If you read my last blog post Benefits of Veganism, then you know all about the potential health benefits of adopting a vegan lifestyle. I did this experiment because I love challenging my body in different ways to find what works for me and what makes me feel my very best. If I am naturally able to alter the way I feel, I will do whatever I can to feel good. So, with that being said, let’s get into my thoughts on this process.
If we are being honest, not a whole lot has changed. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t slightly disappointed, but I owe it to the fact that I already prioritize my health by fueling it with really good foods, moving my body, freeing my mind, and doing things that make me feel good inside and out everyday. There are several takeaways I had from this experience and some myths that we should discuss.
It is not more expensive. My boyfriend and I both were vegan for this duration and we spent the same at the grocery store. We typically spend $80 every week on groceries, but we don’t go out to eat so that’s really not much at all to feed two people. You know what’s expensive? Meat! Those are always the most expensive things in our cart.
I had much more variety in my diet. If you follow along on my Instagram (@fit.bymandi), then you know I eat a lot of the same things day in and day out. Going vegan forced me to change up my diet more; I spent a lot of time in the grocery store picking out loads of cool vegan proteins to try out and I really enjoyed trying new things.
I relied more on protein powder. I had 2 protein shakes of some sort every single day. This isn’t necessarily bad, but often I really needed more protein and the only pure protein thing I had was protein powder when I was craving something savory instead. Shop my favorite vegan protein powder here.
I felt amazing in the gym. I felt strong and energized in every lift. I am listening to my body way more as far as needing rest, stretching, and my split so that could have contributed to this as well, but I’ve been feeling so good!
I miss chocolate and protein bars. A lot of dark chocolate are vegan, but most chocolates contain milk which is a no-no. Most protein bars have chocolate, not to mention whey which is also dairy *sigh*.
A lot of vegan foods contain soy. I don’t have an intolerance to soy, but I know a lot of people do, so I can see how it might be difficult if you’re intolerant to it.
I really like dairy free yogurt. OH MAN, dairy free yogurt tastes so much better than real yogurt. I’ll never go back to actual yogurt. It’s a bit more expensive, but super worth it.
I found snacking more difficult. I haven’t found very many high protein on-the-go-friendly snacks. Having a desk job, I do tend to snack a lot, so I would need to find.
Protein consumption was more difficult. It was a challenge for me to consume 120g of protein a day, when I typically reach 160g with no problem. This definitely plays into finding more high-protein vegan snacks. It’s not hard to get plenty of protein with a vegan diet for most because, I mean, don’t get me wrong, 120g of protein is a lot for the average person.
It’s much easier to cook. Let’s be honest, raw meats are gross. They contaminate your cutting board, knife, and anything else it touches. Meat also takes a long time to cook and you need to be sure it’s fully cooked to avoid any sort of illnesses. Vegan protein sources such as tofu and tempeh are ready to be eaten straight from the package or can be thrown into a pan to heat up and BOOM dinner is served.
I craved meat. This is super unlike me and highly unexpected; I have never been a huge meat person so this came as a surprise. I actually craved meats, like a giant venison steak or chicken breast. After some research, I found it might be because I wasn’t getting enough vitamin B12.
Why didn’t I experience much difference?
I already eat mostly whole foods. I think that switching from a normal diet to veganism for someone who doesn’t typically eat healthy would cause a world of difference in energy levels and the way you feel in general.
I take care of my skin with an amazing skincare line so I didn’t notice any difference in that. Check out FRÉ Skincare (code FITMANDI).
I have a 65% plant-based diet already. I use almond milk, eat lots of tempeh, loads of vegetables, and really only eat fish and chicken breast.
So what’s my plan?
I am going to minimize my dairy consumption. I’m slightly intolerant to it, and switching to a dairy-free yogurt has definitely caused a difference in my gut. I only drink almond milk, never use butter, and have found a nice cream cheese alternative. The only dairy I will eat moving forward is feta cheese.
I am going to continue to eat 80% plant-based because I genuinely enjoy all the vegan foods I’ve tried, but when I crave a chicken breast, I am going to eat a damn chicken breast. The meat that I am going to introduce back into my diet will be grass-fed, ethically sourced meat; I won’t just go for whatever is cheapest anymore. I plan to introduce eggs, whey, and chocolate back into my diet as well.
If my body and mind enjoys a type of food, I don’t really see a reason to restrict myself; I feel like that would cause food issues for me and I am, and always will be, all about fueling my body and mind to feel its best.