One Month Vegan

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At the beginning of November I set out to go 30 days on the plant-based diet. I’m going to start this post by saying that I failed epically at this challenge. I did 20/30 days completely vegan then the cravings for fish tacos got out of control. I eventually caved in on a dreary Thursday November afternoon….then quit the challenge altogether. Eating vegan was easy at first, but got increasingly harder as the month progressed – especially when I started going out to eat at restaurants.

Breakfast was particularly easy – I’m used to drinking a Vegan smoothie without much thought made from Vega protein powder, almond milk, spinach and/or kale, and a banana. Lunch wasn’t too difficult either..It was the dinners that I really struggled with. I’m embarrassed to admit that I failed at this challenge and hoping the next time I give it a try, I can go for longer and better prepare myself.

For my 20 days Vegan and after some reflection, here’s a short list of some discoveries:

  1. Eating Vegan Forced Me to Eat More Vegetables

I almost instantly felt better by eating a ton more vegetables. I did my share of research before starting this diet and was surprised to learn the amount of protein there was in vegetables and started incorporating 3-4 servings in every one of my meal. I also started throwing together a bunch of random vegetables in my NutriBullet and a small piece of fruit to sweeten it up a bit. The concoction I drank the most was a combination of celery, apple, spinach, kale, and swiss chard. Yes, it was difficult to get down some days, but I felt incredible afterwards. My body felt lighter, I digested my food a lot quicker and I had way more energy then I normally would.

2. Food Started Tasting Better

Not only did I eliminate meat and animal by-products, but also tried eating only whole foods and removing as much processed garbage as I could. I tried buying more organic fruits and vegetables and noticed a huge difference when it came to taste. Vegetables and fruits starting tasting sweeter and I felt like I didn’t need the accompaniment of sauces and condiments to make my food taste good. My favourite lunch was a simple stirfy with kale, sweet potato, and black beans cooked with a bit of coconut oil. Super simple and super delicious.

3. Going Out to Eat is Really Hard

Although there’s now a ton of Vegan restaurants, I found it very difficult to find plant-based meals at pretty much every other restaurant I went to unless I opted for the house salad with balsamic dressing. There were a ton of vegetarian options available – that wasn’t the problem. I never realized how many veggie burgers had eggs in them. Anyways, I ended up having to make a bunch of modifications – I didn’t enjoy my meals and loathed having to pay $15+ for something I could make a million times better at home. Now I see why a lot of vegans make their own meals. One afternoon, I went out for lunch at a pub and ordered hummus and pita and edamame for lunch – the pita came out covered in garlic butter and I had to send it back. Who puts garlic butter on pita that comes with hummus? Another time I went out to get an asian stir fry – had to substitute the chow mein noodles for rice and remove the meat. I ended up getting a plate with a small portion of vegetables drowned in a super sugary sauce. Needless to say I paid $20 for that meal and felt very sick after. I did go to more Vegan restaurants then I ever had and loved the selection. I found the price to be a lot more expensive though. Overall, I was forced to cook more at home which isn’t a bad thing. I had to dedicate a lot more time to making my own meals then I normally would.

4. I Started Getting Bored of the Food

After 2 weeks on the plant-based diet I didn’t have the time to really research and create unique meals every time I ate. I ended up eating a lot of leftovers and the same things every day. At the start of the challenge, I told myself that I wanted to stay away from a lot of soy-based products, but found myself eating more and more soy as the challenge progressed including processed vegan foods. I needed variety so bad and ain’t willing to put in more time to find new meals and cook more. Soy and processed vegan foods are very convenient. I noticed that when I ate more of these foods, I felt shittier. All the benefits of eating more vegetables and whole foods in terms of energy levels were out the window. When I wasn’t feeling good to really enjoying the foods anymore, I decided to quit the challenge. It was my own fault and I should’ve planned better.

Conclusion

Overall I loved the idea of the Vegan diet, but found it really hard to stick to. I have a bit of an extremist personality and like to go all in when I set a goal with no wiggle room for error. For the rest of the challenge and up to this day, I’m still eating at least one vegan meal a day. In retrospect I should’ve probably started incorporating the meals more slowly – maybe just eliminating meat first then animal by-products. I’m definitely going to try this again. I loved the way it made me feel. My skin was clear and had a healthier glow to it, energy levels were super high and I felt lighter and more nimble on my runs. I have so much respect for people who’ve fully adapted the vegan diet – it’s definitely not easy.

1 Comment

  1. Good on you for trying Em!
    I’ve always felt that it’s never great to completely cut out entire food groups…especially all at once. Like you suggested, much easier to do it slowly, making sure your head and belly stay in sync. For myself, I like to stick with “everything in moderation”…I just enjoy good food too much…lol! xoxo

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