Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Vegan-ary Day 1

This is my 100th blog post. For some reason I find that really exciting :-)

Today was a successful day by my standards. I didn't eat what most would call a "balanced" diet, but I expected that. The first few days are about breaking old habits and cravings and getting acclimated. Once that happens I'll start focusing more on variety and balance.

The last few days, we were well aware that Vegan-ary was approaching and so we wanted to eat any foods that we knew we were going to miss. This was an attempt to "get it out of our system" in hopes that these same foods wouldn't trigger us to cheat or want to cheat. So we have binged on down home southern comfort food, fast food breakfast sandwiches, Chinese buffet selections, BBQ, you get the idea. We were so miserable after last nights Mexican splurge. Bloated, heartburn, stomach cramps, diarrhea. Basically how we used to feel all the time. And we have been feeling like that for days, since our "cheat-proof binge-fest" started.

Well today, after one day of Vegan-ary, I am happy to report all the bloating, heartburn, and stomach issues GONE! I'm still really exhausted and feeling too lazy and tired to clean or do anything besides veg in front of the TV really, but I'm hoping those will improve with time.

My run today was cancelled due to rain...and I just didn't feel like running in the rain.  So I'll move that back to it's regularly scheduled Wednesday.

Basically, no drastic changes yet, just ridding myself of the heartburn and all. Thankfully no major cravings yet either.  I did have a mild headache all day and just SO tired.  I also realized that I bought myself a little miniature Ben and Jerry's ice cream cup so I could have one last ice cream splurge, but I forgot to eat it!!  Ugh.  Now it's mocking me.  I plan to feed it to the kids soon :-)

The Month Formerly Known as February

The hubby and I embarked on a non-New Year's Resolution on January 1st...but we are ready to grow the challenge.

We’ve decided to take on this 30 day challenge to eat mostly vegan, mostly unprocessed, mostly whole grain foods.  We will do this all of February, plus today to get our total 30 days.  We’re calling it Vegan-ary (ya know…instead of February).  No more “cheat days”, not for this month.  We’re going all in. The rules are pretty simple:

1.      Eat a mostly vegan diet eliminating ALL meat, eggs, and dairy.  We are making exceptions to a truly vegan diet by still allowing honey (as the FoK diet does) and gelatin.
2.      Eat only whole grains at home when cooking or eating bread or pasta.  If we go to a restaurant we may bypass the whole grains requirement, so long as what we are eating is still a vegan meal (with noted exceptions above).
3.      Reduce added oils and sodium when cooking at home.  Again, restaurant meals are an exception so long as we stick to #1.
4.      Eat primarily whole foods (grains, fruits, and vegetables) and cut out most processed foods (which we currently rely far too heavily on)
5.      Don’t break the rules for all of Vegan-ary!!!

I want to post regularly throughout Vegan-ary to document the improvements (or problems) that I’m noticing.  It’s not my intent to document exactly what I’m eating and turn this into a food blog, although I will talk about it some if anyone is interested.  I’m more interested in documenting how I’m feeling, changes I’m noticing, the way my runs are going/feeling/timing changes, etc.  I want to look back and have a record of how improvements in my diet are affecting me. 

When we had our first 8 day streak (January 1-8) we were feeling down because we didn’t notice any changes.  Or so we thought.  What really happened is that we had forgotten just that quickly how badly we had really been feeling before.  This time, I do not  want to forget.  I want it on here in all its glory…the clichéd good, bad, and ugly.  I am so beyond ready for Vegan-ary to begin!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Thoughts from January

My husband and I aren’t really New Year’s Resolutions kind of people.  I admire the people who are NYR kind of people.  If you can make a resolution and stick to it just because the calendar flips over to a new year then I think that’s great.  It takes amazing resolve.  Resolve that my husband and I don’t have.  We are not NYR kind of people.  We need a far greater catalyst for change than a calendar flip. 

This year on January 1st we did make a change.  And it wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution, and it wasn’t because it was January 1st.  It was because there was a catalyst for change and randomly that catalyst occurred just a few days before the New Year.  This happened:

We like to watch documentaries because we’re kind of nerdy like that.  We’re also aware that our four food groups are junk food, fast food, frozen food, and Paula Deen desserts.  We know those aren’t the healthiest food groups to build your day around.  We know it’s a horrible example for our children.  We know that it is shameful (yet oh so true) that days will pass without a single vegetable or fruit passing through our mouths.  For all of these reasons we were completely entranced by Forks Over Knives.  It really resonated with us.  In fact, it kind of terrified us.  But in a good way.  A way that inspired us to finally make some changes that we’ve been working towards for years.

We took a couple of days at the end of December to pig out on some of our favorite foods.  Then on January 1st we completely cut out meat, eggs, cheese, and all dairy, and we switched to all whole grains for our breads and pastas.  We set out with a transition plan that allowed each of us in the house (including the 2 kiddos) 2 “cheat days” during the month.  This actually meant a cheat meal and not a whole day.  We figured 8 crappy meals during the month and 85 really healthy meals was a drastic and marked improvement.  And it would help us get through the cravings and rough times, knowing that we didn’t have to cut out some of our old favorites forever, but just for a little while.

We had an amazing January where we learned a lot about our bodies and our health.  We had an 8 day streak where we were questioning whether there was any difference at all in how we felt.  Then we had our first cheat dinner which instantly brought on all of the symptoms that we had already forgotten about: heartburn, stomach cramps, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue that made us completely worthless for the rest of the evening.  And then when we had our next streak of clean eating, we appreciated finally how much better we really felt.  It didn’t stop us from using all of the cheat days allotted to us, but it did make us wonder how we could feel if we cut out the cheat days.

Would our health improve?  Would our energy soar?  Would our running times go down and runs feel better?

So we decided to find out……stay tuned!