10 Things I Learned on #VeganStreet, Let's Go!

Updated: Dec 30, 2018

Do you remember or know of the Austin Powers movie series, a comedic parody of the spy James Bond? When that hilarious series of movies came out in the late 90’s it quickly became an all time favorite for me. I loved hearing him say “groovy baby!” I totally understood his references to the phrase as it related to his “mojo,” that certain it, that thing that makes you… well you! Read on, I’ll explain.

“ Happiness is the new rich. Inner peace is the new success. Health is the new wealth. Kindness is the new cool."

The journey started out with a bang! I was having all kinds of foodie fun around Atlanta, but after a few days this #vegan thing was starting to get stale as I began to stumble my way down #veganstreet, some days were great, and some eh...not so much. It seemed there was some kind of animal product in everything and it didn't help that I couldn't convince my family to go down this road with me; I was preparing separate meals for them. Then the world celebrated “National Cheese Pizza Day,” and I got excited all over again! Well, yeah… any excuse to eat cheese! You’d think someone who is lactose intolerant would run from cheese and anything that remotely resembles dairy. A bit of a rebel, I’m always looking for ways around, over and under obstacles in my life. Which brings me to Trader’s Joe’s Vegan Mozzarella. It is so surprisingly good! I was glad I found it because it totally saved Cheese Pizza Day for me. I rushed home to tell my hubby "let's get cheesy baby!"

After searching around for a pizza joint near me – that served true vegan pizza options – I was quite disappointed to learn that there were none! Nada, silch! One young lady very politely offered me a salad instead when I asked about their vegan options,…#rolledmyeyes. Searching for the bright side, as I often do with most situations in my life, I figured it’d be better to make my own anyway. With fresh tomatoes, right from my garden, cilantro, broccoli and some other fresh veggies from my local grocer, I would make the perfect cheesy pizza right at home!

As it turned out, not only did Trader Joe’s have this impossibly delicious vegan cheese they also had an all grain crust. The entire meal was delish! Even my carnivorous hubby liked it! As much as we enjoyed our vegan pizza, I was starting to lose my enthusiasm for finding creative meal options. I continued to consume salads, tofu, bean and rice-based dishes, nuts, grains, and various other vegan inspired dishes but it started to feel more like work than fun.

Nonetheless, by Day 14, I was still on a natural high cruisin' down #veganstreet until a bump in the road quickly brought me back down to earth. It was like my body was saying, ok enough is enough; it’s time to get off this ride woman! My energy dwindled to the point of fatigue. As it turns out, a woman’s body, well particularly a woman of age, requires a healthy well-balanced diet. Upon doing more research I learned that my body was experiencing withdrawal. The ride down #veganstreet was coming to a screeching halt because I was craving, well missing things I normally consume like carbohydrates and protein. I went through a similar experience years ago when I forced myself into a crazy workout regimen that involved heavy aerobics in the morning and a fitness boot camp in the afternoon. I lost weight, I was cute, and almost admitted to the hospital. I guess I tend to go all in and overboard when I am trying to accomplish something new. Back then, much like now, I thought by changing my habits I could improve my overall well-being. Which is true, but moderation is the key to most things in life.

Stuff your body needs

Did you know that every cell in your body is made of protein? While your body needs carbs and healthy fats for energy, protein is essential for tissue growth and repair. Hair, nails, bones, muscles, blood all need protein to grow and thrive. If you’re not giving your body what it needs, you will feel tired and drained. I know, earth shattering right? While this should be common sense, it’s easy to lose sight of what your body needs when you super focused on trying to keep all the bad stuff out of it. Good sources of protein of course include things that vegans don’t subscribe to like meat, milk, fish, and eggs. With a vegan diet, you can enjoy other protein sources like soy, beans and legumes.

So, the vegan protein options are great, and I was consuming them, but not in the quantity my body needed. Pay attention to how your body reacts to certain foods. Wheat, gluten, and even soy may not agree with your digestive system. Don't ignore your gut reaction! Some plant based foods are easy to digest, however, certain plant-based foods can cause gas and bloating…eww! The digestive system quickly takes high fiber foods and turns them into gas. Not to worry, a gassy belly can be treated with time, and a little help from antacids and turmeric ginger tea...it taste so good and is good for you! Checking your stress levels, drinking plenty of water, getting more rest and exercise can also help control your belly aches.

Benefits of Going Vegan

Vegan is more than eating well and being healthy. It’s a lifestyle. During this journey I gained an appreciation for the environment and how to live more sustainably. I was even more excited about finding more ways to reduce waste and consumption.

While I did not lose as much weight as I’d hoped, I don’t discount the five pounds I did shed. By combining the healthier vegan lean diet with rest and exercise, not only did I lose weight, my digestion improved, I felt great (once I got the food right) and my skin still looks amazing a week later! Check out my free ebook for quick tips on going vegan.

I have been blessed to not have any major health issues in my life. However, my family’s medical history is a factor of concern. "Aging gracefully, mind, body, and soul is my ultimate goal." Many experts in wellness and fitness recommend a well-balanced diet that includes healthy fats, grains, fruits and vegetables. Eating well along with getting proper rest and exercise can lead to a long and beautiful life.

Needless to say, #veganstreet is a nice place to visit, but I don’t want to live there. I picked up some great recipes and discovered quite a few tasty meals along the way but after 21-days I am slowly transitioning meat-based protein back into my diet, while also including plant-based meals. When well prepared, they’re actually pretty good.

Know Thyself

When trying any new diet or exercise plan, it is important to be real and honest with yourself. Choose wisely and know what is best for you. What works well for someone else may not give you the same results. News flash, our bodies are different, know what works for you and what doesn’t. I have met and read about some really cool vegans. They taught me a lot. I will certainly take what I learned about plant-based meal planning, healthy eating habits and wellness to heart. It was fun trying something new. Trying and not succeeding is not failure; it is part of the process of discovering what works. I’m on the way to getting my “mojo” back! The journey continues!

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