I have had a love-hate relationship with the way I have been eating for the past 24 (almost 25!) years of my life. I knew what I was putting into my body but I honestly didn’t care, even though the consequences were quite clear. Before jumping into this, let’s address something.
I am not forcing anyone to change their diet.
What you choose to put in your body is your decision only. This post is simply for sharing purposes and to help/educate anyone who is considering a plant-based diet.
Here are some of the benefits I experienced when I switched to a plant-based diet:
I lost a noticeable amount of weight since switching to this diet. I also incorporated interval-training exercise every other day.
This is something I was not too sure of. I didn’t think I would feel more energetic but that heavy, sleepy feeling I usually got after lunch basically disappeared.
Decrease in Period Symptoms
Noticeable decrease in bloating/swelling around the stomach area and my cramps were very minimal.
Another aspect I didn’t think would happen to me. I don’t feel as grumpy or moody as I used to, especially after eating a heavy meal. It’s true what they say: you are what you eat. 🙂
There are two types of vegans: 1. the healthy ones 2. the unhealthy ones. You can be a vegan and still munch on potato chips, fries, Oreos (yes, they are vegan), etc…If you are considering this diet, educating yourself and making sure you receive all the nutrients your body wants is very important. I highly recommend this book: How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger. Extremely informative and it is all based on evidence/facts/research. No bias for the poor animals being slaughtered (although it’s an amazing benefit), just factual evidence that a plant-based diet is indeed a healthy, wholesome diet.
How to Begin
Like I said, research. Read about it first! You’ll be amazed on how much you can learn about how the body works. I borrowed books from the library, followed/read blogs, perused through articles online, etc… Some people choose the vegan diet for medical purposes, physical purposes, or even mental purposes. Whatever your purpose may be, make sure to take the healthy route. You’re body will thank you.
Get Rid of Temptations
I highly recommend doing a good kitchen fridge/cabinet cleaning when starting. Toss out anything that basically has animal by-products. In doing this, you are forcing your body to eat alternative (more healthy) foods when you do get hungry. Go the extra mile and get rid of foods that may not have animals by-products, but are still not good for you like chips, candy, etc…
Be Aware-Be Positive
Be aware that you will be cooking a lot more and differently in the kitchen. Obviously you can still go out to eat; there are many restaurants that can give you vegan options or have an entire menu revolved around plants. Although they are healthier than McDonald’s, even these types of restaurants still add a crazy amount of sugar and sodium into your so-called “healthy” vegan meals. I have looked at the nutrition facts for Urban Plates, Lyfe Kitchen, Veggie Grill, etc.. and it really is shocking. That doesn’t mean you have to avoid eating out altogether; just laying out all the facts haha 🙂
Be positive. Understand that you will have mad cravings for some crispy bacon or that juicy hamburger from In N’ Out. It won’t be easy that’s why I suggest easing your way into it. Revolve a plant-based diet for only three days a week, then transition slowly to four days, five, and so on. Most people fail after trying to get into it cold turkey. That’s actually what I did but I was already so prepared and I was not consuming much animal by-products to begin with.
This one was the hardest.
For savory snacking alternatives, try:
plantain chips/veggie root chips/roasted chickpeas/flaxseed chips/assortment of nuts/popcorn (without butter obv.)
For sweet snacking alternatives, try:
dates/fruits (berries, grapes, bananas)/dark chocolate (check ingredients first)
For snacks-that-fill-you-up, try:
Almond or peanut butter with fruits or veggies/hummus dip/all-natural bars/oatmeal loaded with fruits, nuts, spices
BIG TIP: not having any accessible junk food/animal-based food in the house in general, forces you to snack on other things. Just don’t buy it and you won’t eat it.
I can go on and on and on…but that is for you to discover 🙂
Meal Plans: What I Eat in a Day
Option 1: Toast with avocado spread, sprinkled with garlic salt&pepper/side of oatmeal loaded with blueberries, bananas, cinnamon, and honey.
Option 2: All natural granola with almond milk/side of mixed berries (or smoothie)
Any type of fruit/veggie with hummus dip
Option 1: Brown/wild rice, black beans, sweet potato with onion, seasoned kale and broccoli/side of sliced avocado.
Option 2: Quinoa, fried/baked tofu, side of mixed veggies (bokchoy, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, green beans).
Option 1: Tofu scramble: firm tofu, soy sauce, variety of veg, nutritional yeast/side of steamed carrots/cabbage
Option 2: Vegan tacos: wheat tortilla, seasoned tofu, lettuce, pico de gallo, onions, cilantro, beans, corn, etc…(One of my favs!)
A green smoothie/fruits
Obviously, I change up what I eat quite often. These are only two or three days worth of meals in a week. I also tend to snack a lot more than three times throughout the day. I eat almost every 2 hours, but everyone is different when it comes to metabolism.
Once you start getting into the routine of cooking, packing, learning, and trying new foods, you will start to notice how great you feel. Everyone has to go through those difficult first few weeks. The key is to stay consistent. Don’t slow down! Once you feel comfortable, start exploring new types of grains, vegetables, fruits, etc…I’m definitely in that stage at the moment. It can get boring eating quinoa and brown rice all the time; try spelt, buckwheat, wild rice, etc..
I am already a very skeptical person. I knew eating well was good for your body but I didn’t think that this diet would have such a positive impact in my life. Many people associate “vegans” as preachy, know-it-alls, annoying. Not all of them are, and they shouldn’t be. Who are you to tell someone what to eat and how to eat it? Respect each other.
For anyone who is curious about a plant-based diet, I hope this post was just the beginning of your journey. I guarantee that your body will thank you in ways that you never knew. Good luck friends.
xx | paige