Health & Fitness

Eating a Plant-Based Diet, Going Vegan | Week 1

First week eating plant-based

My decision to change my diet to being completely plant-based was somewhat out of the blue. Years ago I explored what it was to be a vegan and vegetarian, but I never made the switch to either. There was always one reason of another that I was not ready to commit, such as not wanting to explain my choice to others, and I felt that it was just plain easier not to. A diet change such as this is a full blown lifestyle change, considering how much it cuts out. Now twenty-eight, I finally feel that I’m ready to transition to a completely plant-based diet.

I never particularly loved eating eggs, meat or dairy, but I did out of convenience. Growing up I never wanted to eat red meat, but I listened to my parents insisting that I needed to and I would douse the meat in ketchup in order to please my parents. I also hated milk even as a child and was able to get away with not drinking it for the most part. I specifically remember telling my Mom that I couldn’t because it smelled weird. I can’t remember the last time I had straight milk, I’ve used whole milk for my coffee here and there and I’m big fan of ice cream, but other than that it’s been several years since I’ve had straight milk. I started buying milk alternatives as soon as I learned that such a thing existed (my favorite is Ripple).

For the most part I have been eating roughly 80% plant-based. I have hardly bought any red meat, chicken, or processed meat in the past two years. For the past year I say that my diet closely resembles the Mediterranean diet (think seafood, olives, herbs, feta). And lately my lunches have been cucumbers, red peppers, sprouts, hummus, and red onion on sprouted bread. About a month ago I wanted to eat more plant-based, but I remember feeling really bloated and overall not feeling a 100. The difference between now and then is that I’m not experimenting with a diet, instead I’m being fully committed and I did my research specifically looking for any type of deficiencies and body changes that anyone switching to a plant-based diet needs to keep an eye on. The three deficiencies that I found for vegans are B-12, iron, and zinc. I’ve been taking a complete B-Complex supplement every day for the past two years, and was considering upping up to two a day. However, the recommended daily amount is 2.4 mcg and 1 tablet contains 83.34 mcg. To anyone that has been following a plant-based diet, do you take any of these supplements or what do you recommend for avoiding any B-12, iron, or zinc deficiencies?

While doing my research on deficiencies, I’ve also been reading up on veganism to learn more about items that surprisingly have animal products in them. I have to admit that not one day has gone by this week that I haven’t google’d something to check whether it’s vegan or not.

Now being completely in control of what I buy, living in a city that is vegan-friendly, and not caring about being a burden on other people (ie family during holidays), I decided that it would be now or never if I was ever going to go through this change. It’s been a week since I’ve made the decision and I’m currently in a transition phase; I had my last

eggs three days ago, and I still have shrimp and a salmon filet in my freezer, and some goat cheese but I’m considering just giving these away since I don’t want these items to go to waste, and I don’t feel like eating them.

vegan essentials at whole food 1

During the first few days I was so excited I was having a hard time staying asleep, I wanted to speed through the transition phase and go grocery shopping ASAP. For my first plant-based grocery trip I didn’t want to buy too much, just enough to get through the 7-9 days and pick up a few essentials that would last longer. Here’s what I bought:

  • Fruits: Bananas ($), grapes ($$$), raspberries ($), lemons ($)
  • Vegetables: Kale ($), red cabbage ($), snow peas ($), corn ($), red onion ($), red peppers ($$), baby spinach and arugula ($)
  • Soy Meat: Tofu ($), tempeh ($)
  • Essentials/Pantry Items: Sunflower seeds, hemp seeds ($$$), cashews ($), quinoa ($$), tahini ($$), garbanzo beans aka chickpeas ($), acai powder ($$$), coconut – shredded ($), nutritional yeast ($$), zinc supplement ($), Ripple Original plant-based milk ($), sweet chili sauce ($)

So far, I’ve made a couple acai bowls, veggie stir frys, quinoa based Buddha bowls, and tofu scramble. How did I do for my first plant-based grocery trip? Let me know if I missed anything that I should be including in my diet.

For week two, I’m traveling to Chicago where I’ll be for three days. So I will have a new update on how all of that goes.

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