If I could use one word to sum up this week it would be: manic. I could also describe it as frantic, busy, overloaded, and stressful. Work was particularly challenging this week, so I did not get to sit at my keyboard and reflect too deeply about this health-journey I have embarked on. My diet, fortunately, was the least of my worries. I also had some minor health issues (not diet-related) that I needed to iron out, so I have been away from the Blogosphere. Fear not, my dear readers! I have not forgotten about you or my promise to keep a consistent diary of my plant-based, whole foods diet experience and the impact it has/is having on my overall health and strength.
I am pleased to report that after Day 2, the diet plan became incredibly easy to follow. I have my meal plan on my fridge as a friendly reminder to consume precisely 3 meals and 2 snacks, which consist of vegan whole foods. The meal plan takes away from the mental energy of figuring out calories and macro-nutrient ratios. This has freed up my mind to focus on other, more important matters and forced me to find things to do instead of mindlessly eating junk food–a bad habit I developed over the winter. Having homemade meals ready to go in my cooler has made me a more efficient worker and frees up time I would have spent looking for a place to get a meal. I also know exactly what is in my food and that it’s going to give me the energy I need to work long shifts.
By Day 3, I discovered I do not like to eat oats in the summer. Oats to me are a comforting, warming food. When I am working outside for the majority of the day in +24C, I do not wish to fill my stomach with warming foods–macros be damned. I have opted instead to have a green smoothie bowl every morning, because it’s the only breakfast I can tolerate and it’s sweet enough to satisfy my sugar cravings. I know it’s not perfectly in line with “The Plan”, but it satisfies me and keeps me on track. That’s the point of this experiment, is it not? As long as I’m eating vegan, whole foods that meet the macro-nutrient profile I was given, I am happy, the animals are happy, and (hopefully) my coaches are happy.
Lifting the heavy things
This blog is not solely about food. Fitness is a big part of a healthy lifestyle and weightlifting is one of my obsessions. I have 3 Olympic lifting training sessions per week that include: snatches, cleans, military presses, chin ups, and many, MANY squats. Day 4 was a snatch-focused training day this week. (Go on. Giggle. Get it out of your system now people.) To me, this was the test. I wanted to know whether I would feel just as strong or stronger during my lifting sessions. I am happy to report that I felt awesome. My technique is steadily improving, my overall strength is increasing, and I can see small changes in my physique, including more definition in my arms and legs. The fat around my midsection, predictably, is stubborn, so I don’t expect to see changes there until probably week 4 or 5. Unrelated to aesthetics, my recovery is much quicker and I don’t require as much sleep as I used to. My only concern is that now it seems I cannot seem to sleep in longer than 05.00. While this is great for getting tasks done while there aren’t many people around, or even conscious, it does not help me get sufficient rest and relaxation. I cherish my time off when I get it.
Back to food…
As for the bowl situation, it seems that I have not deviated from eating the majority of my meals out of bowls. Avocado & tomato on toast seems to be the one meal I have on a plate. I could sing praises about this meal. I do sing praises about this meal. Then I add Marmite to the avocado on toast and it is perfection. Honestly, if you haven’t tried it, I suggest you do. Please keep in mind that my taste buds may be warped and it’s not quite as good as I make it out to be. I encourage you to try it…but keep my caveat in mind.
You might have noticed that I’m feeling more comfortable around the word “vegan”. This has been a recent development, thanks to some encouragement to speak openly about veganism without fearing its potentially negative connotations. I am not about to open up the ethical/environmental/health debate without some careful consideration, but I’m not going to avoid a word because of some stigma surrounding it. I’m also aware that being vegan and eating a plant-based diet are not synonymous, and that treating them as such would be disingenuous and unfair. I am still waffling between calling this 31-day challenge a “vegan” challenge or a “plant-based” one. I feel the former would involve a deeper lifestyle change and more considerations on the ethical consequences of my actions. What are your thoughts? I’m curious to know. Are there any points I should cover in greater detail? Leave your thoughts below.
Guilty admission: I did make myself a single-serving vegan chocolate cake this evening. It kept me from going completely off the rails and eating the entire bar of milk (GASP) chocolate I have in the cupboard. I regret nothing. *ahem* I got the recipe from Chocolate-Covered Katie‘s website, which I highly recommend if you’re looking for healthy vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free dessert recipes. 🙂
Until next time…