Whether you participate or not, New Year’s resolutions are the buzz every January. It always feels good to be healthier to start the New Year after overeating and overindulging during the holidays. My favorite way to challenge myself is to go vegan for 30 days.
The first time I tried this challenge was back in 2014. I didn’t know a ton about being vegan and really had to work to create recipes, read labels, and prep my food before leaving the house in case a vegan option wasn’t available. I’m not a huge meat eater and before I met my husband in 2012, I could count the amount of times I’d cooked meat myself on one hand. Typically, I would order meat, fish or chicken when I was out at a restaurant. Dairy and eggs were the hardest to give up for me. I love cheese with a passion and eggs are a breakfast staple for me multiple times a week. I learned a LOT during those 30 days, about myself, about the food industry, and mostly that it wasn’t easy to change my lifestyle so drastically. I started to read labels more carefully before just throwing something into my cart that looked good. I began thinking more about what I fuel my body with. The way I felt after those 30 days was unparalleled.
Choosing to go vegan (or mostly vegan) has a ton of health benefits. Because you have to cut out all animal products, you will start to rely on more whole foods like grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits. According to Healthline, studies have reported that vegan diets tend to provide more fiber, antioxidants, and plant compounds than the typical Western diet. However, this can backfire on someone who is newly vegan and chooses to eat more processed carbs in lieu of whole foods. Because it is not as easy to find vegan options when you are out and about, this diet requires planning. After the first two weeks of the diet, I felt like I got the hang of making sure I had cut and washed veggies on hand to snack on as well as some mixed nuts in my purse if I was ever wanting to munch on something while driving. Now, in 2021, there are a ton of options to grab from the store like kale chips, vegan nut & seed mixes or vegan granolas.
Now I didn’t choose to go vegan for 30 days to lose weight, so I can’t tell you personally if that happened for me, but what I can tell you is my energy level went up as well as my desire to exercise. It’s possible these things changed for me because I was actively trying to change my lifestyle, but according to that same Healthline article I mentioned earlier, vegan diets have a natural tendency to reduce your caloric intake. The study in the article also found that even when vegetarian or vegan diets weren’t followed perfectly, those groups still lost more weight than those on a Western diet.
I am not 100% vegan and I don’t think I ever will be, but I make smarter choices because I participated in Veganuary. Let’s start off this year with a bang!
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