It’s been just over 2 weeks now of my vegan, plant-based diet experiment. A coworker asked me yesterday how the diet was going and I told him that it was a little bit boring.
Did I forget to mention that my “actually out in the world instead of sitting behind a computer” job is waiting tables at a steakhouse?
That means that my options for at-work lunching and snacking are extremely limited. My choices are either a house salad with no croutons and oil and vinegar for dressing… or fried potatoes. I really try to stick to the salad, but sometimes the potatoes win.
My fried potato gobbling leads me back to a point that I made in my week 1 post: vegan =/= healthy. It seems like it would be really easy to let a vegan diet slide into unhealthy territory. I’ve been reading up about this a little bit, visiting blogs, and reading about other peoples’ vegan experiences.
I haven’t lost any weight on this diet. In fact, right now I’m actually at the high end of what is a normal weight for me (which always fluctuates a little bit). But ultimately I’m still at a healthy weight so no worries there. But people who may be thinking about a vegan diet for weight loss might be surprised at all of the potential pitfalls. One reason for weight gain on a vegan diet seems to be loading up on sugar, nuts, nut butters, calorie-packed faux meat and cheese products, carbs and starches like pasta and bread.
Another reason that people may gain weight during the initial part of a plant-based diet, before the body has had time to adjust, might be a result of increased fiber. Fiber holds a lot of water while in the digestive system, so more fiber in your gut might mean more water retention than usual. According to some testimonies online, if this is the reason for you weight gain, once your body gets used to this and things get moving along, you should actually lose that weight and possibly lose more if you’re eating correctly.
And now back to the boring thing – there are all kinds of interesting dishes that you could feasibly make that are vegan, providing you aren’t extremely busy or very lazy. Although I’m pretty busy lately, and admittedly sometimes lazy, I have been able to get a little bit creative making vegan dishes at home. I’ve also ordered some vegan dishes from restaurants this week.
Grapefruit, apple or mango
potato and cauliflower breakfast burrito
Salad, Josh’s famous hummus and carrot
veggie sandwich on vegan bread
Sweet potato and black bean tacos
cheeseless black bean enchiladas
Greek salad with artichokes, banana peppers, tomatoes, olives and no feta cheese
Coconut milk curry with summer veggies served over brown rice
So I guess it’s not that boring.
As a side note, I saw an interesting interview on “Real Time With Bill Maher” related to veganism. The interview was with Mark Bittman, New York Times food writer, about his new book, VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health … for Good. It’s about his own weight loss success story, which he achieved by eating vegan all day every day… until 6 pm. The rationale behind this system is eating more plants, fruits and veggies during the day than one normally would, while being able to “cheat” at night – when people are more prone to go out for social eating and drinking. It worked for Bittman, and, according to him, it’s worked for other people too.
As for me, at this point in the diet my skin seems to have cleared up a little bit. I’m having fewer break-outs than normal and my blemishes seem to have decreased in severity. Also, the severe bloating that I was experiencing on my regular vegetarian diet hasn’t been much of a problem at all since the switch – which is a BIG relief. I am still experiencing energy lows, although it seems like the fatigue isn’t as bad as it was last week.
Well, that’s it for the update. Tune in next week! If you’re interested in any of my vegan recipes, feel free to comment below with a request and we’ll figure something out. Also, if you have a great vegan recipe to share, I would love to hear about it!