That one day in July I just knew: That’s it. I’m ready. I saw others doing it. And to be honest, the experiment (as I first called it), had been long overdue.
What I’m talking about is a plant-based diet. I mean eating just plants. No meat, no fish, no eggs (…) in short: No animal products on my plate. I wanted to go vegan. 10 days or a month – we will see how things go, I thought.
It was not the first time I felt it’s time for a change, but for some reason I got incredibly enthusiastic about this experiment. I love experimenting with food and discovering the way diet affects my body sensation and image. People who know me also know: it just needs a glance into my fridge and they could tell what’s really going on. There’s just this one thing that’s for sure: I never restrict myself. “Dieting”? No thanks. Interestingly, it’s the same thought that for a long time hold me back from trying a vegan diet. I assumed that excluding meat and dairy products would be more of a sacrifice to me. “Living life to the fullest” must involve all the flavours, doesn’t it? Little did I know…
Thanks to Youtube and other influencing channels I had been sneaking around the vegan fitness world for quite a while, and finally had to admit: I got inspired. How would this be going to affect my energy levels, workouts – and most of all, my lifestyle? Quite a lot, I figured. So let’s do it!
Do you remember the last time you deliberately decided to change your life? Perhaps you tried out something completely new or did things just a little differently?
Hell yes, I asked for change – so change was what I got. Actually, there’s many details I was not aware of before I started the experiment. Obviously, plant food offers a lot to digest (not only for our guts). Have you ever thought about going vegan but for some reason stopped with the idea of it? Then imagine this:
1. There’s rainbows on your plate.
Yes, it doesn’t just sound amazing. It really is. Eating had never been as colourful to me. Don’t get me wrong. I had been always eating a lot of plants. But who would have thought that taking away the meat gives so much space for other things on your plate! Sometimes I just went with colours and added a little bit of the green or yellow that could make the picture complete (no need to photoshoot every meal, but most likely you will want to).
And it already starts in the grocery store: instead of rushing through the veggie deparment this is where you are going to spend most of your shopping. Touching the food, inspecting it (sorry, this is not meant to sound sexy) – Isn’t it way more satisfying than putting cans & jars into your cart?
2. Beans are the shit.
“Where do you get your protein from?” You just don’t go and ask a vegan this question. Why? Because they are friendly but they might hurt you. Just kidding. Perhaps people just care – or they want to educate themselves.
Fact is: Protein is (almost) everywhere. Yes, there is a difference in the quantity and quality of animal and plant protein which I have mentioned earlier. However, it all comes down to the overall diet – the combination of foods we provide our bodies with. Alright, opinions are still controversial about “do vegans get enough protein”… but it seems like we don’t even know what this “enough” means for the individual. On the contrary, numerous comprehensive studies support the hypothesis that a wholefood, plant-based diet supports longevity and a overall high quality of life.
3. You now know you never really knew how to cook.
No offense. But seriously, vegans know how to cook. Okay, I’m certainly not a benchmark for cake baking competitors or do surprise friends and family with the occasional 3-course dinner. I love food but it hardly ever gets me to spend more than 30 minutes in the kitchen. On the contrary, the most delicious meal could be the one that makes the least effort. And the good thing is: I did not need to change anything about this for the sake of eating vegan.
But what changed is the way I think about my meals: Suddenly variety became even more important. Although I don’t necessarily need to freak out about not getting enough protein, I want to make sure I provide different “food profiles” for my system. For sure, it will never get boring – just change the way you would normally prepare a certain type of veggie and it will open a whole new world of different flavours and textures to you.
4. You can and will eat more.
(Ok, here they got me…) Living on plants will in most cases automatically shift your macronutrient ratio. In other words, the calories coming from carbohydrates will most likely increase (unless you go nuts or crazy on the more “restricted” plant sources of fat). Vegans have a higher fibre intake which ultimately requires more space in your stomach and more energy for digestion.
So even if you might be concerned that increasing your carbohydrate intake will make you fat, just the opposite might happen. But please don’t get me started on carbs here, better read: What if carbs were our friends?
5. It’s a lot easier than you’d have ever thought.
Have you ever wondered where vegans go and eat out? You’ll be surprised: they are among us. Ok, the regular burger place might just be open-minded enough to provide one vegan option. But if you haven’t noticed the change compared to how vegan dining looked like 5 years ago… why even bother. Really, vegan is becoming a trend and smart restaurants know that.
So what would make it easier to eat plant based: Claiming “I’m vegan” or make your choice with every single meal: Meat or no meat? Here my confession: During my “vegan month” I had 3 meals that were actually not that vegan. Yes, they contained seafood or meat. So what? Experiment failed? I let you draw the conclusion.
To me, “the experiment” was a full success. Knowing that I could go back to eating meat at any time made me relax and totally listen to my body’s cravings. And I was surprised how little I missed the meat. And when I did, I did not restrict myself – and noticed that even after such a long time it did not give me the feeling I expected: Meat did not satisfy me more than any other vegan meal.
Do you eat meat every day? Do you think about why you include it in your meals? And do you listen to how it feels when you eat?
Wow, I managed to (almost) get around talking about ethical, environmental and health aspects in a post about veganism. If you want to read more about my thoughts on this please enjoy the following article: Eat mostly plants.