It’s been one month since I made the decision to live a vegan lifestyle. I thought I would give you guys a run down on some thoughts, trials, tribulations, successes and more!
To begin this post, I’d like to point out that I am in a transition phase. Right now, i am concentrating on my diet, which I believe to be one of the most important things for being vegan. Over time, I plan to choose more ethical options for clothing, beauty, etc. But unfortunately, these things take time. Every small step is important and as much as I would like to, we cannot change everything overnight! Onto the update!
Weeks 1 and 2
The first week after making my decision to go vegan was interesting! I found that on a plant based diet, I was not eating enough kilojoules (meat, dairy and eggs are all high in kilojoules) so I needed to force myself to eat more volume in order to not feel like poop at the end of the day. But I was full ALL THE TIME. Eating more fruits and vegetables means my fibre levels were through the roof!
Another issue I had in the first week, which I think was partially related to the first point, was I felt faint or dizzy on occasion. I believe this was due to not eating enough kilojoules, and also because of my sodium levels. They were lower than usual as well (huge thanks to Tahana for suggesting the use of My Fitness Pal to track my kilojoules to see if I was eating enough and get the right levels of everything).
I had often heard about taking supplements for iron, vitamin B and omega 3 on a plant based diet, but sodium was an issue I hadn’t even considered!
Because I have naturally low blood pressure anyway (about 100/80 normally) without the right levels of sodium, my levels dropped to about 75/50. It took some mind over matter to start adding salt to my meals, as I had always been taught salt = bad!
I also learnt how many of our everyday food items have hidden animal products that I never would have considered! Things like wine, cider, salted chips, breakfast foods, muesli bars and various dips. I’ve gotten very used to speed reading ingredient labels! However, because of this, I have also been eating healthier options, cooking at home more, and saying no to random snacks. This really is a win for me.
I also found in the first week, thanks to an increase in legumes and lentils in my diet, I had more of an upset tummy than normal, and was bloated.
Week 3 and 4
After about two weeks of difficulties, I have only had wins. My energy levels are way WAY up. A piece of fruit has me bouncing off the walls. My general mood is better. Bloating has gone down and my stomach is flatter than before. I feel good about what I put into my body, I know exactly what is in my food, and I know that nothing suffered in the process of me eating something.
I have literally had ZERO cravings for meat. None. I haven’t even tried any ‘meat substitutes’, though I do have some stashed in my freezer to try out. I rarely drank milk anyway, and my excuse for not going vegan prior to this was always “Oh, I’d NEVER be able to give up cheese”.
Turns out, it was super easy! Pizza tastes great without cheese, and you can buy vegan cheese should you have a craving for it! I really feel confident that this lifestyle change is a permanent one.
In terms of people’s reactions, I have had mostly good experiences. The majority of people have been kind and interested in my reasons behind my decision. Asking questions about certain things (mainly the dairy and egg industry) which I have happily answered. The only annoying thing I have been asked have been “Jeez where do you get your protein? I could never not eat meat, you’re crazy”.
I get it, I’m not going to try and convert you! My partner Shannon still eats meat and eggs, though he rarely eats dairy after he found how awesome the alternatives are. I don’t pester him, so I won’t pester you, we cool! 🙂 Having said that, thank you for your concern about my protein levels. Though they are probably better now that I’m eating whole foods and not a lot of fast food crap.
If you are wondering what made me decide to choose a vegan lifestyle, watch this YouTube video. It took me four weeks to work up the courage to watch it all the way through. I decided on a plant based diet and lifestyle at about the 30 minute mark.
If you do have any questions about a vegan diet, or my experiences with it, please don’t hesitate in asking them below!