Since we are nearing the end of February, clearly our 30 day Vegan Food Challenge we started with the new year has been over for a few weeks. It’s been a busy few weeks for our family which is why I haven’t been able to update. I’d love to fill everyone in on how the challenge went for us and where we are at now.
Although there were a few hard days for me, I didn’t find going completely vegan to be nearly as difficult as I imagined it would be. It was much more drastic for my husband Tim, and he definitely had a more difficult time. That being said, he did enjoy some benefits of eating a plant-based, whole foods diet for a month. We didn’t restrict calories at all. This was not about counting calories or fat grams. It was about having our diets be comprised of only plant-based, mostly whole, unprocessed foods. As a result of eating this way for only thirty days, we both lost some weight. Again, this wasn’t our focus or goal, yet it happened naturally. Tim lost somewhere between 5-10 pounds. I know that’s a big range, but we didn’t get a start weight right at the beginning so we aren’t sure exactly what he weighed when we started and his weight fluctuated throughout the challenge. He was definitely down a good five pounds, though. I also lost about two pounds, which is the most I would have wanted to lose at this point as I felt I was at my ideal weight when we started the challenge.
How To Make Transitioning to a Vegan Whole Foods Diet A Success
There are some things you can do to make a transition into a vegan, whole foods diet a success (or even if you just want to transition into a healthier diet than you’ve been eating). I know if I wouldn’t have done these things it wouldn’t have been so for us.
- Have a well-stocked pantry. This is crucial. Life will be much easier for you if you have a variety of whole grains, rice, beans, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, vital wheat gluten, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils like coconut, olive, and canola in your pantry ready to go. And get rid of the bad stuff! You can’t eat what isn’t in the house.
- Have a few good vegan cook books and recipes on hand and ready to try. Don’t be afraid to try new things–you will be surprised.
- Plan ahead. If you aren’t planned for a meal or snacks, you will be more likely to be starving and eat something processed or an animal food you may be craving.
- Have healthy, whole food snacks prepared, such as cut up vegetables with homemade dips, trail mix, etc.
- Let your friends and family know what you are doing so they will be supportive and not tempt you with foods that are detrimental to your health.
- Rely on fruit. One of my favorite fruit treats was diced apple, raisins, and cinnamon. Heated up in the microwave, this makes a quick, satisfying dessert. My daughter Meghan loves this, too.
- Add a few vegan chocolate chips to our trail mix. When we were craving a sweet snack, this added just a touch of sweetness that was enough.
- Indulge a little. I have a cookbook called Sweet Freedom which is full of vegan desserts and doesn’t use any refined sugar. The recipe “Amazing Bean Brownies” is truly amazing. It does have “evaporated cane juice”. While this is healthier than white, refined sugar, it is still sugar and messes with your blood sugar levels. So while I don’t recommend eating these every day, it is a great way to indulge when needed. And everyone needs to indulge once in a while. Did I mention these brownies are made with beans? They add a great fiber and protein punch!
- Recipe reviews. I will review and describe new recipes I try.
- Cookbook reviews. I love cookbooks and will review my favorite (and maybe even not-so-favorites) so those looking for healthy cookbooks can get an opinion before buying.
- New recipes. I have begun creating recipes on my own and will post pictures and the actual recipes.
- My thoughts on ingredients. I am always researching nutrition and will give my thoughts on which ingredients and foods are healthy or not healthy to include in your diet.