My Vegan Review

As some of you know, for the last 3 months of 2011 I experimented with eating a vegan diet.  For those of you unfamiliar with what that means, it basically means I didn’t eat any meat, eggs or dairy.  I concentrated more on a whole, plant based foods.  Now I know, some of you think I’m crazy, right?  No meat, no milk, no eggs??  It’s definitely not the traditional American diet.  But I wanted to give it a try and see what I thought of it.

I know many people have different reasons for eating vegan.  Some do it for health reasons, some do it because they see it as a good way to conserve the earth or because they don’t like the way animals are treated when they are raised for food.  I personally didn’t do this because of animal rights or for political reasons, I decided to give this a try for health reasons.  The documentary Forks Over Knives does a good job of explaining many of the reasons I gave this a try.  If you haven’t seen it, you can read my review HERE.

I’ll start of with what I liked about it.  I did find it a very good way to drop some weight.  During my the 30 days I dropped 7 lbs. and 2% body fat.  I know some other people actually gained weight, but for me, it seemed like my body just naturally dropped to a “normal” weight, because I lost that weight in about 10 days and then stayed pretty constant at 183 lbs.  And even though I dropped weight, I gained strength.  That was very important for me, and it was something I was very concerned about.  I really didn’t want to get weaker because I cut out meat, eggs and dairy.  So that was awesome news!  I was able to do either more reps or heavier weight on all my lifts, and my energy levels were great the whole time as well.  If you haven’t seen my results, you can check them out HERE.

Another great aspect of eating this way is that I did not have to count calories.  I listened to my body and ate when I was hungry and stopped when I started getting full, but I did not track my calories or percentages of protein/carbs/fat every day.  It felt kind of strange because I am used to tracking that, but I was seeing results so I knew I didn’t have to worry about it.  I did plug in my food a couple times just to see and I was typically around 2500 calories with 70% carbs, 20% protein and 10% fat.

Along those same lines, I really have to say I love eating those foods.  Plain vegetables are not always my favorite, although I do really like sliced cucumbers, but I’ve found some of the most delicious recipes I have ever made.  Many of them are posted here under the “Recipes” tab.  I realized I used to rely heavily on the meat or cheese to provide flavor.  Now I place much more emphasis on spices and vegetables like onion, tomatoes and peppers to provide the flavor of the meal.  And I have to say I like it a lot better.  To me it tastes fresher and I’ve found new spices that I really like that I’ve never used before.  I was a little worried about this aspect too, but I love the recipes and food I eat every day!  In my opinion, it’s also cheaper to buy fresh produce than meat and cheese, so it’s easier on the pocketbook to eat this way too!

On to the negative aspects now, although for me there or not too many.  First, because this is so different from the typical American diet, it can be really hard to eat a whole foods, plant based diet all the time.  This is especially true during the holidays or if you’re going to someone else’s place for a meal.  And frankly, I did eat meat on a few occasions because it was the only thing available at a family meal and I wanted to show my appreciation for the person who had worked very hard to prepare the food.  So I was flexible in those situations, which didn’t come up too often.  But even at restaurants it can be very hard to find the foods that have no meat, no cheese or no butter.  But you can definitely make do, I even stuck to the diet at Texas Road House, so I’m pretty sure you can do it anywhere, it just might take some creativity.

The other big negative that I see from this is really the negative reaction of other people.  I’ve never had so many people question what I was eating.  For some reason no one would ever question me eating a double bacon cheeseburger, but they would question the vegan chili I would eat.  And honestly, I find it a little sad that many people will call out and question something that is very healthy in my opinion, but would never say a word about something that is obviously unhealthy.  I expected some of this, but not to the extent that it happened.  I don’t think I could count the number of times I was asked “Where are you getting your protein?“.  Our society has an odd obsession with protein, and not in just the population that wants to build lots of muscle.  There is plenty of protein in plants, and most people probably eat more protein than they really need.  I could go on for a bit about this aspect, but I think you get the point.  Because it’s not “normal” it’s viewed as bad in many peoples’ eyes.  But look at what a “normal” diet gives us: obesity, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc.  Does that sound really appealing to you?  It sure doesn’t to me.

For me, the pros far outweighed the cons.  To conclude my thoughts, in my opinion the pros are:

It helped me lose weight and body fat
I gained strength
My energy levels were great
I didn’t have to count calories
The food is delicious! 

I’ve also been reading a book called The China Study, which has been incredibly informative on the benefits of eating a whole foods, plant based diet.  It focuses on research showing how the typical Western diet is leading to obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and many other crippling medical issues that we deal with so often.  I’m not quite done with the book, but when I am I will post a review.  So what’s the plan from here?  If you haven’t guessed it, I do plan to stick with the vegan, or whole foods, plant based diet.  I see it as the healthiest option for me and Rochelle so I’m going to stick with it.  I won’t be 100% vegan, as I still drink Shakeology and Results & Recovery formula, which both have whey protein in them, and in situations where there are no vegan options, I do reserve the right to eat lean meats.  If you have more questions I’d love to talk about this!

 

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  1. […] I posted my review of the vegan experiment.  In case you missed it, you can check it out here:  http://teamnewbody.com/2012/01/my-vegan-review/ .  I also posted about tracking your progress and Beachbody’s response to SOPA & PIPA. […]

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