I made it through the 21 day vegan challenge with flying colors! Five pounds lighter, tummy a bit deflated but quite regular and a glowing complexion… I’d say the perks of the vegan lifestyle are Ah-Mazing! I feel light and much more energetic. Over the past 21 days I have taken an interest not just in preparing healthy meals, but creating fresh new dishes that require me to step my game up in the kitchen. And believe it or not, every recipe I tried came out perfectly and was just as delectable as I’d hoped it would be! Well, except a terrible attempt at a so-called “easy” vegan applesauce bread recipe. It was literally a hot mess that weighed 10 pounds and never, ever (even after 60+ minutes of baking) came close to baking all the way through… I’m assuming you can’t use coconut, almond and whole wheat pastry flour interchangeably… I’ll check into that another time.
My 21 day vegan challenge experience did not go without it’s own difficulties. As the challenge progressed, I realized that I’d been “rewarding” myself for steering clear of meat and dairy with vegan treats like cookies, bars and chips. I had gotten away from snacking on cookies and chips (even the healthy, organic, au natural ones…) but I guess to congratulate myself for avoiding the chicken and eggs, I’d have a vegan brownie. I even purchased at least TWO soy pumpkin lattes… First of all, I know soy and my stomach do NOT get along. It causes insta-bloat as soon as it hits my lips. I learned this the first time I went vegan for 3 months and gained weight because of the soy based meat-free products… Second of all, I’d weaned myself off of mocha-frape-lattes (even the “skinny” versions), so to suddenly have to have 2 in 21 days was out of control.
This helped me to realize that as amazing as I felt, I think it’s best for me to avoid anything that’s too restrictive. So I have chosen to move forward with a plant based diet. The vast majority of what I consume will be fruits, vegetables, legumes and such, but sometimes I will enjoy a slice of sweet potato pie or (dare I say it) maybe even a lemon pepper wing. This challenge helped me to realize that my goal isn’t deprivation. Instead I’m choosing to focus on eating clean (as minimally processed as possible), be cognizant of my portions and why I’m eating and pay very close attention to what my body is telling me based on how it reacts to the fuel (food) I put in it.
As for my plant based meal plan for the week, here’s what I’m cooking up:
*Sidenote: I am so grateful for the amazing food bloggers out there! The Oatmeal Preserve Cookies are from Oh She Glows (I LOVE her friggin blog!) made with fig and pear preserves. I found this INCREDIBLE black bean sausage recipe (that is better than any frozen soy substitutes I’ve had) on The Vegan Guinea Pig. And I adapted this Butter Bean Soup recipie from Tori Avey and tweaked it based on what I had available and what I had a taste for. With blogs like these, one can never run out of amazing food to try. There is absolutely no excuse for a dull meal.