For the past 21 days, I’ve been eating mostly vegan. I say “mostly” because I’ve had a couple slips (a chocolate cookie, a squash casserole with cheese). However, anything I cook for myself has been vegan, and the slip-ups I can count on one hand.
Why am I doing this? I read the 21-day weight loss kickstart by Dr. Neal Barnard.
I’ve been dipping my toes in the plant-strong eating pool for about 6 months now, but didn’t fully commit. It’s hard to change the way you eat cold turkey, and for me, it was much easier to play in the herbivore pool before giving up meat and dairy completely.
I had some health reasons for doing this too. I have extremely high cholesterol, and lately I’ve packed on a few pounds more than I would like. We have Type 2 diabetes in my family. I have a congenital heart defect that I don’t want to exacerbate.
Dr. Neal Barnard explains in the book how eating a vegan diet can actually reverse diabetes, lower cholesterol, and basically make you “heart attack proof.” Every day, you have a different reading to keep you motivated. He discusses myths about eating vegan (yes, you CAN get enough protein without eating meat) and he give some simple recipes to help get you started.
In my next few posts I’ll talk about some of those myths, and give some suggestions on how to best transition into this style of eating, but I wanted to talk about some of the benefits that I’ve experienced in just 21 days:
1) Weight loss: It’s been slow but steady, moving in the right direction. The first week, I dropped the five pounds I gained from the honeymoon. Then I steadily lost about a pound the following weeks. To maintain weight loss, experts recommend losing no more than 2 lbs per week, so this is on track.
2) More energy: I’m not a morning person, but I’ve felt a surge in energy since eating this way. I’ve been getting up at 6 a.m. each morning to exercise before work. I feel more alert and productive at the office. And the extra time in the afternoon allows me to cook a healthful dinner and spend quality time with my husband.
3) Radiant skin: Seriously y’all, my skin has cleared up big time. My colleague told me I was “glowing.” And no, I’m not pregnant.
4) More creativity in cooking: I used to be stuck in the “what to have for dinner tonight? chicken, beef or pasta?” Now, even though I’ve cut out dairy, meats and added oils, I actually feel like I’ve expanded my options for eating. I’m discovering new ways to cook bean, incorporate new veggies into main dishes, I learned that I love Quinoa. It’s been a pretty exciting journey.
I’m not naive. It’s gonna be hard. I’m sure I’ll get some flack from family and friends. The holidays will be a big challenge, and I’m sure I’m going to indulge in a small piece of turkey and some stuffing. But, I’m not going to beat myself up, I’m going to dust myself off and get back on the horse. It’s a change for the better.