Dear clients, friends and family,
Well, I did it. One full month of no meat, dairy or eggs. I honestly didn't want to do the challenge but it's amazing what a little peer pressure will make you do. And I'm super glad I did it. Here's the final assessment and what I learned...
1. I now have a huge respect for anyone who is Vegan. In order to be Vegan you have to be extremely disciplined. It was tough to sometimes say no when I wanted to say yes and I only did it for a month. If someone makes this choice for their lifetime, I can only respect their decision and be in awe of their will power.
2. I lost a total of 4.5 pounds on the Vegan challenge. Starting this challenge, I literally thought that I was going to lose huge amounts of weight and waste away to nothing. But fortunately, I figured out foods that I enjoyed that filled me up and gave me the energy I needed to maintain my exercise and lifestyle. The good news is that if someone's goal was to lose weight, I lost about a pound a week which is actually a really healthy and more permanent way to lose weight. The 'Biggest Loser' type losses of 10-25 pounds a week are crazy and a very short term approach with negative long term ramifications.
3. I have been introduced to a lot of amazing new foods. I actually really like Shredded Tofu cheese, Tofu Cream Cheese, Soy Chocolate pudding and Soy Ice Cream. I will continue to buy these products. I also now love Quinoa pasta - yummy! There are new brands of food that I really enjoy like the "Imagine" Soups. I've always used Rice Milk so I'll continue with that.
4. I now eat a lot more Organic fruits and veggies - a very, very good thing.
5. I can't wait to eat my veggies with Ranch dressing again. I did not like the Soy Ranch dressing - but that could have been because I had to make it myself. So perhaps more a testimony to my skills in the kitchen! Gross! Jackson tried it and gagged!
6. Eating out was super hard so I found I didn't eat out as much as usual on this challenge. So I actually saved some money this month! That was a nice added perk!
7. My energy was great on this diet. The intensity of my workouts didn't suffer at all even though my diet was so restrictive so that was a big suprise. I've been on other diets that have caused me to lose a lot of weight but I felt horrible and my workouts really suffered.
8. I didn't get sick at all during this challenge and there have been plenty of people around me sick so I've definitely been exposed to illness. So overall, I felt great on this type of diet.
So now what? Well, I don't think I'll be able to call myself a true Vegan. I think I'll be an 80/20 Vegan. I'll probably have a burger every once in a while. When I eat out, I'll probably have some dishes with cheese and meat. But for the majority of the time, I think this is a super healthy way to eat for me.
Overall, this was a fabulous challenge and I want to thank Ted, Derrick and Alison for inspiring me to try it out. It was a great learning experience.
Yours in health and fitness,