For years, I have led a flegan lifestyle, encouraging the importance of prioritizing a plant-based diet, but also not forgetting to live a life inclusive of indulging once and awhile, eliminating limitations.
Struggling to Feel Like Myself.
Over the holidays, I was struggling to feel like myself. Naturally, I turned to balanced nutrition, routine and movement but my energy was so low I thought I was getting the flu despite my reluctant decision to get vaccinated this year. I began increasing my animal protein to quickly elevate my B12 and iron levels, but the look of meat made my stomach turn, and my mind feel foggy. In early January, I began training for the 2020 Boston Marathon, a race that typically lights a fire in my core, but despite the its proximity, my gut was still telling me my body needed something different.
Rewind to 2012.
Rewind to 2012. I was in my early twenties, I was vegan for three years. I remember feeling full of energy, focused and stronger than I had in a long time. Rather than experiencing limitations, I found tremendous joy in discovering new flavors, mixtures and meals. I actually began researching my food instead of choosing the easiest option - what a concept?! Just like so many of us, my early twenties were responsible for a better understanding of what was important to me and nutrition certainly was at the top of the list. I enjoyed the process of learning how my body was communicating with me. When I moved Denver in 2016, I chose a more flegan diet--after the craving for a Post-Thanksgiving Day Sandwich hit me hard. My then-boyfriend (and now husband) actually drove across town to his parents for leftovers on Thanksgiving Day night, so I could have my fix, since at the time we didn’t have any animal products in our fridge. I never looked back, until now.
I have been 100% vegan since January 10th. I feel like Superwoman being able to maximize every minute of every day. Distractions have been nearly eliminated from my mind and I feel like I could run for hours on end. Cravings are non-existent. The best part has been how my mindset around fear has tremendously shifted. I care less about being rejected and more about being productive. I’m convinced my plant-based diet has eliminated much of my formerly all-too-common anxiety.
If you’re thinking about transitioning to a 100% plant-based diet, keep reading on why I’m so happy I made this decision. If you know this isn’t for you, I would still invite you to listen to your body’s needs, because you may find similar results by eating the answers to your body’s questions. Below you can learn more on ways you can slowly transition to turning your veggies into full-on meals.
1. Start with Dinner
Since dinner is a time where you’re often making more of your chosen meal for leftovers, find ten extra minutes to research easy vegan meals that can be cooked once, but eaten twice. You’ll guarantee to make sure your family is getting their share of veggies, and leaving them the freedom to choose other options when they’re at school or work.
2. Buy Frozen
As you begin to transition your diet to a plant-based one, you may find your body wanting to graze, eating more often than you normally do. Vegetables weigh heavily on carbohydrates which are engineered to make you want more. Unlike carbohydrates in your grains or sweets, vegetables have enough fiber to ensure your blood sugar stays balanced. If you’re finding this is happening to you, consider buying frozen cauliflower, shelled edamame or even avocado to graze on at any time. Choosing these foods will crowd-out the sans nutritional snacks you often habitually grab as soon as you walk in the door.
3. Check Out the Menu Ahead of Time
One of the reasons I enjoyed being “flegan” was because I hated having restaurants constantly make modifications for me. Unless it’s an abnormally busy night, most chefs just want you to be happy with the food they are cooking for you. Plus, if enough customers are asking for a modification, one day they may make your request the standard. The only way we can get more plant-based meals on restaurant menus is by casting our vote accordingly. Remember the days trans-fats were commonly used for frying? As a friendly reminder, it’s now illegal for restaurants to even have these fats on hand.
Removing things from your life should be out of a place of love, not punishment. If choosing a 100% plant-based diet adds everything it has for me over the last month, I suggest giving it a shot! Eating is the act of nourishing your body, but it’s also a form of entertainment and connection. My motto: plan to be plant-based, but don’t eliminate the experience of eating foods that bring you joy. All the new phytochemicals in your system will keep you feeling more than fine.