Friday, April 20, 2012

Vegan for April update

I decided to shake things up with my April vegan experiment because I felt like I was stagnating. After a few rounds of Body for Life, I felt like the massive amounts of dairy and eggs were creating nothing but toxic waste (gas and intestinal upset) and I wasn't seeing any changes in my body even though I was eating for what should have been muscle-building and at least a little weight loss. I was craving sugar (FRUITS!) and finding myself taking my "free day" a little overboard because I wasn't really enjoying having to pay such close attention to the make-up of every other meal I ate each week. I don't even particularly think I believe it matters that much, the protein-carb-fat ratio, the timing of before or after a workout, etc. If you are eating healthy foods that your body wants and needs, it will make the best of whatever you give it, whenever you eat. Now nearly 3 weeks in, I feel like my body has turned back on! I feel well-rested, energetic, less foggy and scattered. I feel motivated and jazzed and well-nourished. I won't say I completely credit my specifically vegan diet, but just the increase in fresh vegetables and fruits (FRUITS!! Fruit had really been lacking when I was doing the high-protein thing because it was so sugary but it is also SO full of vitamins and fiber and lovely things that I am happily chomping on it now! In large quantities!), the decrease in dairy and the fact that I finally looked into supplements I should be taking as a vegetarian. After (hopefully) thorough research, I started taking B12, Vitamin D and DHA supplements. How hard was it? Not hard in the least. The one thing I thought I'd miss was my nightly greek yogurt with toppings but I easily replaced that with a fruit and vegetable smoothie and haven't even thought about yogurt. I did think of pizza once and tacos once, but both of those could easily be made vegan if I really wanted them. But I haven't gone to the trouble of making them so obviously I didn't want them very badly. What have I been eating? TONS of fresh produce in the form of salads, confetti salads, and lots of steamed veggies with different sauces like cashew cheeze, lentil dal, salsa, no-oil pesto and mustard-vinegar dressing. I've been cooking up big batches of beans in the slow cooker, along with big pots of soup, cabbage casseroles, roasted veggies, quinoa and brown rice. Occasionally I add tempeh or tofu but I don't want soy to be a mainstay of my diet. Breakfasts have been mainly fruit and oatmeal/quinoa/buckwheat cereal, green smoothies, veggie leftovers from dinner, or sometimes scrambled tofu with veggies. My afternoon snack is usually fruit and nuts or some sort of oat-protein powder concoction like cookie dough or a homemade larabar. And of course my evening snack has been a green smoothie or chia seed pudding. YUM! It became pretty clear to me that I was working way too hard trying to "get in" dairy or eggs at every meal. Now meals are so easy, I look in the fridge and see what vegetables I have, I whip up a salad dressing or sauce and I eat a ton of nutrients without having to try and plan different protein sources. Since this isn't really a planned "diet" I don't have a scheduled free day or free meal because I don't need it. If we go out and I want a splurge, I have it but in general I've eaten tasty, healthy food. Will I keep it up? Absolutely! Why wouldn't I? I'll keep it flexible, and I won't call myself a vegan because if I want a slice of pizza with cheese some day, I might just eat it! And when we are on vacation this summer, I WILL be having some ice cream! But I think I'll keep the focus on nutrient-dense, mainly vegan eating for a while. For the record, I am the same weight as when I started which is just fine by me. I'm sure I could cut out the snacks and loose a little weight but for now I'm happy right where I am and I really ENJOY snacks!

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