Back in October I decided to go vegan for a week. An easy enough challenge and I really had no reason for doing it other than to see if my energy levels would increase as well as to try some new restaurants and recipes. One week passed in the blink of an eye and I decided to go for two. Two weeks passed without so much as an issue and I decided to continue for a month! Here’s what I discovered:
- Being vegan is actually quite easy. I’ve been dairy free for two years so perhaps that made this transition easier for me. I guess this fact was surprising to me because of how many ‘vegans’ I have seen that yo-yo back and forth under the guise of their dietary failures being due to vegan food being difficult to find. Honestly, it’s not hard to find vegan food. And I say that in general – not as someone living in LA.
- Being vegan AND gluten free is a bit tougher! I am 100% gluten free for two years now and gluten limited since 2009. I’m not a fair weather friend who is gluten free some days and not others. I am 100% in this thing and finding gluten free vegan food is a much tougher challenge than simply being vegan. Many meat substitutes and sauces are gluten laden. However, it was entirely manageable. If I was presented with a situation which did not have food I could eat (travel, events, etc) I simply waited until I got home to eat or picked up my own snack. It’s truly not hard to do this. It takes commitment, yes.
- My cravings changed. I used to refer to my diet as ‘meats and sweets’ as those were the two main food groups in my diet and the things I craved the most. I’ve eaten red meat at most every meal since I re-introduced meat into my diet about ten years ago (after five years of not eating beef or pork). Interestingly enough, after my month of veganism I started craving vegetables — and my meat cravings subsided. I am now about 80-90% plant based. Crazy. My sweets cravings, however, are still exactly the same.
- My energy gains were negligible. I initially did this vegan experiment to see if my energy levels would increase. I think a month is time enough to notice a difference, but unfortunately I can’t report back with a significant change. However, I did notice a significant decrease in energy and strength the first week or so – my pilates classes were tough, but once I made it through I was back to normal.
- My skin looked the same. Since my vegan month ended I have read countless accounts of people harping on about their skin improving on a vegan diet, hair shining, losing weight, etc. This was not the case for me. Perhaps this is because I don’t have any real issues with my skin to begin with or perhaps because many skin issues trace back to dairy which I’ve not had in a couple years (aside from the cheeky bag of m&ms). My hair and weight also remained the same. If anything I would guess that I gained a couple pounds (don’t have a scale) as I ate even more frequently than usual to try to increase my energy levels.
I hope that if you’re considering a vegan trial you’ll be assured from my post that it is 100% possible to do this. It takes commitment and at times you will be challenged, but you can succeed 🙂 I will likely challenge myself again in the coming months and report back with any updates.
*photography by tslrlifestyle