Over the past year I’ve been slowly incorporating a lifestyle of more plant-based eating and less animal protein consumption, and when I did consume animal protein I became conscious about selecting organic, grass-fed, cage-free, and wild sources. Coming from a former figure and bikini competitor (2004-2011) who typically consume large amounts of animal protein, this has been a pretty big transition. As a nutritionist I have experimented with many types of nutritional programs that I regard as safe and effective. I also believe that in order to best help my clients I want to have direct experience with the nutritional programs I offer. Lately the vegan lifestyle has been resonating more and more with me and as I honor my intuition, I chose June 1st, 2015 to begin my 30 day commitment to eating vegan.
So far I’ve completed 33 days of eating a variety plants, beans, lentils, legumes, rice, steel cut oats, fruits, nuts, and seeds and do not yet have a desire to go back to eating meat. I have noticed that I consume a wider variety of foods, a larger percentage of high nutrient-dense foods and more carbohydrates. Before June 1st my carb/protein/fat ratio was around 40/30/30 and now is around 20/55/25. This lifestyle takes more preparation time, more creativity, and more frequent shopping trips but is definitely worth all of it.
The first week I chose to eat all raw foods and then due to the amount of food I needed to eat in order to sustain my energy with my high physical activity level, I added Isagenix Harvest Berry Vegan plant protein which gave me 22g protein per serving (I use 2 servings/day) derived from pea and hemp and was just what I needed as a vegan athlete to keep my amino acids optimized. I am aware that within this lifestyle I will definitely be consuming more raw foods, however, I wasn’t ready to go strictly raw as a beginner vegan.
I noticed an immediate decrease in cravings, especially for sweets, meats, and dairy. My energy levels seemed higher, especially upon waking and would almost forget to get my usual almond milk latte. I love one or two coffees per day. Nothing in excess, but I do enjoy the taste of coffee and realized I could probably go without as I wasn’t really missing it. I also noticed my skin tone improving, with glowing and healthier looking skin. My stomach was definitely flatter and felt like I was utilizing all of the food I was giving it. I also felt an even stronger connection and bond to nature and animals and noticed my animals seemed even more affectionate towards me.
By the 2nd week I began to feel a little more fatigued during workouts. Part of it was due to the fact that my body was trying to adjust to utilizing different energy systems with the shift in my carb/pro/fat ratios as well as the need to supplement with B-12 as I was no longer getting that through the foods I ate. I purchased a bottle of Jarrow Formulas Methyl B-12 (vegan formula) and within a day began to feel better. I also added 5g of BCAA’s pre and peri workout to ensure I was getting proper amount of amino acids. I use Body Systems Labs Complete Essentials (developed by Ben Brown of Body Systems AZ).
By the 3rd week I felt strong again with the endurance to accomplish some double mountain hikes during peak sun hours (105-110 degrees F) which I also attribute to using an amazing electrolyte drink called Replenish from Isagenix. I always pre-hydrate before hiking which helps tremendously, especially in the AZ dry summer heat.
Now that I’ve completed my 4th week, I would still like to continue maintaining this lifestyle as it sustainable and enjoyable for me. Overall my physical results in one month are as follows: 2.6lbs weight loss, 1.45% body fat (2.11lbs fat) loss, and I maintained my lean mass (muscle). I was not doing this to lose weight, however, that was a byproduct of the lifestyle. I feel lighter, healthier, and less tempted to take random bites of my daughters food, use ranch dressing or eat (non-vegan) cookies 🙂
If you have further questions regarding my transition or if you are interested in nutritional guidance please message me today!