I have always thought about going vegan… How could I do that? Where is the protein? Don’t vegetables get kind of boring? What about Chick-fil-a?! SO many questions, + it took some convincing, but here we are. I did it! I decided to try this plant-based thing out last semester while I was away at college… + I LOVED it.
Overall, the plant-based diet was so much easier than I expected it to be, + I learned so much about the benefits of eating only plants. Here are some of the major things I learned:
One of the biggest things that I questioned about the plant-based diet was increasing the amount of carbs in my diet. I was always under the impression that higher protein, lower carbs was the way to go, + this plant-based experiment definitely proved otherwise.
There is no need to be afraid of carbs! Carbs energize us, + we SHOULD be eating them, not avoiding them! Some of my favorite carb sources that I relied on:
- Chickpea Pasta
- Dave’s Bread/Bagels
- Sweet Potatoes
- Fruits! [Bananas + Berries]
This was DEFINITELY where I saw the biggest difference in how I felt. It increased my motivation + energy in every aspect of my day. When I started consistently eating totally vegan, I found it easier to:
- Wake up early
- Focus on school assignments
- Stay awake + alert throughout the day
Aside from carbs, this was where I had the most questions. We are all trained to think that protein = meat, + this could NOT be more false. I highly recommend watching the Netflix documentary Game Changers, they explain this perfectly!
As explained in the documentary: Protein comes from meat, right? But… think about it… don’t the animals need to consume protein in order to give us that? Where do you think the animals get it from? How do they gain so much protein? You guessed it… plants!
It is SO fun to experiment with plant-based meat substitutes + different veggies, they can be made to taste EXACTLY like meat! One of my favorite recipes is Chickpea Salad [think tuna salad, but crushed chickpeas + vegan mayo!] Here are some of my favorite plant-based protein sources:
- Beyond Meat [Burgers, Meatballs, Ground “Beef”, etc.]
- Veggies! Veggies! Veggies! [Broccoli, Mushrooms, Kale, etc.]
- Nuts [Almonds + Peanuts, especially]
I really thought that I was going to miss some foods, for me, chicken was the hardest to let go of! Surprisingly enough, I did not miss anything at ALL! I found myself enjoying plant-based foods even more than typical foods.
Dairy-free cheese is one of these things for sure! I LOVE cheese, + after finding the right brands ++ cooking the right meals, I enjoy dairy-free cheese so much more! It tastes just as yummy, + doesn’t make me feel bloated.
I also found that so many restaurants are starting to offer plant-based options as well! My favorite– Sofritas at Chipotle… YUM!
I still have so much to learn + discover in terms of the plant-based diet, but I have to admit, it was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made. I absolutely intend on continuing, + I am EXCITED.
Nothing beats getting excited about food + knowing that you’re still going to feel GOOD after eating it!
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Have you tried going plant-based before? Tag @CHAARG + let us know! : )