Even though I’ve jumped between vegetarian and pescatarian the last three years, I never, ever thought I would have the willpower to begin a Vegan, plant-based diet. The thought of cutting out brie, butter and Kraft Dinner absolutely terrified me. All of my absolute guilty pleasures were some sort of cheesy indulgence.
After my Barcelona trip, I really felt like I needed a restart. This past year has been challenging and fast-paced – and I started to feel more and more anxious. I was tired, sort of irritable and was the heaviest I had been in the last two years (fluctuating between 10 to 15 pounds more than my usual weight). Something needed to change.
It’s been almost 4 months since I made the switch over to a plant-based diet – and let me tell you, it’s just what my body needed. I wanted to give you all a breakdown of what the first 4 weeks felt like, the changes I experienced, and what got me through the challenges.
I was. always. hungry. No freakin’ joke! I was focusing so much on what I couldn’t eat, couldn’t have and couldn’t cook.
I ended up spending a small fortune at Whole Foods on pre-made vegan “meats” and “cheeses”. It’s not the best diet but definitely helpful when going through the transition. The only problem with these is that they aren’t the healthiest, and they can get quite pricey.
I did a lot of research of what vitamins to take. I almost immediately began to take a B12 supplement – it helps with brain function and energy. I saw changes instantly – suddenly all the brain fog was gone!
My sense of smell was also getting a lot more keen – when my friends would order food at restaurants, I felt that I could guess all the ingredients of their food with just one sniff. Weird, I know.
Another super interesting thing that I noticed was that my KP (keritosis pilaris, aka the bumps on the back on my arms) magically went away. My arms have never been smoother! I confidently feel that this had to do with my diet change.
My cooking skills *or lack thereof* have flourished! All the pastas and rice started to make me feel sluggish, so I began to experiment with a spiralizer and shredding veggies to give them different textures. I also started to pin a lot more vegan recipes to keep things fresh!
Since I was picking up mostly produce (and not buying much premade), I found that grocery shopping wasn’t too expensive. I would go weekly and just pick up some veggies for the next few dishes I needed. My fave dish so far was a vegan lasagna!
By week 4, eating plant-based became a lot easier. They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit – but I would argue for myself – it definitely takes over a month. I definitely find myself craving different foods, green juices (which I never used to like before) and fruits – rather than just Kraft Dinner.
A lot of people who know I’ve made this transition have asked me if I have lost any weight – and the true answer is that I’m not too sure. I fluctuate a lot due to stress. I’m not sure if I’m any lighter but I sure do feel slimmer. There’s less bloat, and my clothes have been fitting a lot better. I’ve lost about 5-10 pounds as of my compared to before – but at the same time it’s only been 4 months as I write this. Losing weight (the healthy way) is a slow process and different for everyone!
Another FAQ I get is how do I eat at restaurants – to be honest, it’s still difficult and I tend to stick to salads, bowls and vegan restaurants like Fresh. I’m lucky that I live in Toronto where they have lots of food options.
I’m not sure if being plant-based is right for everyone – but I know it’s the right thing for me right now. I have a lot more energy and my body is responding super well. I also am very passionate about learning more about veganism as I continue this journey and learn more about how I can make better choices for my body and the world. Let’s go!