Plant-Based Diet: Benefits, Cravings, Meal Plans, etc…


Friends!

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:

Weight Loss 

I lost a noticeable amount of weight since switching to this diet. I also incorporated interval-training exercise every other day.

More Energy

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.

Better Mood

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.

Cravings-Alternative Snacking

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

Breakfast

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)

Snack

Any type of fruit/veggie with hummus dip

Lunch

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).

Snack

Healthy chips/nuts/popcorn/fruit

Dinner

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!)

Snack

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.

Consistency

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

Advertisements

My Health Journey: Weight Loss, Diet, Happiness


heya friends!

Today, I will be focusing on something a little different: my health journey. I didn’t want to make this a “How to Lose Weight” or “The Best Diet to Get Slimmer” post. This is essentially and simply how I became healthier, which happened to yield weight loss. I’ve always believed that a healthy body can come in all different shapes and sizes. This is for anyone who needs help taking that first step to health. Maybe this might even motivate anyone? I just thought it would be an interesting post to put on my little bloggie since my health journey is a part of me.

Freshman/Sophomore Year of College

Being away from my parents and having the freedom to be out as late as I wanted with my friends was one of the biggest changes that had happened to be when I started college. I was always a sheltered kid so I really took advantage of it. Funny enough, I didn’t use these late-nighters to drink and party. My friends and I would get the late night munchies and devour popcorn chicken, fries, burgers, sugary boba teas almost every. single. night. We would just walk around, chill at 24/7 fast food restaurants, and just hang out! Little did I know that I was actually gaining some weight. But it wasn’t my physical appearance that I noticed first, it was the way I was feeling. I was so sluggish and fatigued every day while walking to class. I would lose my breath so easily from walking up a little hill. I had acne sprinkled all over my face, chest, and back. I started getting  bad indigestion at least 3 to 4 times a week so I had to carry Tums around me with everywhere haha. I just didn’t feel good.

The Summer b/w Sophomore and Junior Year 

That summer I didn’t need to take summer school so I decided to focus on my health. How do I get rid of this constant fatigue? Why can’t these stubborn pimples disappear? Statistically speaking, I had gained 20 pounds and was at around 140 at a 5’3” height. So I wasn’t obese or huge, I was just chubby. Once again, it was not my appearance I really worried about, I was more annoyed about how I physically felt. So, I decided to change my lifestyle.

Exercise

I got a gym membership with my sister and we went to the gym every day for 3 months. We would skip weekends sometimes. At the gym, I would run on the treadmill for as long as I could at a speed I was comfortable with. I would stretch and use whatever weight machines I knew how to use. I didn’t do anything fancy but I was consistent. I would work out at least 5 times a week. Then again, I had an ample amount of time during that summer.

Diet

I cut down fast food and junk food to once a week. I was allowed one cheat day. On the other days, I only ate home-made food. I didn’t eliminate any particular food group from my diet, I just ate wholesome, fresh meals that either me or my mom prepared. I didn’t even keep track of calories, fat-intake, how many carbs I was having, etc…I just ate when I was hungry until I was satisfied. I used to eat until I was stuffed and my tummy was bulging. I learned to control that and stopped eating until I was content.

Sleep

I slept at around 10 pm each night and woke up anywhere between 7-8am which gave me a good 9 hours of sleep! This really helped me and was a major component of how I cleared my acne. I was also energetic in the morning and actually wanted to work out and get out of bed. Sleep is truly something we take for granted; our body heals and restores itself during this time so it’s so important to develop a healthy sleeping pattern.

Attitude

I stopped being lazy. I stopped complaining about not wanting to exercise and not wanting to eat the meal that was in front of me. In the beginning, all I did was whine. I wanted In N Out and McDonald’s soooo bad. Eating junk food really is an addiction. But then I realized that complaining was such a waste of time and energy! I could use that energy to do something positive.

The Results

I didn’t know exactly how much that summer changed me until I went back to college. All my friends told me I looked great and that I had changed! I honestly didn’t really notice what I looked like after because I was so busy trying to physically get better. I hadn’t weighed myself at all either so I finally decided to step on the scale. Turns out, I had shed the weight that I had gained and was back at a normal, healthy weight for my height! Importantly, I was feeling better. My acne literally disappeared. My indigestion issues went down to one or twice a month. I was able to run consistently for longer than one hour. I didn’t have that sluggish feeling throughout the day. The results were so positive and so worth it. I have a few pictures below just to compare.

75376_10151273746590896_753436450_n_Fotor_Fotor_Collage copy_Fotor75376_10151273746590896_753436450_n_Fotor_Fotor_Collage_Fotor

What now?

I am still continuing my health journey but I have never been happier with how I feel. I will never go back to eating copious amount of junk because it made me feel like shit haha. As of now, I still don’t know how much I weigh. It really is just a number. I focus more on strength training and circuit workouts. I mix that in with cardio as well. I still go to the gym around 4 times a week and it makes me feel great!

All in all, everybody is different. What worked for me, might not work for you. The story I shared with you is the first step that I took to becoming healthy. We should always strive to be our best and I am always going to be on my health journey. I hope this helps any peeps out there who need a little push or motivation to start working on their health. If I can do it, you sure can! ❤

 

xx | paige