Back in October I decided to go vegan for a week. An easy enough challenge and, to be fair, 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 pretty easy. Disclosure– 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 yo-yo back and forth with the reasoning being that vegan food is difficult to find. Honestly, it’s not hard to find vegan food as long as you aren’t particularly picky. And I say that in general – not as someone living in LA. You can do this!
- 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 totally possible. It takes commitment, yes, but you’ve got this!
- 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. If you have suggestions on that one, send them my way!
- My energy gains were negligible. I initially did this vegan experiment to see if my energy levels would increase. I think a month is long 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. If that first week hits you hard, and it probably will, stay strong and stick to the plan. You can do this!
- 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 of 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 of 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