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I’m Going Vegan for a Month

After speaking to a friend of mine over at MidwestVeg.com about my frustrations with my weight and then watching documentaries such as Vegucated, Forks Over Knives, and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, I have decided to eat a plant based diet, or Vegan diet, for thirty days.

Today is day six and everything is going fine. My only struggle would be my inner battle with cheese and I’m fairly positive that I’ll most likely end up vegetarian (as I was a few years ago) than completely Vegan.

I don’t have meat cravings, am eating plenty (still counting calories as well) and I believe I’ve lost a bit of weight as well. I think I have it easier than most because I do truly love almost all vegetables, most fruits, nuts, and grains. I also live near many Trader Joe’s grocery stores and Whole Food Markets, PLUS since I live so close to Chicago, I have access to vegetarian / vegan restaurants as well.

In the photo above, you’ll see a lot of processed and pre-made products, some of them are soy based. No fear though! I actually am sensitive to two food products, eggplant and soy. I can have soy in smaller amounts and those products are simply so I can TRY what’s out there and granted, these will last me and my family (if they choose to eat them) anywhere from 3-4 months. I’ve also not shown our PACKED refrigerator of fresh produce, freezer and separate freezer of frozen produce, and pantry shelves with whole grains, seeds, nuts, and so on!

I’ve so far tried the Daiya Cheese in Pepper-jack and it’s not too bad melted as I didn’t try it straight out of the bag. It has a VERY creamy texture to it. I think it would go very well as a nacho topping or taco topping.

I also tried the Tofutti brand of sour cream last night and it wasn’t as tangy as dairy based sour cream but it did work well with my dinner.

Another reason for going Vegan for a month is if it will alleviate my migraines. It’s too soon to tell but it’d be nice to at the very least not have so many each month. Another reason is strictly health. This past Friday night I ended up in the ER after days and days of intense chest pain that radiates through my shoulder and arm on my left side. If that doesn’t sound scary I don’t know what does!

It’s NOT my heart or my lungs, they believe it’s NOT an embolism… basically they have no idea what is causing it except it could be nerve trauma or Tietze Syndrome but they don’t know anything for sure. So I’ve been in near constant pain for over a week now. I read that eliminating animal products could help the pain so that’s yet another reason to do this.

So there you go! I am 100% committed, so much so that I had my husband return the ground meat, pork, and turkey products I had purchased recently back to the grocery store!

I’d love for you to share your favorite Vegetarian / Vegan blogs, books, and resources with me. I really love the following blogs:

Do you think you could (or have you ever / currently) eat a Vegan or plant based food diet? Let me know in the comments!

Edited to add:

After talking to a friend of mine and my husband, I’ve decided to take the soy products BACK to the store because I am sensitive to soy overall and didn’t see myself using them (all but three products were still unopened). I’ve also decided to re-introduce cheese (real Parmesan, fresh mozzarella, and chipotle cheddar) back into my diet.

So far I’ve noticed a major decrease in my energy levels in the two weeks I’ve been doing this, I don’t think it’s due to eating a plant-based diet per say but it has crossed my mind. I’ve also noticed I’ve not lost any weight JUST by eating a plant-based diet either. I’m also calorie counting and yes, even butternut squash can add up pretty quickly!

I also spent two hours reading about vegan weight loss and was a bit dismayed at how it’s portrayed as a myth. I completely understand the logic of “junk food vegans” however I eat more than enough plant foods, beans, whole grains (like quinoa) and so on to feel I don’t qualify as a junk food vegan. Also, Lori’s comment really stuck out to me. I always feel like if I do something I have to do it 110%, hardcore and really that’s set me up for failure.

I just feel a bit lost right now, food wise / weight wise.

This post is over a year old which means the content may be outdated or no longer accurate.

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posted on November 13th 2012 at 9:34AM CST

I’ve fallen off-the-wagon on my plant-strong eating the past couple months, but when I was doing it strictly for a couple months I lost about 25 pounds, had increased energy, and my headaches went away. As far as sites, I love http://fatfreevegan.com/ because she has tons of recipes! Also, I follow Dr. Fuhrman (http://www.drfuhrman.com/) and Rip’s Engine 2 Diet ) for guidance on my eating. Good luck!

posted on November 13th 2012 at 7:17PM CST

I still need to count calories though because grains are still high-cal. I am curious though if this is the jump start I need health wise.

posted on November 13th 2012 at 11:18AM CST

Hi there! Great post! I found that when I went GF and cut back on dairy I felt so much better and lighter inside. I felt even more amazing after going fast food free for 40 days in 2011 (I was eating fast food 4+ a week, no bun hamburgers, etc.) I was amazed that my cravings for almost everything went away after the 40 days…I lost 45lbs over the next 6 months.

I hope going vegan helps your migraines and you start feeling better. I bet after 2 weeks you’ll see a difference. :)

posted on November 13th 2012 at 7:18PM CST

OH yes, fast food is SUCH a downfall even the “healthy” local restaurants… not only financially but health wise too! I’m hoping my cravings for “outside food” die down soon… part of it, granted, is that sometimes I’m just too tired to cook lol.

I really REALLY would love a reduction in my migraines, that would be amazing!

Kristina Brooke
posted on November 20th 2012 at 1:01AM CST

I second going Gluten Free. We started out doing Paleo and while we fell off, I can honestly say that giving up gluten, sugar, and most diary (we eat homemade yogurt, kefir, and some cheeses), my migraines have stopped and so have my horrible allergy/asthma attacks. I was a real vegetarian for 4 years and NEVER lost weight and was extremely tired all the time.

I recommend that you view The Weston Prive Foundation site and read Nourishing Traditions and Wheat Belly.

Good luck!

posted on November 20th 2012 at 1:03AM CST

I actually read Wheat Belly a week ago and found it very interesting. To my understanding it means literally giving up ONLY wheat while keeping corn/rices still? I don’t really eat sweet foods (I’ve always been more for over-eating everything else lol) but I do eat whole wheat and whole grain pasta (I rarely eat bread).

Kristina Brooke
posted on November 20th 2012 at 1:50AM CST

Yes, however, I would recommend giving up corn all together as it is probably one of the most genetically altered foods and there is NO nutritional value to it at all. In fact, you are better off eating cardboard than corn as at least you would get fiber! LOL.

Have you read about GAPS? You may want to look into that to see what is causing your migraines. It is very much an elimination eating plan that starts with cleansing your system and then slowly adding things back in to see how you tolerate it. My husband and I did that too and it worked wonders for us as I learned that sugar in almost any form is my enemy and that eating a low-protein diet causes me massive headaches, and that my daughter cannot take yeast.

BTW- in my previous comment, that should have read “The Weston Price Foundation” not Prive.

posted on November 26th 2012 at 10:37PM CST

My migraines are caused by changes in barometric pressure, hormones (that time of month, yay!), and stress. Sadly I can’t avoid ANY OF THEM. I wish WISH sometimes it was easier like “skip the red wine and you’ll be pain free!”.

Amanda Jillian
posted on November 13th 2012 at 11:44AM CST

I really should do this. I only eat chicken and I’m lactose intolerant. Plus I too need to lose weight.

posted on November 13th 2012 at 7:19PM CST

I don’t find it all that hard to do with the exception of the dairy for me personally. I still have to count calories though just due to grains / nuts but we shall see (as it’s been one week already) if I notice a big change in the next three weeks!

Amanda Jillian
posted on November 14th 2012 at 2:17PM CST

Let me know!

posted on November 13th 2012 at 1:48PM CST

Good for you! I hope this helps with the pain you have been having and with weight loss! To be really honest, I don’t think I could do it. I tried the juicing life after watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and I had horrible side effects from it and had to give up after the eighth day. I think about doing it again from time to time and just substituting a meal or two for a juice and trying it that way. I may. I do enjoy vegetarian and vegan meals, but I don’t think I could do it all the time. While I’m not a big meat eater, I love my poultry and fish.

posted on November 13th 2012 at 7:21PM CST

I’m not sure I could do the juicing fast without some sort of severe and drastic health issue but going Vegan for a bit or even Vegetarian for a lifetime isn’t SO hard for me and especially compared to when I went Vegetarian a few years ago… the products out today make it much easier and restaurants are more able to provide food that fit within those guidelines too!

I think just cutting BACK on animal products is helpful overall, like to 1-2x a week rather than 3-7x a week.

posted on November 13th 2012 at 2:30PM CST

I hope going vegan helps with your health issues! I cut down on dairy and eggs, although I haven’t cut either out altogether–I’ve gotten to the point where I consider cheese to be a treat more than a staple. My favorite vegetarian cookbook is Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker–lots of vegan ideas too and it’s all really easy, delicious stuff.

posted on November 13th 2012 at 7:23PM CST

I am not a “cheese on everything!” sort of person but geez, am I missing on my chipotle cranberry sharp cheddar, parmesan, and fresh mozzarella lately! I put that book on hold with the library, hopefully it comes in soon. I LOVE our slow cooker.

Nicole P.
posted on November 13th 2012 at 10:05PM CST

Good luck! I could never give up cheese. I hope it helps with your health. I know of people who went vegan and swear by it for health reasons.

Smitten Kitchen’s new cookbook is chock full of vegetarian dishes. I like that because I’m not a big veggie eater so I’m always looking for new ways to make them so my kids don’t pick my bad habits!

posted on November 14th 2012 at 12:05AM CST

Yeah long term I’d be a better vegetarian because cheese? I need it lol. OHH I’ll have to see if the library has that cookbook!

posted on November 13th 2012 at 11:36PM CST

Talk about extreme opposites! I just started back on the high-protein, low-carb eating last week. :) Best of luck!

posted on November 14th 2012 at 12:04AM CST

LOL! See I have ZERO restraint when it comes to food, which is why I also have to calorie count. And my biggest favorites are in fact meat and cheese! So this is a better way to eat eat eat without eating like 5,000 calories a day. I could knock down a bar of cheese in 30 min EASY lol.

posted on November 14th 2012 at 1:43PM CST

How ironic that I just posted a Vegan Pumpkin Bread recipe that I changed from the original because of how much white flour, oil and sugar it contained. It still has a lot but with the replacement of whole wheat flour, apple sauce and not packing the brown sugar it’s significantly reduced. You might find it a good alternative as a Thanksgiving dessert. That’s my plan anyway. Good luck in your goals!

posted on November 16th 2012 at 12:53AM CST

Oh please come back and link to your recipe!

posted on November 17th 2012 at 12:28PM CST

Here you go Sarah : http://shaarillas-kitchen.blogspot.com/2012/11/vegan-pumpkin-bread.html

posted on November 26th 2012 at 10:38PM CST

Thank you!

posted on November 15th 2012 at 8:12AM CST

I have also been thinking about going vegetarian for a week. Not as a weight loss attempt, but as an attempt to step outside of my comfort zone. The big problem is that I really like meat. I love Boca burgers, but really you can only have so much. I thought I would try low carb for a week, too. Sadly, I don’t think I have the discipline for it.

Good luck with what you’re working towards.

posted on November 16th 2012 at 12:54AM CST

I really haven’t lost much weight at all, one can still binge eat on “healthy” food heh. Even all plant based!

I LOVE meat. Especially beef, the rarer the better. I’m doing this to stop eating so much of it and to help eliminate my cravings.

posted on November 15th 2012 at 8:53AM CST

I consider myself borderline vegan-I do eat ice cream occasionally and I eat wild fish and turkey raised w/o antibiotics. I’ve been eating this way for many years. What I’ve learned is that creating your own diet is OK and it might not necessarily fit into one single category: vegetarian, vegan etc…. Do what works for you and makes your very best. I share vegan recipes from time to time and I love OhMyVeggies! Good luck!

posted on November 16th 2012 at 2:05AM CST

Thank you so much Lori!

posted on November 16th 2012 at 8:28PM CST

I think more than anything else CLEAN eating and eating real foods is the most important part of the diet. Whether one chooses to be vegan, vegetarian, or anything else. You can cut out all you want, but if what you are still eating is crap it wont help. Hopefully you will find the right mix for you and your body and along with the calorie counting you will see the results that you want. :)
(Hopefully when I have this kid I’ll be a little better about resuming my search to find the right mix of animal and plant for my diet too. I have kinda fallen off the wagon for a lot of my better practices :/ )

posted on November 16th 2012 at 10:09PM CST

Well, I don’t eat crappy, just too much of the “good” stuff. Not joking, I can eat 2 butternut squashes all by myself! I just struggle with the day in and day out of measuring/weighing/THINKING about food.

posted on November 16th 2012 at 8:53PM CST

The thought that you will lose weight JUST because you are vegan is a myth. Calories are calories. If you are eating the same amount of calories and you aren’t exercising (as long as you were eating pretty healthy foods before which it seemed you were) then you aren’t going to see a change on the scale.

At the end of the day do what works best for YOU. If you are low on energy that’s your body telling you it needs a change and it sounds like you are taking steps in the right direction to fix the issue.

posted on November 16th 2012 at 10:18PM CST

Well I’m going by MyFitnessPal so I’m eating just under 1800 calories right now.

I am frustrated that for the past decade (I gained all the weight with my oldest and just… stayed there) I keep trying and just… a week, a month, even a year and I give up. I get SO overwhelmed by dealing with food. Measuring, weighing, and having to think about food constantly. I do menu plan but even that can take me a full week of obsessing over it.

I know this is a learned behavior (my father is very obese, my mother struggled with her weight, and so on) but I don’t know how to break it.

On the plus side, I bought a kettlebell last night, seems interesting!

posted on November 17th 2012 at 12:28AM CST

I went vegan for a month earlier in the year and am still doing it. Is working well for me, with supplements (vitamin/mineral pills). I was a lacto-veg before so it wasn’t too big a leap. Hope you enjoy it! I am so envious of that jar of vegenaise. The only vegan mayo you can buy where I live is disgusting. btw – If you haven’t tried it – the Trader Joes chocolate coconut milk ice cream is just as nice as milk ice cream – delicious!

posted on November 18th 2012 at 7:32AM CST

Perhaps you should try a progressive elimination diet like this one: http://www.nourishingmeals.com/2010/01/elimination-and-detoxification-diet-its.html?m=1 instead of going vegan? It is more progressive and that way you can really identify what triggers your migraines and lack of weight loss. I feel really tired these days so I’m probably going to try it soon.

posted on November 24th 2012 at 9:55PM CST

I’ve been mostly plant-based for just over a year now. It’s probably helped me get back to my pre-baby weight, and I feel good, not tired, in spite of my sleep deprivation due to baby not sleeping all night. I love, love, love The Happy Herbivore, http://happyherbivore.com/. I have two of her cookbooks and cook mainly from them. They are easy recipes using things that are easy and inexpensive to stock your pantry with. She also has meal plans, if that makes it easier. I tend to skip the meat substitutes because they’re high in fat and I don’t really miss it. Apparently the reason cheese is so hard to give up is that it is literally addictive. http://dsc.discovery.com/life/is-cheese-addictive.html I still crave it once in a while, and might have a little when I’m out, but I don’t buy it to use at home. Good luck, and I do hope you feel better soon!

posted on March 21st 2014 at 5:40PM CDT

How did your vegan month turn out? I got rid of my migraines year ago by removing beef from my diet. I have been on a whole food plant based diet for over 2 years now and I haven’t been sick since then, not even a cold. I lost 25 lbs, and returned to the weight and energy of when I was 25, and now I am 46.

posted on March 21st 2014 at 8:08PM CDT

It turns out that I really can’t have grains as a whole or very many carbs and I wasn’t really able to go raw vegan. I’ve gone 98% grain free and legume free and I’ve dropped 15lbs since January and like you, I haven’t gotten sick this past winter at all.

I’ve never had a problem getting my veggies in my diet, but I think the grains is what was causing a lot of my health and weight related issues sadly.

posted on March 21st 2014 at 9:23PM CDT

Having grains is not really a big deal, we don’t need much of them. I eat spelt once in a while but that is it. I do eat pseudo-grains like quinoa all the time though, which is really a seed and not a true grain. it has similar nutritional value as a grain though. These gluten grains like common wheat is the problem. The common wheat we eat is basically a GMO crop which has altered its genetic structure. I believe this is why so many people have gluten issues nowadays. Throughout the day I basically eat fruits and vegetables and for my last meal I will have some quinoa, chickpeas, or some split peas.

posted on March 21st 2014 at 9:28PM CDT

Congratulations for not getting sick. :) I hate being sick. Loving this new health of mine. Enjoy yours.

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