I did it! I ate completely vegan for five days! Well, except for that one bite of celery with ranch dressing that snuck into my mouth before my brain thought about it…
There are no pictures or foods listed for this day because it was an exact repeat of yesterday. There is a joy that comes with the easiness of using leftovers and I took full advantage! The only minor change was to my smoothie, in which I simply used pineapple and strawberries.
This final day was the first day that I was a little bit hungry between meals. The first four days, I was eating so often that I didn’t really move into full-on hunger; but on this afternoon, I did. I think I am learning to better meet my body’s needs for protein and calories and I have finally (yay!) adjusted to the increased amount of fiber in my diet.
Overall, I feel really good. I feel a little slimmer because of how my clothes are fitting, which may or may not be due to the vegan diet. It could be that this challenge has motivated me to keep up with my food journal and workouts. I also have slept through the night the last two nights, which is not at all typical for me.
Now that this challenge is ending, I am actually considering continuing a no-meat diet. I very much miss cheese, eggs, and milk so I will definitely add dairy back into my meals. I also, as an RD, am not comfortable with cutting out an entire food group. However, I’m not sure I want to go back to my old eating habits because I have found that I get to eat so much food and the nutrition quality of my diet has been stellar while eating like a vegan.
Initially, my vegan diet was low in protein, calories, and B12. By the end of the challenge, I was eating adequate amounts of these nutrients without using specialty foods. This has also reaffirmed my belief that vegans/vegetarians should consider a multi-vitamin since it can be difficult to obtain all the nutrients in the recommended amounts.
My vegan diet was also very low in cholesterol (obviously since it’s found in animal products), saturated fat, and sodium. These are the three main things to limit to eat heart healthy and reduce risk of some chronic diseases. Another heart- and cancer-healthy guideline is to focus on fiber and, as I’ve shared, this diet was definitely high in fiber.
I’m very happy that I decided to take part in this challenge. My goal was to better understand the challenges faced by vegans in planning for an optimally nutritious diet. I wanted to do this to help me when I counsel my vegan and vegetarian clients. I feel I have reached this goal. I think I will be a better nutrition counselor to my clients because of this challenge.
My final day was on May 24th and since then I have not yet eaten meat. I have been following a lacto/ovo vegetarian diet for the past week. I am one very happy camper to once again have cheese! I love cheese. 🙂 I’m still uncertain if I want to return to my previous omnivorous ways. Right now, my plan is to continue lacto/ovo and add seafood back in when I feel ready (there was an advertisement for a local restaurant’s deal on oysters that definitely peaked my interest!). But once I transistion into pescatarian, I may just stay there.
Don’t tell my husband! But he’ll probably read this blog…
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