Today was the last day of the 30 Day Vegan cleanse that I have been doing. Heather, from Beauty that Moves, led an amazing workshop and experience, providing much more than just some good recipes. Now, don't get me wrong - the food was fabulous. She got me to eat things I never thought I would try, and I often found myself amazed by how much I enjoyed it all. I never thought I could feel so satisfied and content without meat, eggs, dairy, and honey. And she never stooped to recommending all the processed soy-foods out there (besides tempeh and tofu). Just vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and some yummy sauces (peanut and tahini being my favorites). Good stuff, all of it.
Now the question I get the most: how do I feel? To be honest, not a ton different. Sure, there are some little things - softer skin, less 3:00 pm energy slump, and many fewer cravings among them. But overall, I didn't notice the feeling of "lightness" that so many describe. I've been warned that some people notice when things are taken out of the diet, and others notice as foods are added back in. Which is where I am now. What to add back? There are just so many philosophies and theories about nutrition, and many varied ideas have excellent research to support them. As I said when I set out, I didn't do this to become vegan. I saw it as a great experiment in altering my diet to try new and interesting things. But yes, I will add meat in. Probably not as often as before. And in eating less meat, I will be able to focus on choosing higher quality (not factory farmed). Dairy is another story - that is one area I have felt better. I have found that I really enjoy almond milk as a substitute, and will splurge on the occasional good cheese, but my body feels better without it. (And I found a great coconut milk ice cream for those special treats!) Eggs? They just don't sound as appealing, but I won't be avoiding them so fastidiously. I am looking forward to adding honey back in - it is a good, natural, less-processed sweetener that works for me.
So that's where I am. Today I had an apple and peanut butter for breakfast, chickpea, avocado, and tomato salad for lunch, and veggie stir fry with brown rice for dinner. Snacks were veggies with hummus and a green smoothie (strawberries, banana, and kale today). I didn't feel deprived or like I was missing out. I am maintaining a focus of crowding out the processed, sugary foods with yummy, healthy plants. And i didn't mind at all. In truth, I'm a little sad it's all ending.
I really can't recommend this workshop enough, and I hope Heather offers it again. As I said in the beginning of this post, it was about far more than food. There were brilliant reminders to slow down and take care of ourselves. Inspiring quotes were supported by inspiring people along the journey. Taking thirty days to listen to my body and my heart, and try and fill those needs a little better was beyond worth it. I learned things I will carry into the rest of my life.
Just give me one cheeseburger, and I'd be ready to do it all again!