Is a vegan diet challenging? (My vegan challenge experiment)

zucchini noodles with basil

We’ve all heard the message loud and clear about how bad meat is. I love vegetables, fruit, and nuts so I decided to be vegan for a week as a way to detox. My goal was to eat 300 grams of carbs each day, which seems like a lot, but it isn’t when you’re not eating meat or processed foods. I was concerned about my low protein intake since I cannot stomach beans even after taking digestive enzymes.

On Monday I had my fruit smoothie with a frozen banana, date, cocoa powder, almond milk, and protein powder. I did 30 minutes of intense cardio and a one-hard weight-lifting lower body workout with my trainer. The rest of the day I ate my veggies, grains and fruit. I felt great even though I was only able to eat 240 grams of carbs! On Tuesday, I didn’t feel as energized and wasn’t able to lift as much and could only stomach 225 grams of carbs since carbohydrates fill me up. Wednesday I felt lazy and knew it was because I wasn’t eating enough calories. With each passing day, I felt more tired and more aggravated. By the time Friday came around I admitted to my fitness trainer that I almost cancelled our session. She was shocked because she knows how much I look forward to lifting and setting a new personal record.

A vegan diet is a healthy way to eat but because I cannot tolerate beans or too many carbs, I thought a vegan diet doesn’t work for me. I learned that if a person has trouble digesting beans, it’s best to start with 1/4 cup of beans per day, spread out between meals and add a little more each week to increase tolerance. Now I can eat as many beans as I want!

Initially, my good microbes (from plants) were fighting with the bad microbes (from oil, sugar, meat), which made my stomach hurt. The more good microbes one eats (from fiber rich foods, the easier it is to consume more of them). In other words, eat more of the good stuff and less of the bad foods so your stomach (and all the other organs) will feel and function better.

I was only eating about 40-50 grams of protein per day (1). People who lift and exercise frequently need more protein, so I should have been eating 70 grams per day of protein, which may have had an effect on my energy levels. 

Attitude also has an effect on energy and exercise performance. Since I had a negative attitude towards a vegan diet (I didn’t want to give up eating some of my typical foods), I was unknowingly setting myself up for failure.

Some people can jump into a vegan diet with both feet, while others need to make smaller changes, like switching out one meal. For example: try having a fruit smoothie or oatmeal with berries for breakfast instead of eggs and bacon or sausage.

However you need to eat less animal products and more plant foods, do it your way, never give up, ask for help if you need it, and think positively…you can do it!

P.S. I’m 100% vegan, feel fantastic, lost all the excess weight, have good blood sugar numbers and lower cholesterol levels.

photo: zucchini noodles with fresh basil

(1) Source: Elizabeth Kovar. 6 Diet and Nutrition Myths Debunked Web. June 6, 2016. June 21, 2016.

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