Being Vegan: One Month Update

posted in: LIFESTYLE, VEGAN | 10

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!

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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! 

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  • Katie Hodgkinson

    This was so insightful and I love reading about your journey. Any diet change, not just vegan, has a negative impact at first but as far as I’m aware it does take a couple of weeks to adapt especially if you’ve eaten in a certain way your entire life (don’t quote me on that, haha, I believe I read it somewhere). It’s great that you’re feeling better in yourself health wise now though and I’m happy for you 🙂 I look forward to hearing more updates!

    Katie
    http://www.katiehodgkinson.com

    • Kate Flint

      Thank you Katie! It certainly does, even cutting out things like sugar can have a negative impact on immediate wellbeing, in that your body is going through withdrawals. Thanks for reading, and I will try to keep monthly updates and then maybe every so often 🙂

  • Good for you Kate! I love bacon and lamb too much – but I always by locally produced meat – in the country you can do that quite easily & James’ grandfather gives us lamb from his farm too! I don’t think I could even watch that video – but I am aware of where our food comes from!
    I am super proud of you for doing this and keeping with it!! I’ve been trying to cut gluten and its hard – i just love bread – but it doesn’t really love me.. 🙁

    Mel x || Loads of Lifestyle

    • Kate Flint

      It’s so fulfilling knowing where your food comes from, that’s great you can locally source things as well! I am pretty lucky that bread and I get along great, but I am so happy to not have any dairy from now on, I think it wasn’t very good for me !

  • This is so insightful, so proud of you Kate! I’m still considering if I should go vegan as I am vegetarian due to not being able to ingest most meats however I do have low iron, thyroid, calcium and protein so the main thing holding me back is finding alternatives to avoid having low levels in the mentioned vitamins. Do you find it hard shopping for vegan alternatives

    Luceat Lux Vestra x
    Maz | http://www.mazrawrs.com

    • Kate Flint

      It does take a bit of research and dedication to not just eat pasta everyday, haha. But I found that doing the research beforehand makes grocery shopping a breeze now. I rarely do those vegetarian meats and just having some solid veggie stirfrys and a few basic meals under your belt it is super easy. The main issue I find is going out for food at a restaurant, but normally checking the menu ahead helps, and asking the wait staff if they have alternatives 🙂

  • I’m so glad you’re feeling better and getting the right amount of everything now! How amazing is My Fitness Pal?! Keep up the good work! You are amazing! <3

    • Kate Flint

      Thank youuuu! 😀

  • Wow, so proud of you for making this big change! All of your meals on Snapchat have looked delicious and you looked like you have lost some weight as well yet still look super fit and healthy!!! I would like to incorporate some more vegan meals into my diet so maybe you can share some recipes!!!

    Sarah | Bows & Pleats

    • Kate Flint

      Aw thank you! It’s definitely been a massive change but it’s for the best and honestly I think I eat more varied food now than before!