Hey loves, here’s my journey so far and what’s happened since going cold turkey vegan.
I always thought of “vegan” like it was a dirty word!
How could anyone ever do that?!
Well, here I am to tell you me, yes me has! Drop the mic people!
Being vegan or I like to call it, plant-based, means you don’t eat meat or anything derived from an animal like eggs, dairy or honey.
This has been one of the most eye-opening two weeks I’ve ever lived. Seriously.
Keep reading for all the details, tips and challenges.
My Journey Towards Being Vegan
Growing up, my diet was based around a ton of meat, bread and cheese.
We really didn’t know any better and it’s what most people’s diets consume of.
About a year and a half ago, my brother started researching and playing around with different ways of eating. He tried it all. After he tested out many different ones (keto, paleo, vegetarian, etc) he landed on vegan being the best for him.
At the time, I just couldn’t see myself giving up meat OR queso. I mean, in Texas that is a staple!
Shortly after, my parents also transitioned to vegan, or I should say “plant-based”.
I’ll use vegan and plant-based interchangeably.
It was always something I wanted to do, but at the time I wasn’t ready for the commitment.
Fast-forward to a few months ago, I started really getting focused on my health and working out.
My schedule looked like: getting up at 5am before work to get a workout in, shower, eat breakfast, pack a lunch and get ready, all before heading to work.
I was doing this for about 2 months and feeling better, but that BIG life-altering change I was looking for wasn’t there.
Hey, it’s a ton of work and energy to wake up that early everyday before going into work.
And of course it was great for me, but how I felt internally wasn’t dramatically changed.
So I started getting kinda fed-up.
I hear it from everywhere that it’s 80% about what you put in your body and 20% about working out.
What I was putting in my body wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either.
If I was that dedicated to being my healthiest and seeing where I could get my body to, it just was stupid for me not to go all-in with my eating habits as well.
My word for 2020 was: health, but I’ve changed it yet again!
If you want to get great at anything in life, OR see results that is the one thing you must master.
But, yeah it’s hard.
Having what other people don’t have will never be EASY.
But, I digress…
So December 29th, 2019 I decided to go vegan.
Because why not? Why not try out something you never have before and then see if it’s for you.
…And it’s quite hard to put into words what it’s done for me and my body.
I Needed To Stop The Dairy
In high school I was having very bad sinus issues based on what I was eating.
It turned out that when I consumed dairy (raw milk was when this was the worst) my sinuses would be so stopped up I could barely breathe through my nose.
It was awful! I’d have venti vanilla bean frappuccinos from Starbucks and be so mad over the fact that I couldn’t breathe!
I finally got allergy tested and it turned out that my body was extremely sensitive to dairy.
No, I wasn’t lactose-intolerant, but it did a number on my body.
I had dark circles under my eyes because of my dairy intake.
Yet, I still ate cheese, because it’s cheese, it tastes glorious–even though I needed to definitely stop.
This was something that highly affected my body and how I felt, but I ignorantly ignored it.
We do this all the time. We continue to eat and drink all the things that are awful for our body.
Then we complain that we are tired all the time or have no energy.
Just take a look at what you’re eating.
According to the research done by Dr. Greger of Nutritionfacts.org women who consume dairy are 30% more likely to get breast cancer.
That’s a fact we need to be aware of.
Taking The Plunge: Going Vegan
I’ll first go into how I did it, what differences I saw, then the challenges and resources.
What My Eating Looks Like
So everyone will always ask, what in the heck do you eat?
If you do your research, grocery shop and have some basis on how to cook–then you got it!
This is my standard options for eating:
-Instant oatmeal with almond milk and a scoop of peanut butter with blueberries
-Avocado toast and banana
-PB&J sandwich, side salad and hummus with carrots
-Soup and salad
-Grain bowl with veggies and beans
-Hummus with carrots
-Nuts and fruit
-Veggie straws / chips / protein bar
It ranges from a lot of different things, but usually I’ll eat a little bit of everything:
-Grain bowl or wrap with falafel / tofu / beans and veggies
-Pasta with lots of veggies
-Potatoes with a protein sub and veggies
Before Bed Snack:
-Something frozen like veggie samosas, vegan egg rolls, or popcorn, nuts
A big tip is: I usually will make a big batch of soup or pasta on Sunday that will be my main entree, snack or side during the week when I’m too busy to make something.
If you need something fast too, Trader Joe’s has an amazing selection of vegan frozen foods like veggie bowls, meals with jackfruit as the “meat” portion.
I am not a huge fan of the plant-based meat alternatives. I tried the Beyond Meat Ground Beef and ended up throwing it away. 🙁
The texture and flavor was not for me, despite all the seasoning, garlic and onions I used to make it.
I’m still new to this though, I want to try the Impossible Meat as well.
With that being said, those should be looked at as a treat because they are very high in fat! It’s not something to be eating everyday.
I always make sure that I have enough vegan sauces etc like vegan pesto, butter, marinara, vegan mayo and sour cream. It makes cooking a lot easier!
→ A HUGE resource for me is: Dr. Greger from his Nutritionfacts.org site.
This site opened my eyes up to SO many things! He has amazing and informative videos on just about every topic that is ALL evidence based.
He also has a vegan cookbook and gives you a daily plan on what you should be eating, and how much of it everyday.
If you are vegan that means there are some nutrients you are missing out on, so it’s imperative that you take these supplements every day.
- Omegas (mine are derived from algae and not fish oil)
- B12 (I take an oral spray that tastes like strawberries, so good)
You can take a daily multivitamin, but that is up to you and your doctor’s recommendations.
Nowadays is the easiest time to be plant-based.
There’s so much substitutions for the foods that you crave or love.
Another brand that I rely on for cravings is Gardein.
They have everything from meatballs to chicken tenders that are entirely meatless.
The Differences I Feel Already
No, going plant-based wasn’t just to lose weight I wanted to FEEL good.
But, in just two weeks of doing it, I can tell so much of a difference.
My body is going back to the weight it should be at and I’m so happy.
I really struggled at the weight I was beforehand because I knew I wasn’t my healthiest.
I am sooo much less bloated–it’s amazing!
My stomach is so much smaller, I feel smaller and lighter. I just feel GOOD.
I believe women are beautiful at any weight.
Weight wasn’t the primary goal, but I sure do feel better.
Ever since getting on birth control two years ago, my mood has been crap.
It’s been an ongoing battle inside to revert back to myself pre-birth control.
It was really quite sad. I always struggled to be naturally happy or in a great mood.
I saw such a huge shift after getting on it, and it sucked.
BUT, all of that is gone now that I’m plant-based.
My mood is drastically better. I don’t have to fight to feel a way i’m not feeling naturally.
I’m so positive all the time and happy. Y’all this was such a life changer for me. So much energy and concern was always going into me trying to feel happy and be in a great mood.
It’s a total game changer.
Okay y’all. I cannot even tell you how much energy I have! I barely need coffee anymore. Now I just drink it because I love how it tastes.
I used to have so much mental brain fog. I couldn’t think clearly.
I felt drained, tired and struggling all the time–who wants to live like that?!?!
In about three days, I felt this huge wave of energy come.
So much to where the first week it was hard to sleep because my brain was going nonstop.
It’s settled down for sure, though. (Which is a great thing, haha.)
But comparing now to before I was plant-based is like night and day.
My body is functioning so much more optimally.
My nails are stronger and my lips aren’t ever dry.
I also struggle with having eczema and I’m very excited to see how being vegan affects it.
I’m showing up SO much better for my life!
In just these past two weeks being vegan has taught me so much about mindfulness and awareness of my body.
I feel so much more in-tune with my body and what it’s feeling.
Before being vegan, if there was food in front of me I’d eat and eat and have a really hard time controlling myself.
I’d always end up eating way more than I needed to and the food I was eating was usually bad.
It didn’t matter if I was hungry or not, I’d eat it.
Now, I’m so much more mindful about my relationship with my food.
I eat only when I’m hungry and I’m able to tell when I’m full and have had enough. I don’t overeat which is great because I’m usually around foods that aren’t vegan.
I eat until I’m happy and satisfied, whereas before it would be until I was stuffed and bloated.
I used to always have guilt with the things I ate.
Mostly because I would overeat and it would leave me feeling like crap.
It was something I struggled with. And I believe most people do as well.
Now, there’s no guilt with what I eat, how many snacks I have because I see food now as blessing my body… because it is. So the more I eat the better!
When you’re plant-based you have this overarching sense of how your daily life is now helping the planet compared to harming it when you ate meat.
You get this sense of pride that you’re doing this amazing thing not only for you, but also for the planet.
The livestock industry accounts for the #1 source of emissions to our planet, in front of transportation.
If you’re really interested in helping the planet, you should go plant-based.
Challenges and Resources of Going Vegan
You need to make sure you’re eating enough and that you’re eating the right foods.
I am definitely still learning, but having a source that you’re basing your change is essential.
I’m basing mine on Dr. Greger from his Nutritionfacts.org website and books.
There was one day where I really wasn’t eating enough and I started feeling sick.
That’s a no-go!
Now, I don’t make that mistake and I’m always snacking or knowing what I’ll eat next.
You definitely realize quickly that dairy is in almost everything! It makes shopping easier because your options are limited! Lol
It hasn’t been too hard eating out yet.
I’m usually able to pick a vegetarian meal and then have them not include any dairy.
I’ve been picking much more healthier places to eat out at too.
I’d say it gets easier the longer you are vegan. The first week was very challenging and everything was so new to me.
Don’t give up though!
My “why” is that I never want to feel how I felt when I was eating meat and dairy.
I’ve also extremely limited my drinking so overall I feel like a new person.
TMI Fact: Let’s get real here. You will be very gassy and the first couple of days you will need to be in the bathroom a lot as your body is cleansing itself. I’m glad I did it over holiday break–lol! Bananas and ginger tea can help any stomach ache you might have.
Some resources are all of the super informative Netflix documentaries. The Game Changers was my favorite, but Forks Over Knives and What The Health are great too.
Trader Joe’s is also my heaven. They have so many vegan options and alternatives.
To Sum It Up
Being plant-based is all about having grace with yourself and taking appreciation in simplicity.
No not every meal will be off the charts. Some days I eat literally rice and beans. But after I feel so good.
When you come to terms with that and enjoy the process then that’s when it becomes so fun.
It’s all about your mindset. Enjoy the process and learning what you are.
You can do it!
But it is a transition. It’s recommended not to go cold turkey, but that was the only way I knew I would stick to it.
It’s also been so fun getting experimental in the kitchen and thinking of all the ways I can make my favorite foods vegan.
I have had a little dairy here and there, but no solid meat. What’s important is that you don’t beat yourself up about it.
You control what you can control!
Why did I go vegan? So many reasons!
-Prevent diseases that kill so many Americans
-Healthier gut and immune system
-SO much better for our planet
-Help by cutting greenhouse gas emissions
-Reducing animal cruelty
-Leaving less of a carbon footprint by not eating meat, dairy and eggs
-Mental clarity and insane boost in energy
-Help my eczema
-Mindfulness and positivity
The benefits outweigh everything.
I used to think being vegan was crazy or so restricting, but now I see it in a whole new light.
I can’t say I’m never going to eat meat again because I know I will at some point.
It’s not about what you eat on holidays, it’s about what you eat all the days in between that affect your health.
You don’t eat vegan for other people, you do it for just YOU.
It’s possible and I know you got it!
Would you try this? Are you vegan? What else would you like to know?
Let me know in the comments! Thank you for reading!
Disclaimer: Please consult your doctor before making changes. This content is for informational purposes only. It should not substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.