I’m all about living my best life, it’s probably why I was chosen as an Oprah Magazine Ambassador gah! I love Oprah, anyhoo after my son sat me down to watch the popular documentary Game Changers on Netflix about Veganism I was immediately intrigued. Pair that with the email I received from Today Show about Veganuary and BAM! I was sold! I had to give it a go.
I went Vegan for a month- you’ll never believe the results!
For you to better understand my reasons for going vegan let me digress. As you might know, I suffer from genetic high cholesterol and my medical doctor would prefer I took statin medications. However, I am one of those people who avoid western medicine unless it is absolutely necessary so I hired a nutritionist (she works via video-conference so you can hire her too, see here and let Laura know I sent you). Together we have managed my high-cholesterol to a number my medical doctor is okay with, however, I am always looking to get that number even lower.
In the Game Changers documentary, they showed a plant-based diet dramatically reducing cholesterol levels for members at a Fire Station who ate a vegan diet for just one week. It got me thinking, why not give this whole Veganuary thing a try? If one-week helped the Firefighters I wonder what a whole month could do.
I am also curious about living a more sustainable lifestyle and I have learned that my shopping and eating habits are actually hugely related to protecting our natural resources. For example, did you know that *10% of the total CO2 emissions caused by the fashion industry (aviation is responsible for 2.5%).? Or that *Meat consumption is one of the biggest causes of ever-growing CO2 emissions and climate change?
I figured if a vegan diet could improve my health and help save the planet it was worth a shot, but did it live up to its hype? Read on to find out.
What is Vegan
Vegan is a style of eating that omits all animal products including meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs and even honey.
Vegans consume plenty of vegetables, fruits, tofu, tempeh, whole grains, fruits, beans, lentils, seeds, and nuts.
Some studies show that a vegan diet can help aid weight loss, boost psychological wellness, and improve overall health. Aside from health benefits, some choose to go vegan for concerns about animal welfare and the environment.
Studies have found a vegan diet could lead to weight loss, boost psychological well-being and potentially improve most people’s health. Many vegans also follow the regimen because of concerns about animal welfare and the environment.
My Vegan(ish) Diet
Before you begin any diet it is important to consult with your medical doctor. So, I spoke with both my medical doctor and my nutritionist. They decided that while it would be safe to go mostly vegan (95%) they felt better if I continued incorporating wild-caught Alaskan salmon once a week and that I was still eating Greek yogurt 2-3 times a week since my cholesterol numbers had lowered significantly with these additions to my previous diet.
I obliged which is why I refer to my diet as vegan(ish).
Here is Exactly What I Ate
- Oatmeal mixed with ground flax seeds, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, banana, blueberries, and raw walnuts.
- Amy’s Tofu Scramble
- Amy’s Tofu Scramble Gluten-Free Breakfast Wrap
- Clean Simple Eats Chocolate Protein Shake, banana, raw nuts
- Tofu Scramble with peppers and onions
- Vegan Bagel with Tofutti “Cream Cheese”
- Clean Simple Eats Vegan Chocolate Protein Powder mixed with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and ice. Plus, a tbsp of powdered peanut butter
- Fresh fruit
- Veggies and Hummus
- Raw nuts
- Vega Chocolate Caramel Protein Bars
- PB and Jelly Bob’s Better Bars
- GoMacro Bars
- I relied pretty heavily on recipes from Minimalist Baker (I own this cookbook of hers). Some of my favorites (that became family favorites were) Vegan Lasagna, Tofu Tostadas, Lentil Marinara, Vegan Enchiladas, and Baked Crispy Peanut-Glazed Tofu
- I also searched for plant-based recipes on Pinterest
- Tips- Trader Joe’s has a ton of vegan options that are delicious. I loved their Vegan Chicken Tenders, Vegan Tikka Masala, and Extra-Firm High-Protein Tofu which I used as a base for all of my tofu recipes.
- Vegan Soups
- Vegan Salads
- Trader Joe’s Chocolate Cherry Chip Soy Ice Cream’
- Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Hu Chocolate Bars
- Water- at least 60 oz per day per my nutritionist
- Unsweetened Tea
- Nut Milk
Results- they were pretty FANTASTIC!!!
- I lost 5 lbs without trying!
- My energy level and focus both increased.
- I felt lighter after meals.
- My digestion was fantastic! I have suffered from IBS symptoms in the past.
- I am waiting to get my blood test results back, I will update them as soon as I can
- I slept better.
- I saved money. A block of tofu only costs $2-5, compare that with your animal proteins and you can see how the savings can add up.
- My family started eating more plant-based meals too!
Takeaways from going Vegan(ish) for a month
Going vegan(ish) was much easier than I had anticipated and after having some stellar responses from my body I plan to incorporate more plant-based meals in my regular diet and my family’s as well. However, I did find that travel made sticking to my vegan(ish) diet incredibly difficult, honestly nearly impossible. In fact, on our trip to Savannah, I relied heavily on meal replacement shakes and bars and my digestion was awful. I was incredibly bloated and in pain.
I also needed to monitor my nutrient intake under the care of my nutritionist so that we could supplement where and when it was needed. Vegans are often short in Vitamin B12 (only available naturally in animal sources), Vitamin D, long-chain omega-3’s, iodine, iron, calcium, zinc and more so you need to be careful and seek professional advice before starting a vegan diet.
Given the amount we travel, I plan to move forward with a vegan(ish) diet that includes maintaining a plant-based diet most of the time, I will continue to incorporate my salmon and Greek yogurt, and I will also add-in high-quality meat, poultry, and fish from Omaha Steaks occasionally.
As for my family, they will remain meat-eaters but we will swap out a few meals a week with a plant-based option in order to up their vegetable intake, save cash (more for travel), and give me a break from having to cook multiple meals every night- ha!
Simple Steps YOU Can Take to Incorporate More Plant-Based Meals Into Your Diet
Remember to always check with your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise routines.
Start with Meatless Mondays
Exactly like it sounds you go Vegan on Mondays. This may mean you go entirely vegan on Mondays or you could choose to just serve a meatless dinner every Monday. You do you!
Go Plant-Based Before 6 pm
Try eating vegan for breakfast, snacks, and lunch but then incorporate meat, fish, poultry, eggs etc… during dinner.
Eat Vegan 3 Days a Week
Go vegan for a certain number of days in your week but still incorporate animal-based products on the remaining days. This flexibility will make it easier to maintain more plant-based eating and you’ll still reap a lot of the benefits including better health and saving cash!