I’ve been eating vegan for one week. The first day was the hardest, by far, as it took some work to get into the right frame of mind to take on this challenge. It was important to me that this not be a period of voluntary deprivation or vegan martyrdom, but a chance to reconnect with real food and my body’s reaction to intense self-care. Once the shopping and meal planning was done, things got much easier. I find this to be true even when I’m not on a special eating plan (I abhor the word diet–this is a whole foods eating plan). If I take the time to write up a simple menu with 4 or 5 meals and do the shopping for those meals, week nights are much easier.
So, how do I feel after eating vegan foods for one week? I actually feel pretty great. Some of my long-lost energy* is back, and I am enjoying this new breathing room in my day. Eating this way has me looking for other opportunities to improve my daily life ,and having the energy to do more of what I want to do in a given day has me feeling a renewed sense of enthusiasm. There has been some spring cleaning and redecorating, a trunk-load of stuff dropped off at Goodwill, I started a new knitting project and reorganized my craft supplies. It has been good.
I feel a bit lighter physically as well, although I couldn’t say if I’ve lost any weight or not as we don’t own a scale. I have always suspected that meat was difficult for me to digest, and often felt sluggish for a while after eating red meat in particular. Without getting too colorful, let me just suggest that eating an almost entirely plant-based diet really keeps things moving along.
There have been some tough moments, particularly in the afternoon when the hungries hit. A person can only eat so many smoothies and handfuls of nuts before they go a little nuts, too! So this week I’m focusing on cooking with more proteins and fixing healthy snacks and baked goods to have around for in between meals.
I thought I would miss things like cheese and bacon a lot. The fact is, when you’re concentrating on all the good, fresh foods you get to eat, you don’t miss the things you’re cutting out nearly as much. The hardest moments were when we ate out and when I realized I couldn’t eat most prepared desserts. Fortunately, I love to bake and we live in a very veg/vegan friendly town, so I have been able to enjoy great food by seeking out new restaurants and taking the time to look at labels more consciously.
*Breastfeeding side-note: I know of a lot of women who have cut dairy from their diet out of concern for their nursling’s reaction, be it allergies, reflux, or other sensitivities. PB eats yogurt and cheese and doesn’t seem to have an intolerance to cow’s milk. She has been sleeping great this week and seems to have more energy, too. I can’t help but notice the correlation that as I eat and feel better, so does she. I’m not saying all nursing mama’s need to be vegan, but it never hurts to be reminded that we need to eat good food, drink plenty of water, exercise, and rest as much as possible!