At the beginning of my Summer vacation, I announced on my Instagram that I was committing to a full vegan diet for the Summer. As most of you probably know this was not a very high bar to set for myself considering I already eat a strictly gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian diet, and I often already avoid eggs because they do not make feel great. That being said, a lot of the gluten free products I rely on do have eggs baked into them. I challenged myself to go completely vegan for the summer because I am a long time advocate of plant-based diets so I knew I needed to put my money where my mouth is and go all in. The one thing I am keeping in my diet is local honey that I have bought from my neighbors because according to my research, production of honey is rather sustainable, benefits ecosystems, and helps save the bees! Now with no further ado let me get into my reflection.
CLICK ON THE PHOTOS TO HEAR ABOUT SOME OF MY FAV MEALS THIS MONTH :)
EFFECTS OF VEGANISM
Most people who follow me probably know my digestive system is not the most reliable (this is the reason I originally gave up gluten and dairy). Even with my very specific diet, sometimes I do have weird reactions to the foods I eat. The one difference I have noticed in the past month is more gas related stomach aches than normal. My guess of the cause is that I think I have been relying on beans and legumes for nutrients, and these foods are known to increase gas. Without getting too personal, I can assure you that my digestion has been pretty typical, if not better, in all other aspects.
I am not sure if it is just a coincidental change in hormones, but I have noticed a positive change in my skin since going vegan. Around the end of the school year, I was getting a lot of breaking out on my forehead but it has cleared up, which has been nice. I have to admit I do not know whether or not to attribute my improved skin to cutting eggs out of my diet or just my good skin care routine. It is a pretty well known belief that cutting out dairy helps your skin but considering dairy has not been a part of my diet for years, I doubt it is related.
Go To Meals
At home, my go to meals have recently been some form of lentils/beans with rice/quinoa/pasta and a cooked veggie. This is not that different considering I already was eating mostly plant-based.
Eating In Dining Hall
I have been at a Summer program at UC DAVIS for the past week, where I have been eating in a dining hall for almost all of my meals. I think this is a window into what my diet will be like when I am in college for real. The meals have been really a mixed bag. Some days they will have great options for example: Beyond Burgers, Grilled Tofu, Lentil Curry, and Vegetarian Tostada. Other days, I have not been so lucky, forcing me to stick to the salad bar and fruit baskets. One thing that is good is they do have soy milk machines and tofu at the salad bar, so I can always know I will have some protein available. I also am not mentioning the vegan foods that the dining hall does offer that are not gluten free honestly because I just haven't been paying very much attention to them. I think if you are just vegan and not gluten free, it is probably a lot easier to find options! WATCH MY WHAT I EAT IN A DAY HERE!
What Has Been Hard?
I think the hardest adjustment is that some of the gluten free baked goods I am used eating contain eggs so I have had to stop eating those. For example most Udi's products, Immaculate Cookie Dough, and Flour Craft Focaccia all have eggs. Honestly I think this has been a healthy adjustment because it is easy to fall into the trap of eating the high-carb gf snacks.
What Comes Next?
I am going to finish out my vegan summer and then at the end I will decide whether or not this diet change is permanent or not!
I am not an expert on veganism, but these are my personal reflections!