The ‘V’ Word

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March 10, 2016 by Virginia James

11 Things I experienced from going Vegan for One month

I don’t want to say it…. oh, I’m going to say it… Vegan. *sigh* okay, now I can relax. I let it out. I have been vegan for one month now and told no one save my boyfriend and a handful of my closest relatives. At first I did it to support my boyfriend, who opened up and began trying new foods thanks to veganism. But after tons of research, I have decided, it’s one of the best things I could have ever done. I haven’t been vegan for too long (1 month) but here’s what I’ve learned so far…

1.  I need to eat a LOT

That’s right! Since a lot of (if not most) vegan foods are pretty low in calorie, this means I need to up my game in order to keep myself satisfied. Although it’s not entirely about satisfaction itself, it’s great that I don’t have to say no to bread, pastas, and other high carb meals. For just one of my snacks I chow down on half of a cantaloupe. Throughout the day I have over 6 servings of fruits and veggies all while enjoying my starchy, carby pasta and rice bowls at the end of the day. My calorie totals in a typical day add up to between 2,500 and 3,000 calories, which is different from my meat-based diet of restricting to only 1,800 calories per day (talk about starving yourself), boy, do I regret doing that! So why can I eat more calories now that I’m vegan? Since everything is plant-based, my body digests it with more ease, and all of those calories are readily used for energy; they are not stored for fat, as too much protein would be.

2. I’ve lost weight

I actually don’t usually weight myself –I prefer to take measurements of my body because the scale can be a bit deceiving. But for the sake of this article, I weighed myself prior to when I started and again just today. One month ago, I weighed 143 lbs. Today, I have gone down to 135 lbs. That’s almost 10lbs in just a few weeks, without exercising –I’ve done nothing by change my eating habits. Think that’s crazy? Try it yourself!

3. I don’t have to restrict myself

Vegans only eat fruits and vegetables. Um… not exactly. Yes, living the vegan lifestyle does mean that you will need to eat fruits and veggies to sustain yourself, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I can still make vegan pizza, have vegan ice cream, top pasta with vegan cheese, and enjoy vegan burgers–there are so many alternatives these days making the transition all the more easier! All vegans enjoy grains; some use that as the bulk of their food pyramid. But why? Why do we eat more grains and Carbs and less fat? Is it programmed in our brains? Actually, I think it might be! Carbohydrates are basically brain food. We all get that craving in the afternoon for something sweet, don’t we? But our brain isn’t telling us to sugar-up; it’s trying to tell us to carb-up. Carbs are the body’s natural energy resource –not protein. Yes we DO need protein, but not as much as the food industry has brainwashed us to think. Plant based protein can be found in various nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies, but too much protein can cause kidney stones and throw off your body’s natural Ph balance… which happens all the time when we eat too many animal products. So why mess with that? Let’s put the focus back on carbohydrates – the brain needs glucose to function well. This is why people who often restrict their diets tend to suffer from migraines and dizziness. (source at bottom of post). Why make yourself suffer?

4. There are lots of unhealthy foods I could eat.

 

Yep, I can make a vegan version of anything from pizza to donuts, enchiladas to tacos, and chips to parmesan –even veganized cake, cheesecake, cookies and ice cream. I feel like I’m not giving anything up –the only difference? Because it’s all plant-based, as I mentioned, it gets digested a lot easier! In my body and right out in the timely matter it should be out. Gee, it’s almost like our bodies were engineered to only focus on plant based foods –could this be? We just weren’t meant to be predators- When we look at lions or tigers, we see they have strong jaws, huge teeth and long, sharp claws. Then you look at us humans; our tiny teeth and weak nails- we wouldn’t stand a chance without weapons, would we?

5. Carbs are my best friends.

Yes! Carbs are the brain  food we all need! We can’t function without it. For years, I used to restrict myself by counting calories, and having low carb meals. More greasy meat (cus that makes sense *facepalm*), and less breads and fruits. But one thing that I had always suffered as a meat eater –starting at the young age of 6 –was migraines. They’d get so bad that I’d have to stay home from school, and as I got older, I’ve had to miss work! I never understood why? After making the switch to a higher carb lifestyle, I’ve realized I haven’t had one single migraine. I used to have them every week; up to 5 times per month. Now that I’ve dropped the animal products, I haven’t had a single one. One month so far, and not a single migraine –I feel a strange sense of liberation by that because I feel like I have been controlled by these pains all my life. I’ve missed family events, parties with friends, and otherwise memorable holiday moments …all because I’ve had a migraine so bad that I’ve had to lay down the whole day. Carbing up means no more migraines and many more adventures with my loved ones –so why not?

6. A smaller waistline

Along with weighing myself prior to this change, I had also measured myself and completed a health assessment by a doctor- who told me my waistline was in the danger zone. In fact it was, and so were my cholesterol levels. So, for me, the only measurement I really was concerned about was my waistline. I was at 31.5 inches around my waist. Not. Good. after 3 weeks, I’m at a healthier 28 inches and I’ve done nothing but change my diet. Best (live-saving) change I’ve ever made.

7. More energy is a side-effect

How is it possible that I am able to get up early and not feel sluggish? I drink only one cup of coffee every morning as a vegan; I used to have to drink at least 3 cups just to get me going in the morning! I have a theory about this. When fruits/veggies are harvested, they can still continue to grow and ripen. But when we slice a chunk of meat off a cow, it begins to decompose to the point where it needs to be frozen in order to last. Don’t you think you’d get more energy when eating something that is alive and still growing, rather than something that’s decomposing and dead? It’s just a thought. Animal based foods have always made me super sleepy and tired after eating. Plant based foods wake me up in a way that even coffee doesn’t. Wherever this energy is coming from, I’m super grateful for it because it’s not only given me more energy but it’s boosted my moods. No more mood swings, less pms symptoms, and even better …no stomach issues!

8. Clearer skin, shinier hair and stronger nails/bones

It’s true when they say you are what you eat. Everything that goes into your mouth is reflected in your skin, hair, nails, eyes, tongue, even the way your breath smells (yep, meat gives you stink-breath!). So why not nourish the outside of your body with what you put inside your mouth? Do you really need to by that $30 moisturizer? It’s way cheaper and easier on your wallet to have more fruit and veggies. It truly is a no brainer! So why does a vegan diet make you glow? Well, for one, you get lots of vitamins and minerals that promote cell restoration. More importantly, you get hydration from fruits/veggies. Many people admit that they don’t drink enough water. When you’re lacking in 64 oz of water per day, AND you have a bad diet on top of that –chances are, you’re not going to have glowing, healthy skin. You may get acne or dry skin; your hair might be breaking easier or thinning. These are all signs of a dehydrated body. Many fruits are between 75-92% water. The answer is simple! Fill your tummy with fruits and veggies and less or no animal products, and your body responds better… almost like that’s the way it was meant to be! (I wonder why…)

9. Digestion gets more …comfortable

Any time you start a new eating habit, your body will go through a ‘reset’ period. During the first few days, I felt a bit gassy, uncomfortable, and a bit bloated. But after those few days were over, it’s like the butterfly emerged from its cocoon!

I’ve always loved eating fruits and veggies growing up – especially fruits. I still find it weird when I hear of someone NOT liking strawberries and watermelon – how could you NOT like them? …weird. Even as a kid I ate my broccoli and corn… but I was always told that the meat/protein portion of my meal was more important, so I’d get full with that, and barely have enough room for the veggies… I regret that now. Considering everything we know now from research, it seems shameful to force something into your body just because the government says we ‘need’ more protein. Animal products always felt as though they sat in my stomach for days, and would stick to my intestines… it’s a gross feeling. But everyone said I needed it, so I kept eating it, which lead to constipation, excess gas and bloating… this didn’t just last a few days, but sometimes a few weeks… and it would happen often. Being vegan helped my bowels to move at a healthy rate, diminishing all the waste a lot faster whereas, meat would sit inside of me and continue to rot in my intestines –yuck! I no longer have constipation, gas or bloating issues and everything flows a lot better (no pun intended).

10. Contributing to the environment is easier

Did you know that raising cattle for meat contributes to more greenhouse gasses than all forms of transportation combined? This is one of the biggest threats to our planet! When you buy a hamburger, you are contributing YOUR hard earned money to this disastrous, polluting engine. Upon discovering that a lot of deforestation was created for grazing areas for livestock. Are we really okay with killing our planet just so we can have a burger? Really? We only have one planet – why not take care of it?

Going vegan helps little by little. If less people eat meat, less money will go to the livestock industry, and they’ll lower their supply. Not only will this help to save our planet, but the poor animals who are enslaved and tortured day by day. speaking of which…

11 …and (my favorite) I’m helping to save the animals

I have always been an animal lover. For that reason I have always made the attempt to be vegetarian off and on for as long as I could remember. But it just isn’t enough. If I want to help lower the demand for animal consumption, vegan is the way to go. When you have your glass of milk, do you ever think of the process of how that got from the cow to your fridge? It’s not a happy farm where all the animals sing about rainbows and unicorns, where an old farmer man sits on a stool, happily milking the cow to the tune of a whistle. Allow me to open your eyes for a minute:
A female cow is first of all,  artificially impregnated …or raped. Yes, she is literally raped. When the mother cow gives birth to its calf, it is immediately taken from her –sold to a veal farm, or grown for beef.

The helpless mother –devastated from the separation- is then taken to a ‘milking’ station, where she has machines  connected to her sensitive udders, which begin to pull and tug vigorously to get the milk out of her. She is not the only mother. She is in a room with hundreds of other mother cows. If her sensitive udders were to get a small cut, it would go unnoticed by the farmers because she is one of hundreds. So the machines would keep tugging and pulling, causing infections, causing millions of pus and blood cells to drip into the milk. After she is done with the milking process. She is raped and the process begins all over again. Could you imagine having to feel the pain of losing a child over and over and over again? Just so you can have a glass of milk. I felt horrible upon learning this.How could anyone call themselves an animal lover, and still contribute to something savage as this?  On top of all of that, it is known fact that humans do not physically need to consume milk past the toddler years. Cow’s milk was meant to help a small calf grow to the size of a bull -it is full of hormones that wreak havoc on our little human bodies so why do it? You wouldn’t consume milk from your mother now would you? ‘But we need the calcium!’ No…not this way. You can easily get your calcium from other sources:

Paul McCartney once said, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian”. and he’s absolutely right. I didn’t think I’d end up feeling so strongly about this issue, but it’s something that needs to be addressed.

The less you eat/drink animal products, the lower the demand for them will be. When demand goes down, supply goes down. Let’s make this happen. Every year, each vegan saves 95 animal lives. It doesn’t sound like much at first, but the more vegans jump on the wagon, the more lives will be saved. I came into this thinking I wouldn’t last in a vegan lifestyle. Now, I find myself buying cosmetics made by companies who don’t experiment on animals. It’s amazing how much this opened my mind, and it’s something I’m grateful for.

 

Much Love,

~Virginia

 

barbellgal

 

Sources:

Carbohydrates for energy: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8116550

Plant Based Protein: http://www.foodsforyoursoul.com/breaking-the-meat-dairy-brainwash

The Downside of Animal Protein : http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/three-problems-associated-much-protein-intake-6546.html

Vegan for Beauty: http://www.theflamingvegan.com/view-post/Vegan-Beauty-Secrets-Revealed-1

Water in fruits: https://www2.ca.uky.edu/enri/pubs/enri129.pdf

Milking Process: http://freefromharm.org/dairyfacts/

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