Monday, July 21, 2014

The Time I Went Totally Vegan ... Overnight

So, as I've bemoaned a few times in the last couple of weeks, I'm having a hard time kicking the extra pounds I put on two to three months ago.  And, to make matters worse, I've been feeling like a bloated balloon.

In an effort to turn things around, last week I decided to try something drastic.  I decided to go Vegan for three days straight.

And not just Vegan like the "I go to Whole Foods and buy processed substitute foods of items that are unhealthy, non-vegan foods to begin with" Vegan.  I mean the "Whole fruits, vegetables, quality grains and nuts only" Vegan.

Yeah, that kind of Vegan.

What inspired me?  Of all things - reading about juice cleanses!

Although I totally think they are wrong for a lot of reasons, some of the basic ideas behind juice cleanses are good, like:

(1) The focus on vegetables.
(2) The drive to eliminate processed foods.
(3) The idea that they can help reset your body.

Plus, regardless of where you are in life, everyone can definitely benefit from 1 & 2 above, and #3 was definitely on my radar given my less than stellar eating habits of late (part of what lead me to put on this weight to begin with).

So, with some feedback from friends and some careful thinking, PLUS with my husband heading out on a business trip (thus leaving me to my own eating devices), on 7/7 I began a 3 day planned journey into all things wholesome...


Monday, 7/7 - Day One

Breakfast: not feeling very hungry, I waited until about 9 or so to have a banana, and then drank lots of water

Lunch: taking small inspiration from the juice trend, I decided to try a green juice from Freshii along with a large side of quinoa

Snack: mixed nuts

Dinner: a HUGE salad of sautéed portobello mushrooms, green peppers and onions (sautéed with seasonings in olive oil), guacamole, romaine lettuce and tomato salsa

First thoughts - this wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  Mostly, it was a practice in shifting my mindless eating habits towards drinking more water, since I realized I've been letting my snacking run wild.  However, I definitely already craved carby stuff like bread and donuts - of all things, donuts?!  I hardly ever eat those to begin with.  Weird.

Tuesday, 7/8 - Day Two

Breakfast: blended smoothie of pressed apple juice, spinach, natural peanut butter (no sugar added), banana and hydrated chia seeds

Lunch: realizing they were much cheaper than Freshii, I opted for a Daily Greens juice from Bolthouse farms, along with some kale chips and mixed nuts

Snack: more mixed nuts

Dinner: a simmered "stew" of quinoa, herbs and crushed tomatoes... with LOADS of garlic (yum!), and what I'll call romaine and hummus spears (essentially whole leaves of romaine spread with a blob of hummus, and eaten like you would a celery stalk).

Thoughts - although I thought this dietary shift would leave me feeling hungry or deprived for sure by day two, I ended up anything but.  Don't get me wrong, hamburgers and cookies still looked / smelled good.  But a true NEED to eat something specific never came up.  And, I was definitely full to the max - I guess that's due to the fact that eating a diet like the above provides something like 150% of my daily fiber...?

Wednesday, 7/9 - Day Three

Breakfast: blended smoothie of pressed apple juice, spinach, natural peanut butter (no sugar added), banana and hydrated chia seeds

Lunch: another bottled green juice from a Bolthouse competitor, kale chips and mixed nuts

Snack: an apple smeared with peanut butter.

Dinner: leftover "stew" from last night and more romaine and hummus spears.

Thoughts -

Just kidding.  I'm wasn't starving, although the smell of kale chips and green juice was starting to make my stomach churn.  I think that's a sign of too much of a good thing.

However, I did notice I was starting to miss eating some sort of protein ... even just cottage cheese was sounding good.

Also, I noticed a few mild headaches on the last two nights.  Since I was drinking plenty of water, my only guess would be either I wasn't getting enough calories (which I thought I was based on what my calorie tracker was telling me), or I was having some mild detox issues from cutting out carbs (which I am guessing is the true reason).  Given my carb cravings in the prior days, I'm inclined to point my finger that direction.

All in all, though, I felt good, I didn't feel hungry and... when I weighed myself the next morning, I was down 3 pounds!!  To qualify that, though - it was all water weight.  As soon as I ate a reasonable amount of bread the next day, the three pounds were all right back on... *sad clown whistle*...


So, what are my final thoughts about this whole experiment?

Well, if you don't mind pooping salad, I guess living a vegetable based vegan lifestyle is A-OK.

LOL!  Just kidding. 

Honestly, though, I don't really intend to ever go totally unprocessed foodie/vegan.  And overall I eat a fairly healthy and balanced diet.  So why did I do this?

The only reason I decided to give unprocessed, vegan eating a shot was because I decided I needed to challenge myself. I knew my eating habits had fallen WAY off track in the last couple of months, and doing this challenge just proved to me that I was in denial about it.  I realized immediately day one how much I've been letting myself snack, and how much processed food (not a ton, but enough) has snuck back into my daily routine.  And, I was shaken awake by the fact that I need to refocus on eating more vegetables again.  This point was driven home when I followed up my experiment with a long weekend of crap eating in Chicago.  Just by changing my diet for three days, I noticed a change in my cravings.  Every day in Chicago I craved raw/fresh produce.  Every.  Day.

Also, interestingly enough, I did notice a change in my digestion over the three days.  Although I didnt' feel like crap prior to starting this challenge, I did notice I started to feel almost... lighter... once I eliminated all the junk out of my diet.  I even felt like my stomach was starting to flatten up a bit, which I think speaks to how much bloat I had picked up over the last couple of months.  The true test now will be to see if I can keep that change going in a positive direction...

Regardless, I'm glad I took this time to evaluate and be honest with myself.  And while I didn't see any maintainable weight loss from the challenge itself, it opened my eyes to where I'm slipping every day.  Since those little slips can all add up to a lot of extra calories long term, fixing those issues is what will stimulate my weight loss again in the coming weeks.

And with that being said, now it's time ... to eat another salad.

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