For the past six years, I've been living a pretty healthy lifestyle. I eat as clean as can be; avoiding dairy, bread, candy and overly processed foods. I've tried the paleo diet, the Keto diet, the Mediterranean diet, the list goes on and on. I have found that while I'm eating all these "healthy" foods, I'm not noticing results. I still get overly bloated, feel like I'm eating a lot and never getting full. For a long time, I've had this misconceived perception that I'm not getting enough protein which leads to me overeating meat, nuts and protein bars.
I did my research and realized that it wasn't protein I was missing out on. In fact, I wasn't missing out on anything. All these years of restricting my diet and binge eating "healthy foods" have left my gut (and metabolism) in a horrible state.
Now I know for my friends that (may) read this are probably thinking "but Hannah, you're one of the healthiest eating people I know" and yes you may be right. I do eat healthy foods but my body doesn't feel healthy.
For years I've wanted to try the vegan diet. Not because I think killing and eating animals is wrong, I mean people used to have to hunt to live, but because I want my body to be as healthy as can be. I was just so scared that I would miss out on all the protein I get from eating meat. I was so in a routine of having chicken or salmon EVERY DAY.
So the truth is that I'm not going to call myself a vegan though I do follow a meat-free, dairy-free lifestyle. However, many vegans may argue that I have to avoid animal products in EVERY aspect of life, and I don't disagree... So let's just call my diet "plant-based".
Four weeks ago I decided to commit.
No more meat, eggs, dairy or anything that has animal products in it.
For someone who had eggs for breakfast and chicken for dinner every day this was pretty tough! I replaced meat with a few more veggies and substantial sources of protein such as quinoa, chickpeas and beans. I don't eat carbs such as bread, pasta or rice so it was pretty difficult to pick out vegan dishes that weren't just salad at first. However, I cook at home so it's really easy to load up on veggies and fruit.
Four weeks in and I feel great.
I have noticed my energy levels are higher than they used to be, especially during low energy times between 2 and 4. I am more mindful about what I eat and when I eat and I actually feel fuller all day rather than having a constant hunger.
My period did stop for two months...not sure if that was from going vegan or just all the travel and natural causes.
My sleeping habits are better, although they've never been bad. I wake up earlier feeling more refreshed and energized.
I haven't had any issues in terms of ordering food at restaurants and everything I eat is delicious! I'm probably eating too many fruits and not enough veggies but I'm working on it. It's definitely a challenge being in Australia and trying to maintain this diet but I'm hoping to transition better once I get home and can cook my own meals with a variety of ingredients.
I'll be updating my blog with all the benefits, recipes and tips I discover on this plant-based lifestyle!