Guys! I'm eating vegan for a week! Lately, I've been really curious about this lifestyle and have wanted to experiment with it, sooooo here goes nothing?
Follow me on Instagram for daily posts, and check back here at the end of each day to see what I ate and how I felt throughout the day.
- Breakfast: routine nice cream (frozen bananas + frozen berries + almond milk + brown rice protein powder) & half whole-wheat tortilla w/ 2 tbsp. natural PB + a tiny bit of homemade jam (thanks Mom!)
- Lunch: edamame + romaine lettuce + Trader Joe's Fire Roasted Bell Peppers & Onions + cucumber + tahini dressing (recipe here)
- Snack: green grapes + almonds + vegan, gluten-free chocolate cookie from Linnaea's Cafe
- Dinner: steamed cauliflower and zucchini + garbanzo beans + brown rice + fingerling potatoes + tahini dressing
- HOW IT WENT: I woke up a little tired, but worked out and felt much more energized. Breakfast was hydrating and satisfying (as always, nice cream never fails) and the perfect amount to eat before my early lunch. I wasn't starving, but I knew I needed something to eat before 5 hours at my internship. I didn't feel weighed down or stuffed, but rather even more hydrated and focused. At around 3:00 pm, I was tired (stayed up too late last night) and hungry (hangry? yeah) so I reached for my green grapes and almonds, and couldn't resist the cookie I'd bought from Linnaea's Cafe earlier. But hey, treat yourself, right?
- DAY 1 = SUCCESS :)
- Breakfast: banana-berry nice cream (same as day 1) + one Quaker brown rice cake topped w/ a little Wild Friends Chocolate Coconut PB
- Lunch: steamed zucchini + fingerling potatoes (leftovers are friends) + Trader Joe's tomato basil hummus w/ a handful of cooked edamame (again, leftovers) + chocolate chip peanut butter Clif bar + an apple
- Dinner: brown rice + Trader Joe's cooked lentils + sauteed mushrooms + steamed cauliflower + spinach + avo slices + tahini sauce
- HOW IT WENT: I woke up feeling hungry, which I love because 1) I'd rather workout on an empty tummy and 2) I'm that much more excited for BREAKFAAASST :) Workout was great - I killed it. No biggie. I was really hungry by 12:30 ish and scarfed down my apple (so gooooood) and lunch came shortly after (also so gooooood). My friend Jeannette and I were both craving a little something more after lunch, so we picked up a couple Clif bars from the market on campus. Mine filled me up until dinner, and I wasn't even super hungry for dinner when the time came, but my friends and I all ate together. And now, I'm full and happy - not stuffed, but not hangry for dessert. SUCCESS YET AGAIN!
- Breakfast - take a guess... NICE CREAM :) but this time, I just blended a bunch of bananas (probably 2, but I don't really know) with almond milk & protein powder & then topped it all w/ some granola from Whole Foods! Washed all that down with 2 dates & sunflower seed butter... yummaaaa.
- Lunch - (not pictured - I was too hungry and totally forgot) lunch was weird, and I probably looked weird eating it, too, but I take no shame in my good food. Especially when it's sweet potatoes and tempeh - loves of my life. I boiled the sweet potato and sliced it into rounds, then topped it with cinnamon and a sprinkle of coconut palm sugar. As for the tempeh, I just grilled it on a pan with a tiny bit of oil - I forgot to marinate it, but it still tasted good! This meal felt really starchy as I ate it and for a little while after, so I walked around (I was in Downtown SLO with zero motivation to do hw) and stretched my legs, and a half-hour later I felt happily full and satisfied :)
- Snack - (also not pictured) a little protein ball, similar to my peanut-butter-pumpkin ones (it's pumpkin season, by the way) from Bliss Cafe :) I love those people!
- Dinner - *angelic voices singing* brown rice + black beans + fajita vegetables + mild salsa + guac = chipotle's finest, least expensive, most nutritious meal. And I was lucky enough to enjoy it :) this is my go-to order, and it always fills me up deliciously!
- Dessert - I had some green grapes at around 10 pm because they sounded really yummy and I was craving them!
- HOW IT WENT: another day down, and I'm still feeling so energetic and light! I didn't workout in the morning, mostly because I wanted to save my energy for the farmers' market (setting up, taking down, and everything in between constitutes enough of a workout in my book), but I wasn't sluggish at all during the day. I also wasn't bloated at all before or after eating any of my meals! That's probably the highlight of the last few days for me - I haven't felt extremely full, but I've also been able to eat more than usual. The week is going well so far :) I'm making adjustments as needed, meal-prepping each morning, and enjoying, appreciating, and loving this food and lifestyle!
- Breakfast: ice cream with an "n' = nice cream! The creamy, fruity, sweet usual :) I was pretty full after this, and was kind of in a hurry to get out the door so nice cream was it.
- Lunch: paaaaaaancakes, duh. I re-heated a few frozen protein pancakes from this recipe and paired it with PB, agave, and cinnamon! Oh, and I had my Cherry Pie LaraBar, too... hungry is my name and I'm proud to wear it!
- Snack: a few raw carrots around 4 pm thanks to my lovely friend Grace did the trick to keep me from showing off my "hangry" side. Raw carrots are my go-to snack when I need a little extra fuel, something cold, or a vegan option (haha).
- Dinner: I went to Trader Joe's with some friends as I slowly but surely slid closer and closer to my "hangry" side, but I can always count on Trader Joe's to have samples, and this time they were all vegan-friendly! Some hummus and a pita chip, and a cracker with an avocado-chickpea salad and I barely avoided my "hangry"ness. When I finally got home, dinner was pretty similar to what it has been lately (I promise, I usually eat more of a variety, but I bought tons of veggies in bulk so I need to use them) - a big plate of brown rice, beans, steamed cauliflower, sauteed portobello mushroom with avocado and tahini :) THE BEST.
- HOW IT WENT: Lesson learned - protein pancakes are not enough for lunch. I wasn't necessarily craving anything, but I still felt like I need more food. Maybe it wasn't enough volume? Anyway, I felt energized and full otherwise! After dinner, I watched "101 Reasons to Be Vegan".... YIKES. I balled my eyes out. If you haven't seen it yet, please take just an hour of your day or night or whenever and listen to what this video has to say. It's not gory and bloody or rude and aggressive when it comes to promoting veganism; it points out a ton of statistics and evidence that reveal and reinforce the scary side of factory farming.
PAUSE - HERE'S WHAT I'VE NOTICED THUS FAR
- ENERGY LEVEL: You've heard me say this, like, five times already, but I've felt so much more energetic without eating any animal products. When I wake up in the morning, just give me a minute or two to go potty and brush my teeth and I'm pumped up and ready for the day. Maybe it's because there isn't much food still sticking around in my stomach from the previous day? Maybe it's because I'm naturally cutting out processed foods? Eating more carbohydrates? Or all of the above? Probably!
- SKIN IMPROVEMENT: Bye-bye pimples! My skin is genetically prone to breakouts, so I've been dealing with them since I was twelve. Throughout my eating disorder and especially my recovery, I noticed significantly clearer skin and fewer breakouts. Then, when I transitioned to vegetarianism almost a year ago, my skin looked even brighter, felt smoother, and only saw one or two pimples in about eight months, and those improvements lasted much longer when I didn't consume much dairy. I can't wait to see what long-term effects a vegan diet will have on my complexion!
- DIGESTION: Yepp - my digestive system has never been this happy :) I guess I should credit that to the tons of fiber in my diet, huh? Beans: check. Bananas: check. Whole grains: check. While these foods have been known to cause gas and bloating, I haven't noticed half as much of those two discomforts in these past few days as I had when I paired them with meat and dairy. I realized how silly I sounded by subbing out dairy milk for almond milk, but continuing to eat Greek yogurt and cheese while taking a probiotic each night. Why don't I just not eat any dairy? Ahhhhh, digestive happiness :)
- BREAKFAST: Breakfast this morning was at about 9 am, after a sunrise hike with two beauties from my bible study. Watching the sun emerge from behind/beneath thick white clouds - no matter how exhausted, thirsty, or hungry I am - will be one of the most rewarding spiritual activities I take part in at 7 am. Absolute beauty. Anyway, my friends and I found a cute little breakfast spot - The Breakfast Buzz - not far away (we were starving). Pancakes, waffles, breakfast burritos and more jumped out at me as soon as I opened the menu, but I stuck with my gut and asked for a breakfast sandwich minus the egg, cheese, and mayo on whole wheat bread with a side of fruit. I ate every last bite and did not feel one bit deprived :)
- LUNCH: My lunches have a habit of being, well, weird. I had almonds with a few raisins and steamed sweet potatoes. All of it tasted absolutely delicious, but I felt a little bloated afterward. I think it was the raisins paired with the almonds - that combo always makes me stomach feel a little funky.
- SNACK: I polished off a banana and then a rice cake topped with hummus, lettuce, and leftover grilled tempeh. This definitely filled me up, which was kind of not what I was going for, since I was heading over to a friend's house soon for dinner.
- DINNER: (picture coming soon) I really wasn't that hungry when dinner came around, but I did have some of the pasta salad I brought with. I tossed some quinoa and corn elbow pasta with chickpeas, frozen eggplant and zucchini from Trader Joe's, sliced cherry tomatoes, steamed green beans, and steamed cauliflower and used Balsamic vinegar for the dressing. Luckily, everyone else liked it, too!
- BREAKFAST: it was freeeeeeezing and raining outside today, but I stuck with my nice cream! I was surprisingly full afterwards, but still indulged in a few dates with some PB a few hours later. YUMMMM.
- LUNCH: I revamped the conventional PB & J your mom used to pack in your lunch... Have you ever tried sunflower seed butter? Have you ever tried Trader Joe's Pumpkin Butter? HAVE YOU EVER PAIRED THEM TOGETHER BETWEEN TWO SLICES OF BREAD? I have. And I melted in ooey, gooey SB & PB (sunflower seed butter & peanut butter) sandwich. This is going to become a regular thing, just sayin'.
- SNACK: green grapes + carrots. I love love love grapes! So juicy and crispy and sweet :) I wasn't feeling the raw carrots, so I popped them in the microwave to warm them up and soften them a little.
- DINNER: Bowl of Comfort - recipe here! I wasn't even planning on making this a recipe, mostly because I had no idea how this concoction of rice and broccoli and avocado and my first frozen meal in a long time would turn out. Buuuut it was so so so good! Tahini pulls everything together and ties a pretty pink bow on top, and it did not fall short in this bowl :) I was looking for something to, well, comfort me in the midst of tons of stress before a hectic week, and this bowl did the trick!
- HOW IT WENT: So, I've been a tad bit stressed and anxious lately about these next few weeks - midterms, flying out of town, and just plain old life, and I think it's taking a toll on my physically. My digestion has slowed and I feel a little more lethargic - not fun! I'm trying to keep myself calm and put things in perspective, and I think the way I've been eating is actually helping me relax. My body has been liking the ratio of carbs to protein to fat I've been feeding it, and this is something I definitely want to stick with!
DAY 7 (LAST DAY!)
- BREAKFAST: don't worry - I switched it up today! Instead of my usual frozen berries, I blended some frozen mango chunks for a twist on my morning routine. Mangoes are a rare appearance in my fridge, which is mostly because I find them a little difficult and awkward to eat, but these frozen chunks are super easy to toss in smoothies or nice cream.
- SNACK: munched on a rice cake topped with some chocolate PB, hoping for some of those antioxidants and other goodies to calm me down. I've been so anxious lately and I really just want to breeeeeathe. Peanut butter, chocolate, please please send help.
- LUNCH: I ate lunch around 1:00 p.m. - just some leftover pasta salad from the other night. It was a big bowl but I ate all of it, and I ate it while cramming in some reading for my next class. I'm trying not to multitask while eating, but sometimes I need to get ish done, you know? Anyway, the pasta was a little dry and I forgot to drink water throughout, but I didn't feel too weird afterwards.
- SNACK: yes, I had another snack. I debated whether or not I really wanted it, but around 5:00 I decided to treat myself, thinking maybe it'd make the last hour of class a little less... long? Ugh, class. I brought a new LaraBar with me today - peanut butter cookie! SO GOOD. How these people actually make this bar taste like a peanut butter cookie by only using dates and peanuts will forever be a mystery to me. And that's okay, because they're so good at what they do! Props to you, LaraPeople.
- DINNER: This stress is definitely taking a toll on me - I don't have as big of an appetite right now. But I just want to want to eat! You know? To put some food in my tummy, I baked a couple small potatoes, steamed some carrots, and dipped them in homemade ketchup and hummus. No matter how much I didn't want food, this dinner was pretty darn good!
- HOW IT WENT: Ahhhh the final day of my trial! As I said before, I didn't have much of an appetite today, but I still ate because, well, why wouldn't I? I'm laying in bed right now, not uncomfortably full, but more full than I should be with how little my dinner was. I'm heading to bed as soon as I finish typing, so hopefully some rest will set me back on track. Check back in tomorrow!