There’s an awful lot of web space out there dedicated to telling us that if we want to lose weight, going plant based is the best choice we can make. I’ve definitely been tinkering with the idea of vegetarianism, even though I’ve never really gone there. I do like the idea of a plant based diet, but it has a huge learning curve if you want to do it right and I’ve never really felt ready for that.
I’ve definitely been playing around with reducing the amount of meat I’ve been eating. I’ve had “Meatless Mondays” (or whichever day of the week suits me best) for quite some time now. I like that it’s healthy and reduces my impact on the environment. Cows may look like they’re being wholesome and natural when they’re out there in a farm field, but the massive industry farms are the top food-based pollutant the world has.
So I decided to try a 21 day vegan challenge, just to see what it would do to my energy, my overall feeling of wellness and my weight. I figured that I’d get pretty healthy and end up losing a few pounds along the way. Then I would decide whether or not I wanted to choose veganism for a longer period of time.
So for three weeks, I went without any products that were animal based. This included meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, dairy and even honey.
Honestly, it felt like a great choice. I was very proud of it. As I was walking down the street, if I passed a bird or a dog, I felt oddly more in tune with them. It was as though I’d chosen the lives of animals over the pleasure of my taste buds (not that I would eat a dog or a cardinal, but they represented all animals to me). I loved the way I felt like I was respecting animal life and wellbeing.
I didn’t bother counting calories, but I did try to pay attention to my macronutrients. I wanted to make sure I kept a similar balance so I wouldn’t end up starving all the time or losing my muscle tone.
It was harder than I thought. I’d been under the impression that I knew some things about the non meat eating world. Apparently, I was wrong. I struggled to get enough protein through the foods I was used to eating, and I found myself at the supermarket at the last minute trying to find alternatives.
Everything took way longer to cook because I had to put a lot more thought into it. I couldn’t just fall back on my usual meals. I had to focus on getting my ingredients together and making them make sense.
I ate tons of food to try to keep up with my appetite, which seemed to double in size. Unfortunately, my appetite wasn’t the only thing that got bigger. In three weeks, I gained a pound per week! I’d expected to lose weight, but I gained, instead. My energy level started off strong, but over time I was getting head rushes when I’d stand up, and I was fatigued all the time.
Do I blame veganism? Not at all. I blame myself. I did it all wrong. I should have eased into it instead of going cold tofurkey. I should have learned a lot more before cutting all meat out of my meals. I also likely should have consulted with my doctor so I’d know what supplements I should use for backup.
I’ll likely try veganism again one day, but for now, I’ll just try to reduce the amount of meat I eat, instead while keeping a healthy balance. That should help me manage my weight much more effectively.