Back in July my friend Becca asked me if I wanted to try going on a plant-based diet for the month of August. She had done it last year and loved it, so I decided to give it a shot.
If you know me, you know that I am not a diet person. I loathe the word. I believe in healthy eating on a daily basis, because that’s sustainable over the course of your life; a diet isn’t.
That being said, I also don’t believe in denying yourself food. I love food and have an unusually large appetite and stomach. I can challenge anyone to an eating contest—and win. Maybe that’s why I don’t have a thigh gap… But anyway. If you’re craving a cookie, eat it and enjoy it. Don’t deny yourself and then in a moment of weakness eat an entire sleeve. That lifestyle isn’t sustainable.
So I was hesitant to call this a “diet” or to tell anyone what I was doing, because I felt like I was going against what I believe. But I eat a lot of veggies and shy away from meat anyway, so this wasn’t too much of a variance from my norm.
Becca, I, and a few other friends followed the Engine 2 Diet, which is mentioned in the Forks Over Knives documentary and posted all over Whole Foods. No meat, no animal by-products, no oil. Vegan to the extreme, I call it.
I can honestly say that I’ve never eaten better. I scoured forksoverknives.com, Engine2.com, and Pinterest every week, and every night I would come home and experiment with cooking something new. It was like a game!
I’m a big fan now and will talk your ear off if you let me, but here are some of my thoughts from the month:
- No meat = not hard—I didn’t crave it, and I can easily continue being meatless 90% of the time—excluding football season and BBQ of course.
- No dairy = easier than expected—I was nervous that it’d be hard to cut out cheese, Greek yogurt, and eggs. In reality, I didn’t crave any of that after the first week.
- No oil = easy—Rip the firefighter taught me to use vegetable broth when cooking, and avocado and lime in lieu of salad dressing. Delish!
- Sticking to it outside of home = hard—I’m not dedicated or obnoxious enough to fuss over my food choices when out with friends or family—if everyone orders a pizza to share, I’ll dive right in.
- Planing ahead = easy—Every week I’d make a menu so that I knew exactly what I needed to buy. I also made enough to eat for lunch the next day, and always kept plant-based snacks ready to grab when I was hungry.
So how do I feel after a month? I’m hooked! I don’t know for sure because my scale is about as accurate as the weight on a driver’s license, but I estimate that I lost about 5-6 pounds and some of my polar bear organ insulation. If you squint hard and turn your head, you can almost see abs.
Plus, I’ve had my best runs ever while eating plant-based. I’ve been nailing my workouts, have had zero soreness, and don’t crash in the middle of the day from exhaustion.
As the month went on, even eating vegetarian or vegan felt like cheating. I had an incredible tofu scramble at Urban Standard cooked in oil, and I felt so guilty.
Adding dairy and meat back into my diet when I couldn’t avoid it made me sick. One time I went out with coworkers and had cheese on my sandwich and didn’t feel well the rest of the day. And let’s not even talk about how gross I felt after eating pizza and cheesesteaks in Philly—but it was delicious and worth it. I guess eating habits and tastes really do change.
I’m going to continue to eat a plant-based diet—as long as it’s convenient. I can’t argue with the way that it’s making me feel, run, and look. And bonus—I’m not harming any little helpless animals! Usually.
To find all of the recipes that I’ve been using, check out my Pinterest board!