Find out how Hannah got on with her Veganuary Challenge
So I want these blogs to be honest therefore this is definitely not a piece about the roaring successes of the past 31 days.
More of a truthful overview of what in parts was a bit of a kerfuffle.
Weight: - 0.5kg
Muscle Mass: - 0.2kg
Body fat %: +0.5%
Put simply: no change!
Meat consumed: 4 meals
(3 were planned occasions where I wasn’t cooking, 1 was a meal out where in total honesty the vegan option just didn’t sound nice).
Eggs consumed: 0
Dairy items consumed: 0
Fish/shellfish consumed: 0
Accidental/badly thought out non-vegan moments: ~15 -20 including
- Mindless Christmas biscuits & chocolate
- Multi-vit chewy tablets with gelatine in
- Egg noodles (clues in the name, engage brain next time)
- Crackers with whey powder in
On the whole I don’t feel that my diet has become significantly healthier and in honesty I’ve relied more on pre-prepared foods. Not saying that i’ve lived on ready meals or McPlant burgers for a month because thats absolutely not the case but there have been plenty of occasions where I haven’t had the headspace to carefully plan food and I’ve ended up eating bowls of cereals, slices of toast or protein shakes rather than well balanced meals.
On the plus side I was definitely eating more veg, more beans and pulses and had loads of colour in my diet! Which was great. I was exceeding the fibre recommendations which most of the UK don’t meet and I also tried new foods.
The toast and cereal dinners are 100% my fault! Its not Veganuary’s fault that I couldn’t get organised. But life happens and I definitely found that on occasions where I would normally make a quick omelette I was reaching for cereals, toast or snack foods.
I will admit I found it hard to plan. I was constantly thinking about food (not unusual for me but this was in a slightly more stressful way) and definitely had to make time for more batch cooking and more meal prep.
All of the points I’m making though are simply because it was new. Any change in routine or diet is hard to plan at first and takes months rather than weeks to become second nature.
If you know me or have ever worked with me you’ll know that I’m a big fan of carbs and I would never recommend removing them from your diet. However because I wanted to do Veganuary in a way that focussed on whole foods and limited the amount of “fake” meat products or heavily processed products I was finding that my diet was about 90% carbohydrates and personally that wasn’t making me feel my best.
We’re all very different so please don’t take this as nutrition advice but I know that I feel more energetic and less hungry if I have more protein in my diet (I usually aim for about 1g per kg of body weight per day if my goals are maintenance) so I actually didn’t feel my best following a whole-food vegan approach. I found that even though my fibre intake was increased I was quite hungry through the day and also I was feeling quite bloated.
This being said its not impossible to follow a higher protein vegan diet, it again just takes careful planning which I hadn’t quite got fully in tune with during the first few weeks.
If I were to put my professional hat on I would never discourage anyone from choosing a vegan diet but I would suggest phasing into it slowly rather than diving straight in on January 1st. Especially if you come from a diet which included a lot of meat, fish & dairy as its a big change and requires a lot of planning to begin with.
For me, its been a great challenge and I wouldn’t discourage anyone from taking part. I will definitely be continuing to include more plant based foods in my diet and keep up the extra beans, pulses, legumes & colour in my diet however I think I’m an omnivore at heart and will be interspersing these with eggs, meat a few times per week and a few croissants here and there. I’ve missed a croissant with a Sunday morning coffee!
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