Good evening, all. I’ve made it past the halfway point of this 30 day challenge. Strangely, this has been the easiest challenge I’ve taken on in the past few years. Changing my diet to one that is entirely plant based has been cost effective, easy and sustainable. I’m down 5 pounds (2.3 kg) and have probably lowered my body fat percentage as well, while increasing(!) my strength gains. At certain points in the past week, I have wanted to start stress eating and indulge by eating a mountain of milk chocolate–but I recognized the thought patterns and allowed them to subside naturally. When I took a moment to breathe and reached for a banana or a Clif granola bar instead, the cravings ceased. I’m finally beginning to untangle the emotional from the functional aspects of food and I feel this is a positive step in the right direction. I don’t know if I will revert to eating meat after these 30 days are up–I feel very happy and healthy with the dietary choices I’m making right now. The only inconveniences I have faced so far have been social…and that’s an important issue to address.
I have received heaps of support from many people I have told about this challenge and questioning looks and/or critiques from others. Some are completely understanding about my dietary journey and think that it’s a noble thing to do (thank you). Others think it’s an entirely foolish decision and that I should really watch my health/iron intake/protein intake/B-vitamin intake/yadda yadda yadda. While I know that their opinions are coming from a good place, I do get slightly irritated when people pelt unsolicited advice or concern my way. I would have not embarked on this journey ill-prepared or without doing ample research first. In addition, I had contacted licensed nutritionists with scientific backgrounds for nutritional advice and additional resources to help me along–weeks before starting the 30 day challenge. I also made a pact with myself that if I felt as if I was getting ill, weak or nutrient deficient in any way, I would seek medical help and discontinue the experiment immediately. However, this is not the case. For argument’s sake, it might be beneficial to get a full check-up afterward just to see whether I am completely healthy (whatever that means).
There are far more positives that have come from the past few weeks than negatives. I feel more at peace. I’m discovering more about my body and I’m gaining a much healthier relationship with food than ever before. I have no desire to binge eat or reach for animal proteins, when I could reach for Vega pea protein powder, beans, peanut butter or oatmeal instead. I ALWAYS feel satisfied after a meal and I don’t get the 15.00 sluggishness that I used to. It is really hard to overeat after filling up on fibrous, whole foods, so I don’t feel overstuffed. I have saved oodles of money because I make 95% of my meals. Best of all, no animals, save for a few insects hidden in the lettuce leaves, were harmed in the making of my meals. Woo!
Now that I have assuaged the fears of the detractors and pointed out some of the positives, I feel it’s necessary to point out some of the negatives to maintain a balanced perspective. So, what are the negatives? For ease, I will compile a short list:
- Awkward social encounters. Having to whip out the V-word. Vegan. Yes, I have said it now. A few times. More often than I wanted to. I have been out with people and had to ask whether something was vegan or not. Most times, it was easy to find a veg-friendly substitute of whatever it was, but the eye rolling I received was damn near audible. I think a lot of people feel that vegans are self-righteous, demanding, entitled or feel deserving of special treatment, but that’s simply untrue. At least it’s untrue for any vegans/plant-based eaters that I have met. Generally, veg-people are pretty respectful, friendly and understanding if you treat them the same way. Being kind and courteous goes a long way when encountering anyone with a different lifestyle than your own. Be a good human being. Don’t be a bad human being. …that applies to most social situations.
- Tooty fruits. Beans are delicious and great at the mastication level of the digestion process, but *ahem* they produce interesting sounds and smells later on. I don’t really know how to combat this problem effectively. Open to suggestions though.
- Being an alien. Sometimes, being a vegan is weird. I don’t know any other vegetarians/vegans who live near me so it’s a lonely existence. It would be nice to have someone else to talk to about the funny/interesting/frustrating challenges that come along with being green. Kermit was right. It’s not easy being green.
- CHOCOLATE. I still have a bar of Norwegian milk chocolate sitting in my cupboard and it calls to me every day. Bar none (no pun intended), it is the best chocolate I’ve ever had. It has been a rough existence without Melkesjokolade. *single tear*
I’m lucky enough that veg-friendly restaurants and vegan substitutes (not that I eat many of those) are easy to come by where I live, so that hasn’t been an issue for me. Neither has been pretending to be a chef and preparing all my meals. Actually, it has been rather enjoyable! I’ve graduated to using food processors, larger knives and cutting boards. Impressive, I know. I feel pretty privileged to live in an area where this lifestyle isn’t completely foreign. Just weird. Then again, I’m weird and socially awkward to begin with, so not much has changed aside from ceasing to consume animal products completely. I’ve also developed an increased and acute awareness of how many foods and goods contain animal products.
Whew! If you’ve made it this far down, thank you for continuing to pay attention to my ramblings. The support is welcome and very much appreciated. I know my blogging is inconsistent, so I love that you have been patient enough to wait for my post and taken the time out of your busy schedule to read it. Many, many thank yous.
Next post will be a lot more weightlifting focused, so tune in if you’re interested in hearing about me lifting the heavy things.
Much love to you all. And remember…
Eat your greens! xx
For your viewing pleasure…vegan food porn.
Oooh yeah. Raw. Vegan. Chocolate. Cake.
Would eat again.