I went plant-based for 90 days and this is what happened

I went plant-based for 90 days, and this is what happened.

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I never thought I would go plant-based

I need to learn to “Never say Never.”  Six months ago, if you told me that I would go plant-based would laugh. Up until four months ago, I was an avid meat eater. 

But in hindsight, I’m not sure why I was so adamant that a plant-based diet wasn’t for me.  Over the years, I have explored different eating habits from Whole 30, which taught me that a gluten-free diet was better for my digestion.  I have been dairy-free for years and still suffering from digestive issues.  I’ve tried Keto. Check out my Keto experience, and that had remarkable effects on my body composition and energy during the beginning. In the fall, I started considering a plant-based diet and trying a few dishes here and there that were surprisingly tasty. 

Plant-based Influence

I began following plant-based content creators on social media. Out of curiosity, I started asking my plant-based friends questions about transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle.  Then a few months ago, I woke up and decided that for August, I wasn’t going to eat beef. I read about how harmful beef is to our system and planet and was slowly convincing myself that I need to lay off the beef. At the time, most of my protein came from beef and fish. 

After prepping on and off for the last two years, I have grown disgusted with chicken and turkey left me with beef and fish as protein options.  Two days into my beef “fast,” I caved and had steak.  I thought, “I could never be meatless or plant-based.”

Changing my diet to plant-based

Fast forward to about three months ago. I’ve been trying to give myself downtime, which is hard when you are an entrepreneur.  You can find yourself working endless hours. I decided I would end my day watching documentaries.  I saw “What the Health” years ago, and the only food habit I changed was buying organically sourced food. 

The Game Changer movie changed my game. 

In October of 2020, I watched a movie called “The Game Changer” on NetFlix, and it made me curious.  Can an athlete maintain their strength without meat or animal-based products?  Patrik Baboumian

The strongest plant-based in the World response to, “How do you get as strong as an Ox?” “I eat like one,” it was like a light bulb went off in my head.  The strongest animals on the planet are herbivores.  

Plant-based athletes are Strong.

The movie was incredibly insightful because my ultimate goal is to be the strongest seventy year old in the world.  Like another inspiration of mine, Ernestine Shepard 

The next day I contacted a good friend of mine to pick her brain about going Vegan. I watched her family go plant-based two years ago and wanted some necessary information.  I’ve worked with plant-based clients before, so I was familiar with the lifestyle. I also was raised Seventh-Day Adventist, and many of SDA’s are vegetarian or vegan. I even went to a Seventh Day Adventist College, and our cafeteria was Vegetarian. The lifestyle wasn’t unfamiliar, but the desire to eat only plants was.

Went from Meat-Eater to Plant-Based Eater

Over the years, through all my experiences, I have always been adamant.  I WILL NEVER go VEGAN.  There’s so much more to going plant-based than eliminating animal-based products from your diet. I felt like it’s an exclusive club where the people think they’re superior to meat-eaters. It requires label reading and restriction.  But more education from friends helped me to change my mind. My friend Larisha was a great resource and guide to transitioning to plant-based. She has never been judgemental and gave me a safe space to ask questions and learn. Her family has a blog that makes plant-based cooking seem more attainable and delicious. 

With Larisha ’s help and sharing some fundamental meals.  I decided to give it a try for one day. I went cold “turkey” (actually, I guess that’s not the best phrase), but I eliminated all animal-based foods from my diet, and I was shocked at the results.

  • No bloat!
  • No naps!
  • I finally felt satiated! I wasn’t grazing like a cow all day.

My experiment continued for another few days, within several days of only eating plants. Now that I have been plant-based only for 90 days, I have found many other benefits, but I will stick to seven.

Seven things that happened to me when I went plant-based were:

1. Clear, glowing Skin

My skin has been improving since going Vegan.  Over the summer, I was getting lots of breakouts. Before going plant-based, I equated them to wearing a mask, but since going plant-based. I have had one breakout, which is not normal for me.  I also have hyperpigmentation that is going away.  You feel more confident when your skin is clear. I’ve been using NOW® Solutions Clarify and Illuminate Cleansing Gel and Moisturizer [Use FAITHFUELED for 20% off your order] that is cruelty-free, gluten-free, and helped improve the appearance of my blemishes

2. No bloat and flatter stomach

The first thing I noticed is I wasn’t bloated at the end of the day.  I’m usually bloated at the end of the day, even with the cleanest diet.  Since going plant-based, I rarely bloat, even with eating legumes, which I have stayed away from for so long. I haven’t seen any bloat, and legumes are great for your heart. (Monique Tello, 2018) If I eat all whole foods, I feel great, and I don’t bloat.  My stomach has also gotten flatter, which is every woman’s dream and struggle.

3. Brain clarity

You don’t realize you have been living in a fog until it’s lifted.  The last three months, I can’t explain it, but my mind feels clearer.  

4. Felt full longer

On average, I used to eat six meals a day because I was always hungry. Before going plant-based, I was regularly eating small meals.  I also ate two steaks a day and 3-6 ounces of salmon or shrimp.  During the day, I was always famished. Now I eat 3-4 meals a day, and I don’t crave salty or sweet foods. It’s a noticeable difference because I was walking around the hangry most of the time.  My mood has improved in general. I’m not sure if it’s because of my diet or not walking around hungry.

5. Better digestion

Through the years, I have explored many options to alleviate my digestion pains.   Without details, “my stomach no longer hates me.” I have eliminated gluten and dairy from my food because I am intolerant to dairy and have a wheat allergy.  Still, I was often bloated, gassy, or nauseous.  I stayed away from beans for the last six years because I thought that legumes would bloat me, and I was already bloated enough. 

Other foods I have eliminated from my diet were soy because of mixed research. It depends on who wrote what if soy is good or bad for you.   I’ve gone down very long rabbit holes through Healthline or NIH, but overall, I’ve gotten organic soy is best, and the amount varies from study to study. Since going plant-based, I have added soy or tofu to my diet without any ramifications.

6. Energy

Before going plant-based required a daily thirty-minute nap. Since eating plant-based, I don’t need a nap, but I still enjoy them if I have the chance.  The difference is before; it was a necessity to get through the day. Now it’s a privilege to get some rest.

7. Strength

Through this ninety-day journey, I have maintained my strength, which was a big concern.  I haven’t gotten any stronger, but I have not challenged myself.

Eating plant-based when your family is not.

Throughout this ninety-day journey, it’s been pretty simple to transition to Vegan.  My family isn’t plant-based, so it inspires my meal plan.  Whatever they eat, I make a two serving plant-based version for myself.  It’s helped me get creative in the kitchen and doesn’t feel overwhelming to make two meals.  I’m used to eating differently from my family from prepping for competitions.

My first-week eating plant-based

My first week, I was making too much food for myself. I quickly learned two servings is enough.  I still try to stay away from processed foods and mock meat.  On occasion, I’ll have a plant-based burger or grounds, but mostly I try to stick to whole foods.  I am also eating more intuitively, which has been great for listening to my body and feeling my needs.

This journey has opened my eyes to the world of plant-based eating.  I feel that I have found food freedom, and I am not thinking about my next meal as often.  This experiment is turning into a lifestyle, and I am excited to see where it takes me. 

My 90-day journey eating plant-based

Throughout this ninety-day journey, it’s been pretty simple to transition to Vegan.  My family isn’t plant-based, so their meals inspire my meal plan.  Whatever they eat, I make a two serving plant-based version for myself.  It’s helped me get creative in the kitchen and doesn’t feel overwhelming to make two meals.  I’m used to eating differently from my family from prepping for competitions.

There are a few questions that I often get since going Vegan.

What forms of protein do you eat on a plant-based diet?

When I first went plant-based ate a lot of mushrooms. It was part of every meal.  I tried several brands of mock meats. Some left me gassy and bloated, so I only eat plant-based protein like Beyond Meat once in a while. I am going to stick to plants for my protein sources and not plant-based meat alternatives.  It’s also hard to find gluten-free mock meat.  I eat beans, peas, tofu, and nuts for my protein sources. 

My first tofu meal

My first tofu meal was Crispy Tofu in Garlic Sauce. I make this at least once a week. It’s so easy. I love NOW® Sports Pea Protein and have been using it for years. An easy way to get plant-based protein is a protein shake. I have pea protein shakes daily.  Check out my post: What is pea protein powder?   Get a 20% discount with code FAITHFUELED.

Do you eat more on a plant-based diet?

No, I don’t feel like I eat more.  I do eat more intuitively, meaning I listen to my body and gauge my needs.  I typically eat 3-4 meals a day. Before going plant-based, I ate six meals a day and was always hungry. 

How do you feel about a plant-based diet?

Before I went plant-based, I had low energy, foggy brain, and moody. I feel that my mood has changed, and my anxiety has reduced. 

 

What did you eat when you went plant-based for 90 days?

For the first month, I had Pecan Tacos, Enchiladas, lots of Chickpea pasta, vegetable of course, and nutritional yeast with lemon has been a staple. In my second month, I added beans, lentils, and tofu. Tofu and beans initially were intimidating.  After trying some tasty recipes, they are a regular part of my meals.  Mostly, I throw together what we have in the fridge. I have a few criteria for a meal. 

Do you eat differently on a plant-based diet?

Not really; I still consume Protein, Carbs (non-starchy and starchy; it depends on the time of day), Fat, and Fiber.  I try to have this at every meal.  I don’t measure, but I base my portions on each macronutrient’s proper serving size. I’ve never been a calorie counter or macro calculator. So, I can’t give you specifics, but exploring new recipes has been fun. When I begin to prep again <LINK>, I may plan to compete as a plant-based this year, just not sure about the timing.

My favorite plant-based meals

One of my favorite and straightforward plant-based meals is this delicious smoothie bowl and the chickpea pasta. I use NOWI® Sports Vanilla Toffee Pea Protein and drizzle the Nutty Infusions™ Cashew Butter, Salted Caramel on my bowl, and the Nutty Infusions™ Cashew Butter Mango Chili on my pasta. It’s so delicious. [Use FAITHFUELED for 20% off your order]

Why did you remain plant-based?

I believe I have sustained plant-based eating so long because I replaced a habit with a new one that I enjoy more.  That is how you make a change. You can never remove bad habits, but you can replace them.  Enjoying the process and looking at it to explore versus a way to restrict is another excellent way to make a change like this Budha Bowl with so many new vegetables and fruits. Trying different things has been the best part of this experiment. 

What are you going to do now?

It’s challenging being Vegan, especially if you have a wheat allergy. You are getting what I call “mock meat,” which is rich in protein but has ALOT of ingredients and usually wheat, wheat protein, and gluten starch. So being creative in protein sources can be challenging. I have relied on some plant-based friends for inspiration and education. Going plant-based is a new journey that I am excited to embark on this year.  I co-host Fit Black Queens Podcast on my podcast; we share the New Adventures we’re taking in 2021. Check us out and see what else I am doing this new year. 

This experiment turned lifestyle has taught me to stay open to new things and try more things.  I’m not sure if this will be a forever switch or temporary, but now. I feel good, eat right and love being on a plant-based diet. I shared my perspective with my friend JQue for her January Veganuary Challenge. Check it out

I’d love to hear if you have ever tried something you thought you never try before?

Monique Tello, M. (2018, October 25). I love those legumes! Retrieved February 02, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/love-those-legumes-2018102515169#:~:text=Legumes%20for%20heart%20health,%2C%20heart%20disease%2C%20or%20strokes.

 

 

 

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