Transitioning to a Plant Based Diet | Part 2
I really thought I'd be back sooner with a follow up post on my Vegan journey, but it's been over two months since the last update and here I am!
[ Do check out my first post if you've missed it, where I go over my experience of going plant based and my transition process in the first few weeks. ]
It has now been 4 months and I feel great! It has hands down been a life changing decision. I can't imagine going back to a meat and dairy eating diet.. I seriously don't see meat or dairy as food anymore. Which might sound completely crazy to most of you.. but once you've made that connection and you've gone over that pesky dairy addiction - which by the way only took a week - meat and dairy becomes quite repulsing. I think my 18 year old self would have been like WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT - but it's true.. it's been the best decision, I'm eating food that makes me feel good, both inside and out.
Overall I think the best 'side effect' has been the amount of energy I've got. I don't wake up feeling tired, and I don't have those midday dips anymore. My hair is growing fast, and my skin has never been softer/clearer. My nails are strong and don't break like they used to. My weight hasn't changed much, it's just very stable, it doesn't yo yo up and down, I found that this had happened changing to a vegetarian diet already. I don't feel any guilt around eating anymore, I eat to nourish my body and until it's fully satisfied.. I don't overthink or feel horrible after most meals. I don't have that 'food coma' feeling anymore, I just feel energised..
It's not just about the health though, I feel more serene and happy that I'm not contributing to the horrible meat, dairy and egg industry - no animal suffers or dies so I can satisfy my daily cravings.
I am not going to stand here though and say that for the past 4 months I didn't have any doubts about changing my diet completely. I have had days where I'm asking myself if I'm doing the right thing?! Having people constantly question your diet and your decision, can be a bit difficult at first.
But I continued to follow my instinct and continued to educate myself, watching more documentaries and videos on Youtube (I'm actually in the process of writing a blog post with my favourite resources!) I continued reading more books, listened to specialists in podcasts, documentaries - which all helped SO much to reassure myself in a way and also having the knowledge to reply to all the questions that are thrown my way.
The first two months I'd say were so much easier than I'd imagined, I did have to think about what to eat next, and plan meals in advance, but in the past few weeks, I've found it so much easier because I now have go-to meals, I know what is vegan, what isn't (talking about processed foods here), I know what to order at restaurants, I feel like I've nailed down meals at home too, although we still have so much to learn!
I don't think I mentioned it in my first post, but my boyfriend Michael has also transitioned with me, which I am so incredibly proud of because he just went cold turkey (not sure I'm allowed to say that anymore haha?!) He's been such a massive support, he adores cooking and we've had so much fun coming up with new recipes, discovering new ingredients and new techniques - I mean I made 'cheese' out of NUTS the other day.
I've been trying to share more of what I cook and eat over on my Story on Instagram, and I shared the whole nut cheese process - which took 3 days haha but it was so much fun and I'll be making a lot more so stay tuned. (I'm actually munching on nut cheese and crackers as we speak..! It seriously taste like Boursin, and it's made with cashews. Blows my mind!)
The photos above are a mix of what I've eaten at home but also out and about. Most evenings, we'll have a combination of two veggies minimum + a grain/carb and very often some type of green on the side.
Sometimes we'll have just a massive salad with everything we can put our hands on, because it's summer and also super easy! Hummus is also most definitely a staple, so is nutritional yeast, beans, potatoes, bananas, nuts, avocados...
At the beginning I was a little worried that I wasn't getting the right amount of nutrition, so I logged my meals onto Cronometer for a few days at a time - which if you're starting out, is such a great tool to track all your nutrients and understand what food contains what.
I believe that once you know what vitamins and nutrients a banana, or a potato, a handful of kale or half an avocado is bringing you, it's much easier to know that your body is getting what it needs. I'm not saying in any way that you should obsess over calories.. I'm talking about overall nutrition, what each food brings you in terms of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. I find it all fascinating!
I in no way track what I eat every day though, after a while you know what you need and where to get it from. Also if you eat an abundance of varied whole plant foods in good enough quantities, your body will naturally get everything it needs.
I think at first I was worried of not getting enough calories, so I really ate a lot more than usual, which was not totally necessary. Of course if all you're eating is a salad, you might have to eat a little bit more than if you're eating rice and beans.
I edited my first post to talk quickly about Vitamin B12, which I do supplement, and is the only thing I supplement at the moment - apart from the added Spirulina, barley grass powder, chia seeds, linseed.. which I don't really consider as supplements, they're just amazing superfoods to add to your smoothies.
I'm currently using this B12 - which is fine.. but tastes a little funny.. it's super sweet with a very strange aftertaste. There are so many different ways to supplement B12 though, so I'm going to try different options in the next few weeks (do you have any favourites?)
I've created a Pinterest board called "Plant Powered' to store all the recipes I want to try/have tried and loved. Check it out for inspiration! I'm also generally now only pinning vegan recipes on my other boards too :)
Let me know if you have any questions? or recipe requests or details you'd like me to share? I know I personally had so many questions when I started so feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via my contact page, or DM me on insta!