It’s been 6 months now since I have gone plant based. WILDDDD. I ironically made this decision while eating a steak (lol). I have now spent the last few months strictly eating mainly plants and whole foods and avoiding dairy and all meat products. So how do I feel? I know everyone’s journey is different but I wanted to share mine!
Why I Decided to Go Vegan
During the pandemic, I realized I was eating and drinking WAY more than normal (like many of us, right? STRESS!). I was still working out regularly so I didn’t really gain weight, but I certainly started to feel “off” or as I like to say, “fluffy”. I wanted a reset. I also had read the book How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger and I loved the discussion and evidence on how food can truly be medicine and the book focused a lot on how plant based diets can reverse some level of diseases. With COVID going on, I truly wanted to be at my best, health wise. I know you can find evidence/studies to conclude that pretty much any type of “diet” has benefits, however, for me, food has become my idea of fuel and nourishment, not something I want to restrict due to my experience with disordered eating. And the word diet just suckkkks. I also just hate labeling anything in general so I approached this as “what can I add to my diet to feel good”. I also met others who raved about how they felt switching to plant based diets (Hi Hal and Lauren!!) and figured I’d give it another shot (I tried back in 2015 for a little under a year). So I jumped in head first!
The First Few Months of Vegan Eating
Month 1-2: First off, what is VEGAN? It is a person who does not eat any food derived from animals and who typically does not use other animal products. As someone who is already a healthy eater, nothing scared me about going plant based/vegan other than how to get protein. I don’t like tofu or fake meat, so that wasn’t an option for me right away. I loaded up on beans, a vegan protein powder, lentils and hoped for the best. About 3 weeks in, I started to feel VERY dizzy and again, just off. I felt like I was floating, especially at night. I was also doing HIIT workouts 6x a week and I know that could’ve also been a factor and I knew I needed to eat more. I initially just bought veggies and beans and called it a meal (lol). I also started taking B12 vitamins with my Seed probiotic and Ritual Multivitamins to make up for any gaps in my diet. I just decided to keep on going and push through.
The Middle Phase
Month 3-5: After a few months, I started to feel AMAZING. I began to focus on eating whole foods, lots of protein, more carbs and started doing Pilates 4x a week mixed with Peloton and walks/runs instead of HIIT workouts. My skin felt great, my energy was up and I didn’t feel that same fluff or bloat that I used to. However, I noticed that eating out was more challenging when it came to options. Luckily, in Orange County, fast casual options were pretty easy to order from (some of my favs are Mendocino Farms and Vibe Organic Kitchen & Juice!). However, dating a carnivore made date night interesting (I always suggested a vegan spot lol). Instead of being a boring human ordering a plate of lettuce, I started to order fish options instead (with no dairy of course…plus eating a plate of lettuce left me HANGRY). I also LOVEEEE sushi and I realized quickly that fish doesn’t bother my stomach or negatively affect energy levels and the omega 3 fatty acids really made me feel good. I didn’t go vegan for animal rights/restriction (not that it isn’t important to me) so adding fish didn’t feel like “breaking a rule”, which is usually my fear when I commit to eating a certain way (way too hard on myself). But this time around, I am purely focused on my health and feeling good so I was proud of myself. Adding fish has made date nights more enjoyable for both of us and I don’t have to miss my sushi! Food should be fun and what you love after all!!
How I Feel After Eating Vegan for Six Months
Month 6: Now I currently feel pretty great! I don’t miss cooking meat and only really think about a steak when Robb takes me to a steakhouse and I order veggies lol. But all in all, this journey has allowed me to eat a lot more/new nourishing foods and feel lighter, energized and happy! I have loved cooking new things and adding new ingredients into my kitchen (current fav is tahini– so versatile and I use it to make healthier versions of salad dressings and sauces!!) Also, I went to my yearly physical, where my blood work numbers showed I was doing something different than the year prior and my doctor asked what I had been doing recently…he attributed my great numbers to my plant based diet! Crazy. (I am talking super low LDL cholesterol, high HDL cholesterol and very favorable numbers in my entire metabolic panel- health is friggin wealth). The key for me really was allowing myself to eat fish and not beating myself up about it for not following “the rules”. The older I get, the LESS I care about abiding by rigid standards I used to set for myself. Just live your life, have fun, judge less, love more- it’s much easier 🙂 Plus, I have thoroughly learned food can truly be medicine.
All in all, I have loved going plant based but it was obviously a journey. I share this because I was looking for a similar resource when I started. I know everyone has their own experiences, but if you’re thinking of changing something up, do it, but don’t limit your life because of it- be flexible. Do what makes YOU feel good. Will I continue this forever? Maybe. Do I miss cheese? ABSOLUTELY!! Like a lot…but one day at a time. If you have any questions, please reach out! Also, if you have a MUST try Vegan cheese, let me know. I miss Gouda!
DISCLAIMER: Please note I am not a registered dietician or doctor and this is purely my personal story based on my personal experience.