while I was eating the plant-based diet. So why would I go back to not feeling as great?
I’m also reasonable. I’m a social person who enjoys going out with friends, dinner parties, weddings, functions, potlucks etc. and I’m going to eat whatever is put in front of me.
One animal product that I will to cook is fish. Of all the research I saw, fish seems to have the most health benefits with less of the side effects.
When I’m making my own food at home, I’m going to keep eating the healthy way.
GIVE IT A TRY
I’m not a preacher. I’m not going to tell you how to live your life. But give it a try. Maybe it’s just a few meals a week. You will see how much better you’ll feel.
Take the time and learn new recipes with your spouse or partner. We’ve lost our connection with food. Get outside your comfort zone- try something different. What do you have to lose?
I didn’t do all the tests I had set out to do at the start of this Vegan Challenge, but I have lost about 10 pounds and I can honestly say that I’ve never felt this good before.
Actually that is a lie. As I write this I feel horrible. Why? Because today is March 1st and to really get the full effect of how good I was feeling for the last month I decided to go out and eat a burger, poutine and pop for lunch and beef and noodles for supper (For the record I ate a healthy breakfast).
That’s not a lot of food. It certainly isn’t the healthiest food, but it’s not insane amount. It’s funny because on the first day of my plant-based diet I felt amazing.
So right now I feel bloated, tired/lazy, unfocused, fat and my throat is actually sore. Which I find amazing considering not once did I feel sick over the last month.
After today it’s back to usual, as my journey to a healthier lifestyle continues.
I welcome all comments and question. Let the conversation continue…