7 Day Vegan was a fun experiment for sure. DISCLAIMER: I'm not going to remotely address my feelings toward eating animals in this post. That is a conversation for another day. This is simply my experience with eating 100% plant based food for 1 week, and how I felt/ tips for you.
- I think I would be better able to comment on this after eating Vegan for a longer period of time. My energy was not really affected much during this week. 30 days would be the best test for my body adjusting to this lifestyle.
- Digestion was horrible. TMI here, but just everything was flipped upside down during this week. I was super bloated, and felt like my lower belly was sticking out all the time. NOT GOOD. This is likely from all the raw veggies and beans I was eating, but if I were to eat this way consistently, this would be a huge challenge for me.
- I would recommend avoiding processed meat replacements. I had Seitan once and did NOT care for it at all. I've tried other meat replacements in the past and I feel they are too processed and opt for whole foods instead. (beans, avocado, hemp seeds, nuts, etc.) I can tolerate Tofu, and I often get it when I order Pad Thai. I try to avoid it for the most part, because it is made from soy which is one of the most genetically modified foods. We had one meal with Tofu during the 7 Day Vegan week and it was good, see: Stir Fry below!
- Meal prep effort was about the same, with the exception of a little time saved not cooking meat. In my opinion cooking meat isn't hard, I actually find it a bit easier. I often times dread chopping a million veggies, but you gotta prep what you gotta prep!
- I highly recommend Lee From America's meal prep guide. I used it during the 7 Day Vegan week and pull recipes from her site all the time. Obsessed!
- Also, try fermented veggies or sauerkraut! I was hesitant about this but I love it. Add some of this smoked jalapeno sauerkraut to your next salad and thank me later. I also have heard from many that pickling vegetables if very easy, though I haven't tried it myself.
- As you know, I do Crossfit about 3 times per week. I was surprised that my performance wasn't really affected. Our workouts are so demanding and I typically go from 6:30-7:30 p.m. and have a later dinner, so I'm always starving when I arrive home- that didn't change this week! Again, it might be best to tell after 30 days eating 100% plant based.
- I used and am still using AlOHA protein in smoothies after working out or prior to working out. It is a bit gritty but contains good quality ingredients, 100% plant based, and tastes good. I can't tolerate it with just water, so into a smoothie it goes.
TIPS for adding more VEGGIES to your diet:
1. Add veggies to breakfast. Sauteing spinach takes 2 second and you can throw it in with some eggs (if you're not eating Vegan) + avocado. OR add frozen veggies to your smoothies. They add great texture and more "filling power" (fills me up more than a fruit heavy smoothie). If you have time, steam fresh veggies and then freeze them.
2. STIR FRY FOR THE WIN- Sam's favorite meal I made during this week was a Tofu Stir Fry. Basically tons of sauteed veggies + local Chicago made tofu (pressed and pan fried) + brown rice. You can make so many versions of stir fry with any veggies left in the fridge, that's why I love it! Use Edamame instead of Tofu to eliminate the soy.
3. PREP your veggies on Sunday, or whatever day you do meal prep. You likely won't eat those carrots if they aren't chopped up! Chop some cucumbers, carrots, radishes, bell betters, etc. and have them with Hummus= my go to snack during 7 Day Vegan week!
4. Open up to ZOODLES or other noodled veggies if you haven't already (where have you been?)! Check out Inspiralized and give it a go.
5. LOADED salads. Don't think too hard. Just buy your favorite vegetables at the store, chop them up and throw them on top of some romaine or spinach, add a bean or a grain if you like, and dress as necessary! I personally love to roast my veggies as much as possible to give them good flavor. (Roasted Broccoli coated in Garlic Ghee is my absolute favorite.)
I'm not eating Vegan right now, however, I don't consume much dairy if any at all and when eating meat and eggs, I do my absolute best to source the best quality possible. I research the brands and farms that we buy from and try to vote with our dollars when shopping for any animal products.
Please send me your questions and experiences with eating plant based!