I tried being vegan and I only lasted two months before my body sent me a sign to check myself before I wrecked myself. I had to take a moment to get educated and reevaluate my vegan approach.
For some people, being vegan agrees with their system right off the bat. For others, probably most, it could take a while to adjust through a gradual "weaning off" process. I truly believe it could work for everyone as long as extra care is taken when considering what and how many nutrients your body needs. Let’s be real guys, the meat industry is killing our animal friends -- and killing our planet in the process. I could go on about the meat industry, but I will spare you. Watch "What the Health" if you don't believe me.
So, my whole vegan mess started with my obsession (what’s new) with wanting to be the most healthy version of me I could be. Like many, I thought, “Hey! Why not take the next step and go vegan!??!?!?” Well, little did I know it wasn't this easy to do. So, from one day to the next, I decided to go vegan cold turkey. Mistake number one!!!!! I thought, “I can eat as much as I want of natural, whole, foods because they are healthy and can’t be bad for me in any way, shape or form at all. Squash is squash, right? Wrong. Even though I read about the issues that could arise on every vegan forum and every vegan website I consulted, I didn’t listen.
I thought, I’m basically vegan now, so going all the way shouldn’t be too hard, right? Right!?Everyone is vegan these days so it can't be that hard. I can just swap out my morning eggs for more fruit, and my chicken at lunch for beans. I will start tomorrow and do this for the rest of my life. Simple, easy, cool, lit, amaze, yum, let’s go, I'm a hero!
I started replacing chicken, fish and eggs with more beans, quinoa, chia seeds, and doubled my banana, nut and squash intake so I could feel full -- I did this if I wasn't full after a veggie-heavy meal. I ate fruit for breakfast sprinkled with chia seeds; I had nuts as a snack (maybe up to three servings because I have zero control in that department :’( #cashews); a salad for lunch with avo and quinoa; a fruit as a snack and veggies with beans for dinner. I would also throw in some dates every once in a while. Aka I would have maybe 8 in one sitting, that’s kind of a lot volume wise on top of my daily intake listed above. One of the problems I faced going vegan, I wouldn't stop eating.
I could eat this much, this massive amount of food, and maintain my weight because it was still pretty low cal and natural. Whole foods are nicely converted into energy by our bodies. Also, I kept running three miles almost every morning like I usually did. However, I was experiencing A LOT of bloating from the large quantities of food I would eat and the majority of them being fibrous.
One month went by and I felt on top of the world, with some bloating. Then month two rolled around. My diet started to prove itself hard on my tummy. The amount of food I felt I needed to eat to feel satisfied, and the portions I was assuming were okay in my head, we causing me major indigestion. I didn’t educate myself thoroughly enough before making the vegan leap and let me tell you, oh did I suffer!
I was ODing on sweet potatoes, bananas, nuts, dates and squash because those were the foods that made me feel full, aside from grains and beans. NOW, for some people, this combination might not harm them, but it wrecked havoc on my little system! I was eating way more food to keep me full and that came with intense bloating, gas, and you beatchya… CON-STI-PA-TION!
Little did I know that all of these foods I mentioned above (squash, bananas, nuts, sweet potatoes, and dates) have a lot of potassium, especially when eaten all in one day -- which I totally did at times. If this intake of potassium is not counterbalanced by sufficient magnesium intake, (i.e. the best source is dark leafy greens) you will end up like me: CONSTIPATED AF. Need I say it again? I couldn’t shit, so much so that I felt pressure up to my ears. I was full of poop, literally!! The worst part was that I did it to myself; my lack of knowledge, my naiveté, my idea that my adjustment time wouldn't take a handful of months, and my lack of discipline to educated myself on the key components I should have followed when switching to a vegan diet.
I went to the doctor because I could barely move. lol. He schooled me. He was disappointed in my idea that my diet could be tampered with on a whim. I was also disappointed in myself because I wanted to do something noble for the planet and noble for myself, but YOU CAN'T JUST JUMP INTO IT FROM ONE DAY TO THE NEXT. Ya gotta take it real slow!!!! Good things take time. The pyramids weren’t built in a day, etc., etc. Am I forgetting one of these metaphors?
Everybody is different, so maybe your body can handle an immediate switch. Look, I was fine for about a month, and then when month two creeped up I started Googling “natural laxatives” more than I thought I should have been doing. My attempt was too hasty so I am here to stop you. I am not calling veganism quits, not at all. Nor am I saying it’s not good for you, definitely not. BUT, I am writing this so you remember to be SMART about it. Don’t just ride in on your white stallion because you want to be a hero -- like I wanted to be.
Remind yourself that you have been eating a certain way since you were born, so changing that in a month is highly unlikely. Give your body time to adjust. Be gentle. Learn. Test. Read. Ask. Forgive and do the best thing for you!
My second try towards veganism is comin' soon!