My Vegan Journey
Someone dear to me thinks it’s just a phase, possibly brought on by a mid-life crisis. Call it what you want. I don’t feel the need to label it or myself. All I know is that I woke up one day and knew that I needed to stop eating meat and dairy, and I haven’t looked back since.
This awareness came after weeks of just not feeling great in my gut. I felt blocked, bunged up, stuck … sluggish. My first thought was to do a cleanse. I had done cleanses in the past, and to be honest, at this time in my life it just felt like too much work to organize. So rather than complain and do nothing, I decided to make things easy for myself and enlisted the help of Belmonte Raw.
As soon as I walked into the store I knew I had come to the right place. Upon entry, I was met by a Cleanse Specialist who walked me through the range of options available. As I had already had some experience with cleanses, he suggested a 3-day Transition Cleanse which essentially involves a series of juices and elixirs plus one gourmet, raw vegan meal/day. All I had to do was pick up my food in the morning and eat (or actually mostly drink) in the order outlined by the numbered containers. Easy Peezy. It was also suggested that I start drinking a litre of room temperature lemon water first thing every morning in addition to 4 litres of water throughout the day at least 20 minutes before or after a meal so as not to impede digestion.
To prep, I was advised to minimize my consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and animal proteins for 3 days prior to the cleanse to allow for a smooth transition without any major side effects. No problem.
And when I say “no problem” I literally mean it. The entire process was incredibly easy and the results were better than expected.
First, on a practical level, it was sooooo lovely to not have to think about what to eat or to have to actually go through the process of preparing food for myself. As the person in charge of feeding two young children and a husband, this part was absolutely luxurious and worth every penny.
But more importantly, I felt amazing. The blocked feeling in my gut disappeared, I had a ton of energy and never felt hungry. The only negative side effect I experienced was the occasional, brief, 30 second pang of a headache. That’s it.
In the two months since the cleanse, I have continued to follow a vegan-ish diet. I say vegan-ish, because I do have eggs on occasion and will have cheese sparingly, typically when eating out on a weekend. But for the most part, I am eating vegan and I am loving it! And based on the changes I have witnessed, my body is too.
Here is what I have noticed so far:
- I am less hungry in spite of maintaining the same level of activity. Previously, I would be feeling pangs of hunger about 2.5 hours after breakfast, sometimes even sooner if I worked out before eating. Now, my breakfast (typically a chia pudding with nuts, and berries, and an almond milk latte) keeps me going for at least 4 hours, even on days that I work out.
- I lost 1-2 dress sizes within about 3 weeks of making the change. I mention this point with a bit of hesitation as I did not do this in order to lose weight and don’t want to be promoting weight loss. But, I would be lying if I did not admit that seeing the last remnants of baby weight literally fall off me feels really good. It’s like I pushed a reset button and returned to my former pre-baby size.
- My habitually dry skin is improving.
- I am excited about food again. I know that this might seem counter intuitive, but it’s true. I am excited to learn about new foods, new restaurants and about new ways of cooking. It’s like an entire new world of food has opened up to me, and the possibilities seem endless. And whether it’s a reflection of my heightened awareness or a sign of a growing trend in the city, there isn’t a week that goes by where I don’t hear about a new vegan focused establishment or food experience happening in this city (case in point: This article in the current Toronto Life Magazine)
As happy as I am to ride this wave and see where it takes me, I need to understand why I have experienced these physical changes. Why am I less hungry? Why did I lose weight so quickly? Is it just a function of me drinking more water? Does it have something to do with the way my body is digesting and processing this kind of food? Or does this have nothing to do with the type of food I am eating at all, and just a positive side effect of my meditation practice and being more conscious and aware of eating out of hunger vs. for other reasons?
This is how my brain works. I need to know. And so, in the spirit of science and exploration, my plan is to investigate these questions and share the results with all of you.
And for those of you, who really don’t care about why and just want to learn more about the yummy food I am making and eating, I plan to share this part of the journey as well. It so happens that I know a number of vegan chefs in this city. So why not invite them to my kitchen to teach me a little about what they know, film it and post it on YouTube? How’s that for multitasking: cooking, learning, socializing, sharing to social media, and getting dinner ready for the family, all at the same time. Booyakashat!