14-Days an Almost Vegetarian / Vegan
The concept of becoming vegetarian / vegan at first didn’t seem like something that was appealing to me. As someone who is highly active, always on the go, and at the gym at least 3 times a week, my initial instincts always defaulted to eating good meat with veggies. So naturally I went paleo and saw quick increase or as they say gains!
Though I was seeing results, something internally didn’t seem right. I was constantly fatigued, my eczema and asthma (of which I suffered from early childhood days) was flaring up in times of stress, and my energy always seemed off and inconsistent. I was always constantly surrounded by people who swore by a plant based diet, but my doubts (Where do I get my protein? Will I ever be full? Won’t this negatively effect my training? Etc, etc, etc..) always outweighed my decision to actually make a commitment to change.
The hype of the buzzing Netflix documentary “What the Health” was something I didn’t want to fall into because I had watched a few similar ones which were simply hard to listen to. The truths of the meat and dairy industry (hormones, animal cruelty, politics, negative health effects) were something that always bugged me but never to the point of embrace.
I finally sat down and watched the documentary. The approach was a bit hard to follow but I wanted to be open to relearning some truths that I already know while inviting some new ones. The thing that hit me was the testimony of an overweight lady who was bedridden for years due to asthma and other illnesses. After just 14 days of embracing a plant based diet, the majority of her symptoms subsided and she no longer was dependent on medication to resume her life as it should be. It reminded me of my daily dependence on asthma medication to simply get through the day. Though I thought I was pretty healthy, I realized that I was no different than this lady in many ways. That resounding connection was enough for me to decide for myself that it was time for a change.
Today marks the 14th day of being an almost vegetarian / vegan! You might be questioning why the word “almost” comes into play, and I’ll explain why. After just 2 weeks of (for the most part) committing to eating a plant based diet, here’s what I was able to discover for myself:
1) My Body is Being Cleansed
Just within the first few days, the floodgates of heaven pored out while I sat on the throne (metaphorically) as I felt my body ridding and releasing itself of toxins. I had amazing poops! You know that loving feeling! To me this was a sign that I was cleaning my system while taking in, internalizing, and using the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from vegetables that my body was truly craving. I could also feel my palette changing as flavors from the wide assortment of plants that I either ate fresh or cooked came to life like never before. This was another sign of how the receptors of my palette were previously saturated before when I just didn’t enjoy the taste of eating veggies. To my amazement, I’ve minimally used my asthma medication and have been finding a drastic reduction in wheezing. My sinus congestion has completely cleared, and my breathes are now deeper and cleaner.
2) My Energy Level is High
As someone who juggles 3 jobs (ministry, multimedia, finance), relationships (baby bear, friends and family), self-care (time with God, gym time 3+ times per week), I needed good energy! I could feel within a few days of eating more of a plant based diet that my energy levels started increasing. Previously I would need to nap throughout the day just to make it to the next scheduled event. Now I’m able to generally go through the whole day without additional rest and finding that even by the end of the night, my energy level is still relatively high! My times at the gym have been awesome (true gains!!). Typically doing at least 45-minutes of weight training, I’ve now added 20-minutes of stamina training on the treadmill (I haven’t run in years!) to each workout which I never had the motivation before. Doing regular cardio has upped my stamina, endurance, and breathing. I feel freaking great! Outside of that my attention and focus with people and tasks on daily interactions are more quality as my head feels clear, sharp and confident.
3) My Cooking is Becoming More Creative
With my passion for food as art, ministry, and consumption, I’m constantly trying to find new ways to create new dishes. Taking meat and dairy out of my menu has challenged me to experiment with things that I never cooked with before (more green and colorful veggies, beans and lentils, vegan based substitutes). It has brought to life a new creative side of me as an artist and the joy of being able to cook for others who might have other preconceived notions of finding the enjoyment of a plant based meal.
4) Through Learning and Doing, I’m Able to Educate
Through simply being open to cooking and eating vegetarian / vegan meals, I’ve been learning a lot through reading, having conversations with other people who are like minded, and actually putting what I’ve been learning to practice. Though I’m by no means an expert, I find myself being able to education things that I’ve been learning along the way. Being able to have these discussions with others has reminded me that I need to constantly be teachable with a humble heart. Seeing is believing, and being able to see testimonies of other people as vegetarian / vegan influencers has provided me with a ton of motivation and encouragement.. lots of similarities and parallels to faith.
5) Don’t Be Religious
As excited as I am with these new changes drastically changing the way I live, I’m learning that we need to be respective of other people’s eating habits. What might work for some people might not work for others. Though my hope is that others could be open to making changes for themselves and experience the benefits of a plant based diet, I can’t expect that for everyone. Even for myself, I’m trying not to be religious about what truly qualifies as being vegetarian / vegan because that’s not the heart of why I’m doing this. I’m allowing myself on occasion (though I haven’t done it yet) to enjoy a good steak or some sashimi (but of a higher quality), and if there’s times that I might eat something outside a plant based diet, I’m not going to beat myself over the head about it or get caught up in the semantics of labeling, hence the “almost”. My goal is more about being open to embracing change for myself, and setting my heart to consistently eat 80-90% better than what I was doing before because that’s what works for me.
Well there you have it! Is this diet something I will continue doing? You betcha! I’ve decided to give it another 14-days just to see what will happen because I am loving all of the results. My hope is that through discipline, dedication, and consistency that putting application to awareness can promote better living while encouraging others to do the same!