Lifestyle

Healthy Living Series ~ Vegan Update + 5 Tips to Eating Healthier

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Well hello out there y’all, Happy May!! I hope y’all have had a great month. Yeah so that 2 weeks I said I was taking off turned into a MONTH. What can I say y’all, I’ve been busy but I don’t like that I spent that much time away. I spent my time brainstorming and working on some things that are coming up here on the blog. (So exciting!!) As well as taking kids to soccer and volleyball practice and games and helping out at church, and just doing general adulting stuff!! Today we are going to be giving you and update on my family’s vegan journey. I’ll also be sharing some tips we’ve learned so far.


So settle in, because you know you want to see how we’ve held up.

Shock of all shocks, my husband has done far better than I have at this whole thing. (Insert big surprised eyes here) He has far fewer cheat days than I do and I don’t have a whole lot. I truly believe that its my own fault. I have not 100% figured out how to make sure we get all the essential nutrients I/we need. I’m not super big on trying new foods for the most part but I do it if someone else is having it because I also don’t like to waste. So not knowing what a certain fruit or vegetable tastes like, or even how to cook it, is part of my struggle. This usually means we have just about the same thing each week with new things thrown in here and there. Then I lose motivation because in my head, my family is bored of their food.

Anyway, basically this all means that my body and that of my family is still needing some things that it’s not getting currently. Balancing that has been the struggle for sure!! I know there are supplements I could take but I am one of those that I’d rather get it from the source than something that was manufactured to provide that for me. Unless of course the supplement was derived from said source in which case, I’ll be ok with it. Nonetheless I generally would prefer to attempt getting what we need from food sources where we can.

Let’s get into some of the things we’ve learned after about 5 months of eating differently. This doesn’t have to just be vegan eating, maybe you’re doing paleo, or whole 30 or whatever.

 

Tip 1: It takes discipline but don’t discipline yourself if you mess up here and there.

As you’re retraining yourself on what to eat, give yourself some leeway. Meaning, don’t beat yourself up because you couldn’t stick with it at dinner last night. Just start fresh the next day, you haven’t ruined anything, I promise. Your body is going to take some time to get used to it, if you quit cold turkey, you’re putting your body into shock essentially. So work up to eating differently full time. Maybe one week you work in a couple of different things to your normal diet. The next week have 3 days of eating better. Just work up to it. Before you know it, you’ll be at a full week eating healthier, whatever that looks like for you. Eventually you might not miss eating the old way anymore. Its kind of like when a lifelong smoker quits cold turkey, they experience some withdrawals because a thing their body has been addicted to for so long is suddenly being taken away. Even those prescription commercials say you can continue smoking a little here and there.  I’ve also read, and found, that if you quit something cold turkey, you’re actually less likely to stick to it. The point here is don’t get down on yourself if you’re not eating completely healthy within that first week. Give yourself small goals along the way and you’ll get there. We usually have about 1 cheat a week but the last 2 weeks for me have been about 98.5% vegan. 98.5% because I still have my Eggo waffles every morning. I can tell a HUGE difference in how I’ve been feeling. No uncomfortable bloating, few if any headaches, and a bit more energy.

Y’all this is vegan chocolate chip cookie dough!! It went QUICK.

Tip 2: Know your reason. Why are you changing your eating habits?

With veganism or even vegetarianism, the answer is usually “because I love animals” which is fine and well. In our case, it truly had nothing to do with loving animals but more to do with how we wanted to reduce our risk of things we mentioned in this post. We kind of felt like we had been lied to our whole lives. Not by family but by society telling us these things. Plus for me, I notice that I really just don’t feel well after eating certain things like red meat or dairy. When we have cheat meals I can tell how my body will feel almost immediately afterward. Also, the taste of certain things has changed which makes them not nearly as appetizing anymore. Even our boys have said that they notice a difference in how they feel when we eat non-vegan, and not a good difference either. The point is to make sure that when you’re making a change as drastic as how you eat, that you’re doing it for the right reasons. Not because its what your friends are doing, or because it happens to be popular right now. Do it because it means something to you personally. If it is because of your love for the animals, awesome! For us it is health and prevention. I’m just saying go watch the documentaries mentioned here and choose for yourself. I know its a very personal choice and not for everyone, but for your health, its worth it. There’s only 1 you and you cannot be replaced. (You know who I’m talking to…)

Vegan Nachos with vegan nacho cheese and vegan ranch dressing

Tip 3: Its ok to be a part time vegan or vegetarian. For a little bit anyway.

At least until you get in a rhythm of knowing how to eat this way properly. What does it mean to be part time? Well, its basically eating a majority vegan but a small percentage non-vegan. Like I said in Tip 1, work up to full time. In our current case, we don’t really live in a town that is super vegan friendly. Meaning it’s a little difficult to find a lot of vegan options for certain things. This hasn’t stopped me, I just have to drive a bit to find a store. There are NO vegan restaurants so we have to make a conscious effort to make sure that when we are ordering something we eliminate anything that isn’t vegan. So for now, when we do go out to eat, those tend to be our cheat meals. Part time also means that we can make something vegetarian rather than vegan and still be “ok”. I said there aren’t many vegan options for certain things in stores, what I mainly mean is I haven’t found options I’m willing to eat… like cheese. Vegan cheeses, at least the options available to me, are disgusting. So, I still buy regular shredded cheese for things like nachos. All the toppings and even the chips are vegan but there’s just some good ol’ cows milk cheese hanging out. However, last night we had FULLY vegan nachos using a nacho “cheese” recipe from Vegan Comfort Classics written by the creator of HotForFood, Lauren Toyota. I cannot even begin to describe how AMAZING they were. So do what you can with what you’ve got available to you but see Tip 1 and don’t beat yourself up if you can’t fully commit just yet. You’ll get there.

I’ve been OBSESSED lately. Find some here.

Tip 4: Fill in the blanks with other options when you aren’t completely getting what you need.

So if you know you’re not getting enough protein, have yourself a protein shake, vegan of course in my case. Or a smoothie with vegan protein powder, or protein bars. Just make sure they fall in line with your diet that you’re doing. If you don’t have any issues with using supplements (like I do) grab some to take until you know what to be eating to get what you need. This might be why my husband hasn’t had such a hard time like I have. He has protein bars he takes to work and I am picky (surprise surprise, yes mom I know) about the ones I choose for myself. I’m slowly finding ones that I like, I just have to get over the looks of things sometimes. haha The boys have them as well. I haven’t yet been able to fit getting my go to protein powder in the budget yet. When I do though, I think it will get a little easier on me. Needless to say, I’m likely not getting enough protein in my own diet so don’t do what I’m doing, find things to fill in your blanks. Also, before you go shoving a bunch of protein down your throats, really look into how much protein you actually need in your own personal diet. You’ll be shocked that its really not that much AND that it doesn’t have to come from animals. Where do you think they get their protein from? Just saying!!

Seriously, go get it!!! Even if you’re not vegan.

Tip 5: Take your favorite recipes and adjust them to your new eating style.

For example, if you are seriously craving lasagna, find a way to adjust the ingredients to suit your diet. So for us we’d have to eliminate the cheese, all of it, and make it a veggie lasagna with no meat. Or find a meat substitute but I’ve been doing my best to steer clear for the time being so I can have a more real food diet as opposed to processed foods. Or when you’re ordering pizza, order a thin crust, which apparently are typically vegan, and have a veggie filled pizza with NO cheese. The hubbs LOVES it this way!!! Just recently I bought a cookbook called Vegan Comfort Classics 101 Ways to Feed your Face. I made one of them 2 days after I bought the book, (the other you can read about in Tip 3). I like buffalo chicken wings. YUMMMMMMM!!! Well, I tried making buffalo cauliflower bites once and I was a bit underwhelmed, but I vowed to keep trying until I found the right recipe for me. Hers took the cake!!! The cauliflower has a great soft yet chewy texture, the batter she makes is delicious (but could use a little less cumin for my personal taste). It seriously hit the buffalo sweet spot for me. My sister, who is very much NOT vegan, even said it was ok. I will NOT go so far as to say it tasted like chicken because lets be real, it didn’t, but it did take care of the buffalo craving I was having. See, it’s all about taking your favorite foods, and just adjusting them to meet your current dietary needs or desires. Don’t look at it as doing without something, see it as an opportunity to change it up.

Well there you have it y’all…

A quick update and 5 easy tips to inspire you in your dietary journey, whatever it looks like. Go check out Lauren’s YouTube channel at hotforfood and don’t forget to buy her book either for yourself or a friend who is entering this vegan journey.

Let me add one last thing (isn’t always just one last thing?), don’t let friends or family discourage you. As long as you know your reason (Tip 2) for changing up your diet, their thoughts won’t matter too much. Now don’t be unkind to them, they love you and only want the best for you, maybe they just don’t understand. Explain it to them so they can understand and support you.

Keep your eyes peeled because I’ve got some really exciting stuff coming up very soon. Don’t forget to let me know what you’d like to see on the blog!!

As always don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram.

Y’all are amazing and I’m so thankful you choose to follow me!!

Ruth 1:16 ~ But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.
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