I just finished day 16 of my 100 Vegan Days eating challenge. When I talk to family and friends about what I am trying, I get one of two responses: #1- So what do vegans eat, anyway? or #2- That’s crazy, I could never do it. To be honest, three months ago I would have responded the same way- but in this article I’m here to share with you what vegans actually eat, and why plant-based dieting is not actually that crazy.
My Eating Habits
So I have been trying to lose weight in a sustainable and healthy way, off and on, for over 15 years. I have had varying degrees of success, but the problem that I mostly had was in labeling foods “bad” or “good.” This caused me to binge on bad foods, and the bingeing was usually related to my emotional state or level or tiredness. I have always known that I don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, but I was able to convince myself that by staying away from a lot of processed foods was enough. As I get older and my metabolism changes though, it has been harder and harder to keep the weight off.
What I Ate Before Veganism
I like to eat the same foods each day- it is a habit I developed during my weight loss journey because when I have a lot of food options, I will, consistently, choose the least healthy option. I do change up my dinner each night, but the rest of the day I eat the same thing each day (except Saturday!). Here’s what I usually ate:
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, sausage and wheat toast with butter and jelly. Glass of cold water.
Mid morning snack: Diet Dr. Pepper 10, string cheese, nuts
Lunch: Turkey melt sandwich on wheat with cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and avocado. Tortilla chips and salsa. Diet Dr. Pepper 10.
Mid-Afternoon snack: 1-2 Diet Dr. Pepper 10, peanut butter and granola, handful of candy, fruit strip
Dinner: Varied, but always a vegetable, meat protein, and a carbohydrate. Usually at least one alcoholic beverage.
Total animal portions: About 9
Total plant portions: About 6
What I Eat as a Vegan
So again, through my vegan journey, I am looking to sustain a diet that is 80% plant-based for 100 days. I am not ready to go 100% vegan, and I don’t know if it is nutritionally necessary for me right now. Here’s a pretty typical diet as a vegan:
Breakfast: 1 cup of oatmeal prepared with water, 1 TB of chia seeds and dried cherries, raisins or cranberries. 1/2 C almond milk. Cold water.
Morning snack: Either green juice and nuts or sliced bananas with peanut butter and coconut flakes.
Lunch: Soup (like this butternut squash soup), 1 slice of Ezequiel bread with hummus, water
Mid-afternoon snack: More green juice, or popcorn, fruit, etc. Since I love the carbonated drinks, I usually make an Italian soda with carbonated water and some fruit or Torani syrup (affiliate).
Dinner: 5 days/week vegetarian and 2/week meat- 2-5 alcoholic beverages per week.
Total animal portions: 1-2
Total plant portions: 10-12
Dietary Changes Takeaways
Do you notice the absence of the Diet Dr. Pepper 10? Me too. When I started eating so many plants, the diet soda actually gave me such bad diarrhea that I reflexively stopped drinking it- cold turkey. I will occasionally have one if I am at a restaurant, but I am generally not drinking any caffeine at all. The crazy thing is that I have tons more energy and sleep better than ever. Also, I used to eat a lot of cheese, but now that I don’t eat it as much, when I do eat it I feel super bloated and full almost immediately. My midsection is smaller, although so far I think that I am the only person who has noticed it. I have lost 8 lbs since January 4, and I haven’t even eaten a mostly vegan diet all of those days.
So there you have it! My next step is to read the research behind plant-based diets, and I am dying to read “How Not To Die” (pun intended!) (affiliate). I’ll keep you posted on how my challenge is going!
Are you participating in the 100 Somethings Challenge for 2017, or are you a vegan? I want to hear how everything is going in the comments below!