So as most of my followers know, we followed a plant based diet on our journey. We were already vegan but we really were reaching to change some things along the way.
I do have to say that I have learned a lot about myself and our lifestyle that really opened my eyes to a lot. During the first week, most of you know I started off trying to do things way to strict! I didn’t know what I was putting myself through at first because I never even took into consideration the facts of life such as…
One, I was breastfeeding and this lead me to be constantly hungry. It wasn’t because I naturally wasn’t eating enough, (because my portions were great) but it had to do with the fact that a plant based diet is naturally lower in calories due to all of the fruits and veggies. Now, essentially this wouldn’t be bad for someone who is trying to lose weight and wants to eat as much as they can, but for someone who wants to do that alone and is breastfeeding, I would have a bill and receipt about two miles long before I actually felt satisfied on fruits and veggies alone
Two, our colder weather here and the fact that we have to rely on imported fruits really had a lot of leverage over what I had available to eat at the time. I was focusing mostly on fruits (which is essentially a good thing) but then failed to realize that unless I was buying all frozen fruits then I was going to have to wait to have them through the day until they were ripe.
Three, we have a very busy lifestyle, and sometimes that’s going to require me to have to give in to some of my dietary wishes whether I like it or not. (Unless of course I want to go without eating.) But this too has also taught me that even though I might have to eat something that “Is not what I wish I could have” (of course there are vegan options, but not always without gluten or oil) that I can still jump right back on the good eating train for dinner that evening.
A plant based diet is not about restriction, its about making healthier choices when you have the ability to.
I have learned how to properly make choices for food that have much less ingredients. Meaning, no additives such as sugar, guar gum, xanthan gum and others of sorts of ingredients and thickeners that we find a far call from nature. Companies use thickeners for almond milks and other baked goods and I didn’t realize how often they were used.
So, needless to say I tried to keep in mind that simplicity is key. When I looked for a corn tortilla, I found a corn tortilla with just corn flour, water and lime. And I even found an Organic, Non-GMO soy milk with literally JUST soybeans and water.
I have learned that making my own dressings was much easier than I anticipated. There are so many things you can make with cashews for dressings that I didn’t realize before, and I didn’t even need to use oil.
Cooking without oils was MUCH easier than I thought it would be. I thought even when I roasted veggies in the oven that I had to coat them in oil in order for them to cook! Especially when making potato wedge fries! But that wasn’t the case, I always added a splash of water and just kept keeping an eye on them. They were soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. (As I coated them with almond flour and spices).
For the most of this journey my husband and I decided to stick with smoothies for breakfast, and a large jar of juice. I even noticed that my sweet tooth had went away because I was eating more fruit, and when I thought I wanted something sweet I reached for a mango and felt satisfied! (I never realized how important fruit was for this reason. It’s often why we crave sweets.)
Overtime we found that our appetite for larger meals had decreased and we desire less food now to stay satisfied. (That’s a plus for the bills)! This we both found to be significantly wonderful due to the fact that I would nearly inhale an entire veggie burger and be hungry for another one.
I find that this experience has made me feel a little more humble about food. I now feel better about “Splurging” once in a while on a sweet vegan brownie knowing that I will also still be looking forward to a big green smoothie the next morning, or even for dinner!
Everything in moderation.
What stuck out the most to me during this experience was that the more I ate fruits and veggies the more I craved them. I even heard myself say I was craving a green smoothie for dinner once! That’s a long shot from where I used to be.
Needless to say, I would encourage anyone to try and follow a mostly gluten free (or entirely), oil free, sugar free, non-processed diet. As it is not hard at all and you may even surprise yourself and learn a lot! And always remember, including herbs into your diet such as cilantro, parsley and basil in salads and meals can help encourage both a healthy gut, detox assistance and a healthy immune system!
Stay healthy my friends, and stay tuned to our you tube channel for a vegan and plant based “What I Eat In A Day” with Michigan Alternative Vegan.