Last week, I decided to try something new with my diet. Most of you don’t know this, but I’ve been a pescetarian for a year and a half now. That means that I don’t eat any meat except for fish and crustaceans. For the most part, I’ve been pretty happy with this and the only real times I’ve completely broken down and eaten meat is during holidays like Christmas and Easter (I’m weak, I know). Recently, I’d started falling into terrible dietary habits and I found my energy totally depleted because of this/ Going to the gym sucked because I felt sluggish from the frozen, processed garbage I was putting into my body.
Last week, I decided to change my diet up completely and just be a vegan for the week. I have a couple friends who are vegans, and one of them really helped me with my week-long struggle with advice and recipes (thanks Katrina!!!). Her blog is mindfullybliss.com if anyone is interested in some of those recipes (I recommend the sweet potato fries, mmm).
So anyways, I decided I was going to write a painfully honest description of how my week without animal products went. Keep in mind that I’m anemic, meaning that the iron levels in my blood are so low that I am prone to fainting and nausea.
The first thing I learned was that it takes a lot more to fill you up when you’re a vegan. You can literally eat all day and never feel full, but most of the time this isn’t too bad for you because all you’re really eating is a lot of vegetables and fruits and other healthy stuff.
I also got tired a lot quicker and found myself sleeping more. I doubt this would have been the case if I had been eating more kale and spinach and other iron-heavy foods, but I am a busy university student who has class and work most days of the week, so I found myself usually just grabbing easy snacks, like honey oats granola bars or pieces of fruit.
Another thing I learned was that it takes a lot of discipline to commit to veganism during the first few days. I actually even cheated one day and had eggs for breakfast, so I extended my weekly vegan diet one extra day to compensate. But once you get past your initial food withdrawals, you feel pretty good about yourself.
Once you’ve finished eating a vegan meal, you don’t feel heavy and bloated and overall gross like you sometimes can when you eat other foods. You feel light and kinda energetic, like you’re ready for anything. Working out was thus a lot easier for me because I was able to feel great even before I started my workout.
The BEST part about being vegan for a week was definitely the improvement on my skin though. I’m not 100% sure it was a vegan-related thing, but at the beginning of the week I had some seriously wretched breakouts and dry patches on my face. By the end of the week, my skin felt amazing and all of my acne was cleared up. Coincidence? I have no idea, but I like to think not.
If you’re going vegan, here’s some advice: start out slow because like I said, it’s really hard to get into the first few days. Easy and quick snacks are your friend, and oatmeal is always a great option. Try to learn some easy recipes and make sure you get a variety or other wise you’ll start being sick of eating the same foods everyday. Make a meal plan for the week and then write out what groceries you’ll need for shopping.
Here’s how to make quinoa and vegetable-stuffed peppers with sweet (or regular) potato fries:
– cook quinoa in vegetable broth
– chop up mushrooms, tomatoes and any other vegetables you want and sauté them with salt an pepper on the stove
– cut a pepper in half and hollow out the bottom half (you can cut up the other half to add to a side salad like I did for this part)
– wash your potatoes and cut them into fry-shaped pieces
– add your cut potatoes to a bowl with a bit of water at the bottom and microwave for 3 1/2 minutes
– put potatoes onto pan with wax paper and cook for about 30 – 45 minutes, depending on how brown you want them, turning them over once in the middle
– fill your hollowed pepper with your quinoa and vegetables and you’re ready to go
– if you chose to have a side salad, I recommend spinach, dried cranberries, peppers, tomatoes and any other fruits or veggies you want topped with a raspberry dressing