Hey Everyone! As promised I’m dedicating this post to elaborating on my so called “new vegan, whole foods/plant based” meal plan. So yes, I’m guessing some of you are thinking I’m crazy…probably similar to the reaction I received from all of my family members and my boyfriend. First off, I’ll admit that I am one to “claim” that I’m going on a new “diet” or a new “cleanse”. I’ve actually done this far too often and I hate myself for it. I hate myself for it because I know I’ve judged people who go on “diets” for a few weeks and then spiral downwards once they can’t take it anymore. However, I also see all of these new diets and cleanses that I’ve tried as an extremely valuable learning lesson. I’ve honestly come to learn SO much about my body and myself from trying out some of the extremes and diets from all ends of the spectrum. Yes, it has been a constant struggle throughout as early as high school and up to now. But, I’m looking back on all of it as a positive learning experience. Just to give you all an idea…
Mid-way through High School: I got more serious with running and probably didn’t consume enough calories for my body and the fuel I needed. I did however, finally begin eating healthier and learned about foods that were good for runners and athletes like myself. ALSO, take note, this also could have been a side effect of my cliché awkward, skinny, brace-faced, acne covered self…ohhhh the glory days!
Senior Year into Freshman Year of College: Senior year I found a pretty good balance between running, eating well, fueling my body, and maintaining a positive social life.
However, freshman year of college and the combination of being a D1, three season athlete somehow gave me the encouragement that it was OK to consume any and everything possible. This diet even included vending machine dinners…no joke. I thought it was “funny” to eat 5,000 calories at midnight “breakfast” when I was drunk on a Friday night. Ugh, that year makes me cringe. Classic red cup pic…
Sophomore Year into Junior Year: WAKE UP CALL!! Finally got my act together. I quit cross country for one season, began eating well, and focused on myself and my own running career. Rejoined track that winter and was on my way to getting back into prime shape! I was finally happy with myself! Junior year, spring semester did come along where I spent my time abroad in Spain. This was okay as I told myself I would not think twice about what I was eating there. This was my time to explore and enjoy the abundant amount of food my host mom and every other Spanish person had to over-indulge me with!
Senior Year: This was the beginning of my journey blogging! This was also my year of “experimental” diets. Hahahaha soo 1.)…this included planning out my meals for the week. I liked this because I knew what I was buying from the grocery store, it saved me added stress, and it kept me in line for the most part. 2.) I tried a 3-day fruit cleanse several times over the year. The first time was TOUGH and fricken expensive trying to buy fresh fruit on campus. The second and third time…well, let’s just say I only made it until dinner…on the first day… 3.) Half way through the year was when I really started experimenting with healthy cooking and I started instagramming everything I ate for my own accountability and as a way of sharing recipes and finding inspiration! So many new creations and new found love for yummy recipes! Some of these included spaghetti squash, overnight oats, smoothies, and new healthy takes on desserts! 4.) Lastly, I ended the year with the mindset of keeping a HAPPY BALANCE. Trust me, I was not perfect senior year and any college year for that matter. My roommates can certainly attest to this! I drunk ate when I had the opportunity. I basically came to realize that whenever I consumed alcohol, it typically lead to some type of excessive eating. Whether it was while I was drunk that night, or hung over the next day.
Now: So that realization of the adverse effects of alcohol brought me to the point I’m at now. My next “diet claim” lead to little, to NO alcohol! Of course, I have weekends here and there when I’m out with friends from college or from home that I haven’t seen in a while. I’ll also have the random glass of wine here and there with coworkers or friends, but my drinking has significantly decreased from college. When I have the opportunity to spend weekends at home and relax without being hung over, I take full advantage of that and my new found productivity! My next new “diet” was attempting to follow IIFYM (If it fits your macros). So I didn’t like this, because it meant tracking your calories AND your macros (aka % of protein, fats, and carbs). This was a lot of work and I could NEVER hit the right % amounts of proteins to fats to carbs! The idea of it was nice, but in reality, this was just way too much work for me! So, now this brings me to the Vegan meal plan.
Now, let’s just set things straight here…I really hate the term “diet”. Because I have not chosen to go Vegan or follow a whole foods/plant-based meal plan to lose weight or cut fat or to lean out, if anything I’m like tripling my calorie intake given the amounts of fruits and veggies I eat throughout the day…oh and the amount of almond butter I eat…whoops! The first reason that lead me to sporadically deciding to “go vegan” came out of watching an incredibly eye opening documentary “Forks Over Knives”. This movie is somewhat similar to the idea of documentaries; “Food Inc.” and “Food Matters”. However, for some reason, this one stuck with me more so. It talked about the amazing health benefits of following a Vegan, Whole foods/plant based meal plan. It talked about the unhealthy chemicals that are found in the protein and dairy products we consume every day from farms near and wide. It spoke about patients who were diagnosed with cancer and heart disease and were told they’d only live a year or more, yet proved their doctors wrong after living 2-3+ years and counting after switching to a plant based diet. This documentary left me wanting to learn more and even consider trying this out for myself. So, I did it. Right there, I made the decision that I would TRY it out to the best of my ability. I’m always up for a challenge and I’ve learned that it’s important not to shoot something down until you’ve tried it out yourself!
Of course, this was bad timing seeing as it was just a few days before Christmas (which meant lots and lots of delicious foods, and especially meat and dairy products.) This was also right before my 6 day weekend in NY with my boyfriend. I knew I didn’t want to be a burden on anyone, so I only told my immediate family and boyfriend. I told them to please not change anything for me, I’ll make due with what’s available AND if I have to break a few rules for right now, then that’s okay. I told myself this was a test run and I could truly begin it after the holidays. Anyway, the holidays went well and I felt myself physically and mentally just feeling better! Anyway, before this “essay” I’ve written gets any longer, I’ll continue sharing with you all about my new challenge ahead of me in the next blog post, so stay tuned!