I’m nearing the halfway mark in my 21 day Vegan challenge. For 21 Days, I’ve committed to a plant-based diet filled with nutrient dense whole foods. Considering my meal plans here lately have gotten a bit stale and redundant (literally ground turkey, chicken and oatmeal… everyday…), I thought what better way to liven up the kitchen (and my lunch bag).
This isn’t my first tango with the turnips. I tried an herbivore lifestyle a couple of years ago and managed to stick with a vegan diet for about 3 months. Disappointed by minimal weight loss (only 5lbs), I figured my body just reacts better to a high protein diet (…I completely overlooked the fact that just because vegetable fried rice, french fries, and dairy free cookies are all vegan, they’re also rich with calories and fat and eating too much of them will always result in a stagnant scale). Luckily I’ve learned a thing or two about better nutrition and since then I’ve gained a bit of discipline.
I can’t say that I won’t ever eat animal products again, but I do see what the vegan hype is about. It feels like my body is working more effectively and is more efficient at processing and sustaining energy. In other words, I feel fantastic. So while I can’t speak to my ability to forever say goodbye to lemon pepper wings, I am confident that I’ll be successful with the remainder of the challenge and I may even stretch it out for the rest of the year.
If you are looking to try the herbivore life, here are three helpful tips:
- PLAN TO WIN: You’ve heard the saying “fail to plan and plan to fail.” In leading a vegan lifestyle this couldn’t be more true. Fast food and quick pre-cooked options aren’t created with vegans in mind (for the most part) so eating out on the run can be tricky. Avoid the pressure and take control over your success by following a meal prep routine and packing at least breakfast and lunch. This does mean that you’ll have to get in the kitchen or shell out cash to purchase a meal delivery service. I know my way around the kitchen and I enjoy cooking, so meal prep is time I actually look forward to. Plus it sets me up to be successful in nailing my meal plan.
- DO YOUR HOMEWORK: Thanks to the many blogs and other vegan resources available, it is easier than ever to access tons of recipes, vegs-piration and research about the benefits and logistics of living a vegan life. Don’t be afraid to dive into these resources and take the information that you need and apply it to your vegan journey in a way that makes sense and works for you. Need to find out what the hell a “flax egg” is and how it works? Look it up. When you know how it works you’re more likely to apply what you know. Before you know it, you’ll be a regular vegan superhero in the kitchen with a well stocked pantry and killer meals.
- BE ALL IN: Over the years, I’ve convinced myself that carbs are the devil. When playing the diet game, I always saw the scale drop when doing a low carb/ high protein combination (granted it all came rushing back mere weeks after I resumed my normal eating habits…). But a healthy vegan diet makes room for complex carbs in order to feel satiated, regular and craving-free. This challenge is forcing me to incorporate more complex, plant based carbs into my diet while still seeing positive results on the scale (in my first week I was down 2lbs). AND there has been no calorie counting involved. I just sick with appropriate portions, prepare tasty clean food and be conscious about what I consume. Be all in and embrace the lifestyle for however long you choose to. Give it an honest try and let how great your body feels speak for itself.