Today is the day four months ago that I started eating strictly plant-based (July 5, 2013).
4 months. 18 weeks. 124 days.
All vegan, all delicious, all the time.
Through out the past four months, I’ve learned a lot; a lot about myself, my self-discipline, my strengths, my weaknesses, and my potential.
Switching to a plant-based diet has allowed me to grow as an individual, allowing me to further develop my personal identity, discovering who I am and what I am passionate about. And isn’t that what college is for anyways? Bingo.
Since the switch, I have a much better idea of what career path I plan to pursue. If I can work for a company that is as passionate about leading a natural, wholesome, sustainable lifestyle as I am, I will be one happy girl.
Although I have not been blogging as regularly as I was able to over the summer, I promise you I have been continuing with my vegan fixings and workouts, with the addition of some weight-lifting into my routine (my latest favorite).
I did a vegan Q&A session in a past Veganniversary post, which I think was a hit, so why not carry out that tradition and give you another insider scoop on my plant-based lifestyle?
I know most of you are probably curious as to what I eat on a given day, so here goes.
A typical Tuesday:
- 6:15 AM Wake up
- 6:30 AM Breakfast Sprouted grain cereal OR steel cut oats w/ a whole diced apple, almond butter, unsweetened almond milk and a large cinnamon sprinkle
- 8 AM Coffee w/ soy milk & Truvia OR vanilla coconut milk creamer
- 10:30 AM Morning snack A piece of fruit, a bar (Larabar, KIND, Kashi granola, etc. [usually non-protein]) or nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews)
- 12:30 PM Lunch (usually my biggest meal) Beans (black beans, chickpeas, red beans, cannellini) w/ lots of veggies (spinach, kale, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, etc.) in some form (sauteed, soup, burger, etc.) & sometimes with a side of fruit (grapes, citrus fruit, etc.)
- 3 PM Pre-work out snack Either an apple, hummus & veggies, or a protein bar (Clif, Quest, Alt Larabars, Mojo, etc.)
- 5 PM Workout 1-2 miles jogging/sprinting, weight lifting focused on one or two core muscle groups
- 7 PM Dinner Grains (quinoa, brown rice), legumes (beans, lentils) and vegetables (sweet potato, spaghetti squash)
- 9 PM Before-bed snack Fruit (small or half apple, grapes, clementine, pomegranate) or nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews)
- 11 PM Bedtime
Also, each day:
- I aim to drink about five 750 mL Camelbak size water bottles (equating to approx. 16 cups of water, 3750 mL)
- Take a generic Women’s Multivitamin & a B-12 Vitamin supplement
- Limit simple carbs and starches
- Add more exercise via daily tasks (take stairs, skip steps, park farther away, stand more often, do household chores)
- Incorporate juicing into my daily routine (will require the purchase of a juicer)
- Limit caffeine intake (coffee addict = yikes!)
- Improve weight lifting skills (for strength & toning purposes)
Over the past few months, I’ve adapted to a college student vegan lifestyle, which is, let me tell you, a whole heck of a lot different than living at home in Northern Virginia with my family type of vegan lifestyle. I’ve accepted the term “practical vegan” as something I can live by, especially being in college. I’ve had my fair share of miserable unable-to-eat experiences at restaurants or at friends’ homes and realized they aren’t all that necessary. Of course I will 9 out of 10 times go out of my way to maintain my vegan diet, but if absolutely necessary, alternating to vegetarianism isn’t the worst thing in the world. If there is a sprinkle of cheese atop a salad I order, I won’t send it back.
I’ve also realized I’ve got to let myself indulge sometimes. Yes, there are definitely some indulgent vegan foods, but some of my all-time favorite foods are not plant-based. When it comes to Italian style pizza or chocolate desserts, every once in a while I think I can manage a little mozzarella or a little chocolate milk fat into my life.
If you miss these things so much, “why not just go back to eating meat, dairy and eggs” you ask?
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I recommend educating yourself on the reasoning behind plant-based eating. Start with these inspiring documentaries (all available on Netflix):
- Forks Over Knives
- Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
- Food, Inc.
- Food Matters
Why do I lead a vegan lifestyle?
- It’s an extremely healthy, nutrient dense diet w/ almost no cholesterol or unhealthy fats (a health nut’s dream)
- My food doesn’t weigh me down
- It keeps me lean with little effort
- It keeps me well now & well in my future (cancer/disease rates almost completely diminish)
- It’s cleaner & greener for our world (agriculture industry has > carbon emissions than transportation)
- It’s a more sustainable lifestyle (for our world & for your pocket [medical expenses plummet])
- It’s cruelty-free (no animals are getting tortured for me, thank you!)
- Plus so many more benefits that go on and on…
Read about some various individuals that switched to veganism and were shocked at the benefits they got out of it in this article by GentleWorld.
Being vegan is definitely something that makes me unique as a 20 year old college kid, but I love that about it. With the abundance of greasy, fat-filled, convenience foods that surround a college town, the temptation is always present, but that just makes sticking to my veganism for four months strong that much more rewarding. Sometimes, you just gotta stand and shout (even it’s in just in your head) “GO ME!” Today happens to be one of those days.
I even had a vegan-inspired halloween costume this year, Mother Nature. Here’s a pic of the roomies from this past weekend!
I hope this post gave you a little more insight into the amazingness that veganism is. We’re not just crazies that “don’t like” typical food in the American diet. Who doesn’t love that stuff? Vegans are normal people that simply vouch to give up certain things for their own health, well-being and the good of society. It’s all about priorities. Maybe you too will join the club. All the cool people are doing it…
Chow until next time!