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The perks and problems of being a vegan

Published: Sunday, December 9, 2012

Updated: Sunday, December 9, 2012 20:12

As of Monday, my month-long vegan challenge ended. For the past four weeks I went without eating any animal products, except for Thanksgiving when I had a moment of weakness. I was able to go without eating my staple food items, like eggs and the occasional fillet of salmon, and noticed differences in the way my body felt.

Although I had done research on what to eat to maintain energy and stay healthy, about two weeks in I noticed how tired I was, probably from what I wasn’t including in my diet anymore. But I soon got back on the bandwagon and made sure I was eating all that I needed to.

So now I thought I’d share what I did and didn’t like about this month’s experience.

First off, I know I’ve said this before, but I loved my new sense of will power. It was so easy to pass up on the tasty treats that I would usually think about eating for half an hour, eat three times the amount I should and then regret it afterward because I was so full that I felt sick. I don’t think there have been any days these past month when I felt like that, even though I often find myself eating out of boredom.

Despite the good feelings of being able to say no to foods, I became the designated “Debby Downer.” When I was with my family or a group of my friends I was “that girl” who would send my food back to get it without cheese, or say I couldn’t eat at a certain restaurant because I didn’t know if there was anything I could eat there besides a good ol’ salad.

Another aspect I enjoyed about trying to be a vegan was becoming a little more adventurous. I tend to get stuck in my ways, so it’s fun to throw myself a curve ball and keep the body guessing. I tried new foods that I previously thought would be disgusting — some turned out to be — but the majority were quite tasty.

It seemed like I was always hungry this past month. They say fruits and vegetables, beans, quinoa and oatmeal are supposed to fill you up because of all the protein and fiber they have, but this was not the case with me. Every time I ate an apple I just got hungrier. Why is that? I need someone to explain this mystery to me. All I know is that I just couldn’t fill up the bottomless pit of my hungry stomach, so I would just keep eating.

In spite of my constant eating, I did seem to lose a bit of weight. I don’t know how much to be exact, but I can see a difference in how my clothes fit. My body seems a little leaner and I think this can help with running. This is one of the main reasons I started my vegan challenge: to see how it could help me athletically. In the past month I’ve seen improvements in my running and aerobic ability. That’s the result of consistent training, but none the less, was aided by my healthy diet.

Although my month of veganism is over I think I’m still going to carry on some aspects of my new diet into the months to come and continue to live my healthy lifestyle. I won’t be vegan all day every day. Sometimes I have moments when I feel like I’m in desperate need of a steak, so it will be nice to have the freedom to eat this as I please. I put a lot of effort into this past month to make sure I was not cheating my diet even when I had people telling me it was alright to do so. I know that no one was really watching my every move so I could easily lie, but I wanted to dedicate myself to this and do it the right way.


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