Category Archives: 30 Day Vegan Challenge

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Week 4

This a week late, I apologize! There’s just a million things going on and that I want to write about, trying to get through them all leads to some articles being delayed.

As you can probably tell from my most recent food posts, I’ve gone back to my old way of eating. Well, that’s not technically true, I’m aiming to eat less meat and dairy and stick to a cleaner (that is fewer processed foods) diet, but I have added some meat, dairy and definitely eggs back in.

You’re probably wondering if I feel any different or if it made me feel better or worse, right? If I’m being honest, when I stuck to the vegan diet religiously without any slip-ups, I felt really great. I could tell my blood pressure was normal (lack of a racing heart when I’d get stressed) and any excess water weight I’d been carrying around had disappeared. My clothes fit better, my rings circled around (I love when this happens) and overall, I felt really positive.

My guess is that you’re probably wondering why I decided to stop eating vegan and go back to regular eating if I’m talking about all those positives. That’s simple, I felt myself starting to slip. Towards the end all I could think about eating was an egg with a runny yolk being soaked up by bread. When I start getting consumed by those thoughts, I know I’m losing control and in order to maintain a healthy(ish) diet, I need to add those foods that I’m craving back in, just in moderation.

Do I feel like I gave my all to this challenge? In a word, no. I definitely did not give this challenge my all, my husband can testify to that. I complained constantly about not being able to have the delicious smelling chicken he had made for him and Emmett or about how I was getting bored of beans (though, I love beans and could eat them everyday). So all I could think about for pretty much the last 2 weeks was being done, and resuming my regularly scheduled diet and that’s not really fair to the challenge. The issue wasn’t with the challenge itself but with my inability to stick with anything.

I want to try again, but I want to take a different approach this time. Cutting these items out cold turkey may work for some and maybe even the majority but I don’t succeed that way. I’m currently in the midst of reading Vegan Before 6, by Mark Bittman. From what I’ve read so far, the concept is pretty simple, you follow a whole foods plant based diet until 6 pm, and then for dinner you enjoy whatever kinds of foods you want. Just a side note, the time 6 is just a number, basically you follow a vegan diet until your dinner and then eat whatever you want. I will do a full review of the book once I’ve completed it and have put the diet into practice for a few weeks. While following VB6 (as it is often referred to), I won’t put a time limit on it. If I follow it and love it, then I’ll just keep on going. By putting the 30 days on something, I am telling myself that I can quit in that time-frame rather than sticking with it until it either becomes habit or doesn’t work any longer.

Do I recommend the 30 Day Vegan Challenge? Absolutely! I learned a heck of a lot through the entire month and I also experimented with different foods that I previously would have never tried. If you do well with cutting foods out cold turkey, then this will absolutely work for you and I 100% endorse the challenge and you giving it a try.

I wish I had a more positive final post for this challenge, but I’m working on it and little by little I will get to where I want to be. I’m just still finding my path.

Have you given any new challenges a try?

In case you missed it, you can read Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3 here.

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Week 3

Wooo… Has it really only been 3 weeks?!

So I’m going to be brutally honest right now and tell you how much I really REALLY miss eggs! It’s not even that I’m craving them, I just miss the convenience and ease of them. They were my breakfast of choice almost every morning and could be enjoyed a million different ways so I never got bored. Being unable to eat them has been super tough! I’ve come up with a bunch of different breakfast ideas and they all taste good, but none seem to satisfy me like eggs did. Two eggs in the morning, scrambled, hard boiled, sunny side up or poached, and I felt nice and full until at least 9 (I typically eat breakfast around 5 am), when I’d have my smoothie. Finding something that works as well has eggs has been a challenge all on its own.

For those of you who have been vegan for an extended period of time or those of you who never were into eggs to begin with, you likely won’t understand my lament, but eggs are seriously such a perfect breakfast (or any meal) food.

Overall, the challenge is going pretty well. My meals still remain vegan but I have a mental battle with myself before almost every meal, where I have to convince myself to eat the vegan meal I brought and not go out to get something. I realize this is perfectly normal and this wouldn’t be considered a challenge if it were easy but still I want to share my struggles with my readers. I want them to understand what I am really going through (mainly mentally) so that they don’t assume this is a cake walk for me.

I have found and eaten so many different foods, items that I never would have even thought to eat, not because they grossed me out or seemed unappealing, I just found no reason to eat them. This has been a huge benefit of going vegan. I’ve also found that I am eating so much healthier even though I am struggling. The foods that I am eating overall are so much better for me and mostly veggies that my body has to be happy. I won’t lie and say I haven’t eaten some convenience vegan foods, but the majority of the foods I eat are whole, nutrient dense foods and that feels good. I want to overcome my crap eating so that my son is raised in a house where healthy foods are the norm and junk is a very rare occurrence.

You’re probably wondering whether my cravings have subsided for junk food. In a word, no. As I mentioned earlier, I miss eggs terribly. It hasn’t bothered me not having cheese or meat, but what I am still craving is the greasy food of McDonald’s or Burger King. I was really hoping that those would go away. Maybe they will in the last week?? Here’s hoping!

As I embark on my final days of this vegan challenge, I want to let you know that I will be giving it my absolute all. I want to finish off with a bang, knowing I tried my best and made a concerted effort.

Has anyone been inspired to try something new recently?

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Week 2

(This is almost a week late, life has been crazy!)

I’ve made it through the second week of vegan eating!

I’ve definitely had my ups and downs with my menu but overall the transition hasn’t been that difficult. Admittedly, I’ve slipped a couple times and had eggs, dairy and meat, but the large majority of my meals were completely vegan.

My biggest challenge has not been finding vegan foods that I enjoy; the biggest hurdle has been fighting the cravings. I (sadly) love junk food, chips, cookies, fast food, pizza, you name it, it has been part of my diet. Every time I get in my car, I have to fight the desire to stop and fill myself up with that junk. I know that might seem silly to some, you’re thinking, make the decision skip to unhealthy foods and stick to that decision, but for some reason my brain doesn’t work that way. It is a constant struggle.

Israeli couscous, red pepper, raw pistachios, shallots and tofu... pure deliciousness in a bowl

Israeli couscous, red pepper, raw pistachios, shallots and tofu… pure deliciousness in a bowl

I want to conquer this, which is part of why I started the challenge. I’ve tried a million different methods and still I struggle. I don’t blame those other programs, the problem absolutely lies within me but I can’t seem to conquer my junk food fetish, while still eating it. Because of that I decided that cutting it out completely was the best decision.

Honestly, it has been going pretty well. Within the first week, I lost a ton of weight, my pants were fitting better and my rings were swirling around my finger again. It was likely all water weight, but it felt good to feel more comfortable in my skin. Then mid-way through the second week, the cravings were hitting me hard and I hit a bump and stumbled a bit. I didn’t let it stop me though, I got right back on track and am proud to admit that I am still following the vegan challenge.

I’m considering expanding the challenge a few days, for each of the days that I ate “off plan.” At this point it would an additional 4 days, tacked onto the end. I see no reason not to, so right here and now I am making the decision to continue on after the original 30. The original 30 would have ended on July 9th, but that instead will be expanded to July 13th.

You’re probably wondering how I’ve been feeling, whether I have felt more energy or if my mood has changed. I am more than happy to report that when I follow a vegan diet very strictly, I feel so much more energy. I don’t feel like I’m crashing mid-day or like my blood sugar is going haywire, I feel good! At this point, I don’t know whether that’s because of the vegan diet or just eating healthier, but either way, I am enjoying the additional bursts of energy.

What changes have you made to your diet lately?

30 Day Vegan Challenge – Week 1

I recently watched the documentary Forks Over Knives and it appealed to my desire to eat healthier. The movie promotes a whole foods, plant-based diet and it touts that it can (and will) assist you in getting off any blood pressure or cholesterol type meds you are on. Since I currently take 2 different blood pressure medications, it got the wheels turning, maybe this could work for me.

forks over knives

I immediately contacted my friend Kelly from Kohlrabi and Quince. She’s been a vegan for quite some time and has always been a supportive friend in the way of weight loss and I knew she’d do the same for me in regards to going vegan. I was not wrong! I sent her a message on Facebook in regards to watching Forks Over Knives and how I was considering the vegan lifestyle and almost immediately she responded with a huge long list of blogs, other books and articles, that she recommended (I will share the same list with all of you, sometime over the next 30 days).

One of the many recommendations she made, was for Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s 30 Day Vegan Challenge. I immediately jumped on the site and joined, I knew that I could handle anything for 30 days. But, before I fully committed to the Vegan lifestyle, I wanted to read more about it. I’m not one of those individuals that can jump right in and then adjust, I need to adjust, THEN jump. Which is what I did as of this Monday, 6/10/13. I highly recommend Colleen’s site (and I’m even getting into her podcasts, which you can subscribe to on iTunes), she goes day by day and ever so gently creates an environment where you can learn and grow as a vegan.

the-30-day-vegan-challenge-90664l1

So for 30 days, I’ve elected to live a vegan lifestyle. I’m sure there are some questions, and I’m hoping to answer some (if not all) of those, to help another “newbie” vegan.

One of the most common questions, I’ve gotten just since mentioning going vegan is, How will you get enough protein?

Well, I’ll share something with you something that I have just newly learned, most fruits and vegetables have protein in them. So along with things like spinach or watermelon, you have beans, legumes, avocado, etc., that are just packed FULL of protein. It is much easier than you think to get enough protein on a plant based diet, and for those of you who are really worried, I am tracking my food intake on My Fitness Pal so that I can ensure I am getting enough.

Are Seamus and Emmett going to follow a plant based diet?

No. Since this is an experiment for me, I am not pulling anyone else into it, unless they want to. As for Seamus, he likes meat and wishes to continue to eat it, I’m completely fine with that. The wonderful thing is that Seamus is willing to try a meat-free meal here and there, so we will definitely be expanding our palate together.

Will you make two dinners?

Kind of. We’ve only grocery shopped for one week so far and how it worked was we came up with our meal ideas and then I bought similar items to make them vegan. So for instance, on a night where burgers are on the menu, Seamus and Emmett will have a beef burger and I will have a handmade veggie burger from Go Veggies. If you live in Buffalo, they sell their fair at the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmer’s Market and they are phenomenal, they also have a cafe off of Elmwood Ave. Do yourself a favor and check them out! So, technically it is two meals but they are so similar and can be cooked the same, so no added stress.

What happens after 30 days?

Honestly? I don’t know. At this point, I’d run, skip and hop to my favorite brie case at Wegmans but in 30 days I may feel differently. For now, this question will remain open. Stay tuned!

Why are you doing this?

Like I mentioned above, I’m on two different blood pressure medications and I want to get off both. I know I could simply drop some of the fatty foods I was eating but I want to challenge myself and what better way to do it, than by trying to be vegan.

Am I having cravings?

Oh goodness, YES! It’s only been two and a half days but I’ve probably craved every possible meal with dairy (not really meat) under the sun. This morning I wanted donuts, right now I’d love a cheese and pepperoni pizza but I am committing to myself for 30 days to be meat, dairy and egg free. 30 days is nothing, I can do it!

What’s a typical day look like for you, as vegan?

This is something I’ll share in a future post because I want to give you a couple days, not just one.

I’m very very excited for what the next month will bring and I will share my journey along the way with all of my readers.

What other questions might you have?

Copyright © 2013 Baby Doodah // Designed By Bumble + Buzz Design