Vegan(ism) Day 7 – The Final Day

Ah, Sunday. I thought I’d never get there (just kidding). I woke up feeling lazier than usual, but probably because the forecast called for a steady downpur of cold rain all day long. All I felt like doing was snuggling up in bed with my blankets and binging on netflix, but I promised to meet a friend for brunch. Luckily, I got to choose the restaurant and I selected a place that I knew had ample veggie options on the menu. I ended up with black bean burger and sweet potato fries. Sure, I know the fries (and possibly the burger) were both cooked in the same oil as the other meat dishes, but I feel like I made the best choice out of the options available (aside from just ordering a salad–which, I was a bit tired of eating straight produce by this point). I’m not really sure how to deal with the oil situation in restaurants. I mean, can you? It’s not really up to you how a restaurant cooks their food?  I mean, you don’t have to eat there? Sure, you could ask wait staff every intricate detail of how something is made, but at the end of the day, even they don’t control the cooks or policies of the kitchen staff…so there’s no guarantee.

That would stress me out having to deal with that every time I wanted to eat something out. Not that I eat out often (this past weekend was unusual), but still.

I feel like I could go on this super long tangent here about the quality of foods in restaurants (and grocery stores) and how that food is prepared, stored, served, etc, but there are enough food documentaries (concerning health) on netflix and I don’t feel like I need to waste the time to say what has already been said.

Anyway, I closed out the evening with pizza and a glass of wine. As I half watched the superbowl, I thought about how it would feel to wake up the next day (today–Monday since this is being posted super late) and not having to obsessively worry about what I was going to eat.

Some things I learned on this “journey”:

  1. A lot of food contains animal products, even foods you wouldn’t assume would, like some snacks, dressings and even drinks.
  2. Many restaurants aren’t vegan friendly and while they may carry a specific dish or alternative here and there, the variety is slim (you’re looking at one maybe two dishes at best-though, you can be creative with sides and ask swaps like nut milks or steamed veggies). Restaurants that do cater to vegans/vegetarians are limited in more suburban/rural areas.
  3. Just because you’re eating a “plant based diet”, doesn’t mean you’re being healthy. Many snacks that are vegan, aren’t healthy for you just because they’re vegan friendly (i.e. oreos, laffy taffy, etc.). Many meat and dairy substitutes are a clusterfuck of processed nonsense. So essentially, while you aren’t eating food with animal products in them, you’re eating a lot of chemicals with possible long term effects on your body (which is another issue within itself).
  4. Abruptly cutting out meat and dairy is a shock to the system and may (at first) cause you to feel fatigued (also cold and shaky). I’m not sure if this is because of withdraws or simply from being malnourished (as a newbie who isn’t eating properly, because I ate like shit).
  5. Piggybacking off of the point above, I learned that dairy is a pretty substantial part of my normal diet even though I already incorporated nut milks into my regular diet as opposed to drinking traditional cow milk  (and I didn’t used to think so).
  6. You’ll use the bathroom more frequently (no seriously).
  7. You’re more hungry between meals and snacks. It requires you to be far more creative in snack and meal options to keep hunger at bay (you’ll need protein–nuts, beans).
  8. Slip ups can occur if you don’t plan well.
  9. Shopping for vegan friendly foods doesn’t have to be expensive (with planning).
  10. Certain vegan friendly staples (like black beans) are inexpensive and can be used in numerous dishes.
  11. You’ll have some anxiety at first because you’re having to adjust your train of thought and approach eating differently
  12. There will be times where you just have to “sit things out” (i.e., office birthday parties, chili cook-offs, etc) and that’s ok.

 

Some positive benefits (that I experienced):

  1. I’m more mindful/clear headed
  2. I’ve increased my water intake quite a bit
  3. I’m more aware of what’s in the food I am eating and think to check before assuming anything
  4. I’m more sensitive to people with plant based diets (or any other non-mainstream diets).
  5. I saved money (mostly by not eating out as much)
  6. I feel like I’m not as bloated
  7. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything if I don’t eat meat with a meal now
  8. I lost about 3.5 pounds

 

Ok, ok…enough with the lists, enough with the rambling, enough with the analyzing. While I don’t particularly feel accomplished or like a “brand new person”, I am happy that I challenged myself to do this. While I don’t believe I could completely go vegan, I could do better about eating a more plant based diet whenever possible.

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Weight Loss & Such

So for the past year or so, I’ve done pretty well with losing/maintaining weight. When I went for my physical a few months ago (right before I had lunch with this goofball–bad idea), my doctor was amazed that I had lost 50 lbs between February and November. She was also amazed to see that it seemed like my anxiety/depression was starting to level out thanks to proper medical management (little did she know I was faking the mental health aspect of my “progress” at the appointment).

Anyway, she asked how I did it and I simply told her I just paid more attention to what/how much I ate and *tried* to incorporate some sort of exercise into a few days of my week. Walking, running, dancing (badly), sex at one point…you know, things of that nature.

Of course, some recent events in my life have kind of derailed my focus in this area of my life and my focus at one pointed needed to be, “Did you eat something today? You need to eat.” or “Why are you eating that junk? Can’t you eat something non-processed“. Understandably, I needed to focus on taking care of my heart and mental/emotional health before even attempting to take on anything else of this consistent magnitude..so I sort of gave myself a pass through the holidays so as long as ate “something” everyday, because a few months back, I didn’t have much of an appetite at all.

Well, I weighed myself the other day for the first time since November and somehow, I’ve managed to maintain my weight even though I’ve completely come off of my health kick routine. Before I dated my ex, I had reduced my sugar intake, alcohol and coffee consumptions and most processed food (In fact…funny story, on our first date after he took me for beer and dinner, he also treated me to ice cream. The sugar content in the ice cream was so heavy that I got physically sick off of two spoonfuls).  I felt better during that time period than I ever had in my entire life and I’d like to get back there. I had more energy, I slept better and I was genuinely content. It also helped my anxiety and depression (which seemed to go dormant at the time).

I have no idea how I’ve even managed to maintain weight, let alone not gain any, but I guess lately even though I’ve been eating terribly, I’ve really only been basically eating one meal a day, just divided over different periods of the day. Take for instance the brunch I attended last Saturday… The sandwich and sweet potato fries I ordered was my first meal of the day. I consumed half of it there, walked around the perimeter of the art museum for 3 hours and ate the other half before heading out to game night later that evening, where I walked around a lot downtown. The day before that, I nibbled on produce at work (instead of eating lunch), because we had a two hour delay and I wanted to actually save room to savor the BBQ I planned to have later with the guys later (which I still didn’t finish) and last night, I went out for gourmet burgers and fries with my family, but again, I ate half of it and outside of an apple, it was basically the only thing I ate that day. So I guess the “give and take” method might be saving me right now.

Regardless, I still don’t feel “well” though and I’d like to. I need some sort of shock to my system. Like a reset of sorts. Ideally, I’d like to lose an additional 15-20 lbs and I think that’s possible if I get back on track.

While being super lazy on Sunday, I watched some youtube videos from bed. One of my more recent favorite youtube channels is the “TheOdd1sout“. He’s a super funny guy who uses animation to tell everyday stories from his life (the sooubway one is one of my favorites). Anyway, in one of his videos he describes the, “7 Day Vegan Challenge Baby (solves all your problems)”. In the video, he discusses how he took the challenge to eat a vegan diet for 7 days. See the video below:

While I found the video to be funny, I’ve been seriously thinking that challenge is something I’d like to do just to see if I can do it. I feel like it would be difficult, but it would help me to be more creative with food choices in situations where I’m attempting to eat a more plant based diet. Plus, it’s only a week, so by the time I got tired of it, It would be over.

I think I’m going to give this a shot as soon as my paycheck hits later this week–because I know some of this food may be pricey. I’ll have to write about it when I start and finish.

All I Want to Do is Eat

I have no idea what’s wrong with me, but lately (within the past 1-2 weeks), all I’ve wanted to do was eattttttttttt. Granted, I “eat”, but I’ve wanted to eat legit super shitty food…like this cookie bar I’m currently smashing after eating a BLT sandwich leftover from a meeting at work yesterday.

patrick

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