The carnivore to vegan experiment has ended as of Friday March 26th. This article is about my personal findings and experiences.
To recap, my goal over the last month was to maintain my current weight and muscle mass by eating an all natural vegan diet. This excluded anything with ingredients that I didn’t recognize by name. This ruled out all foods in plastic packaging.
It was challenging to adjust to this diet at first. It forced me to consistently try new foods, but later I was trying all sorts of foods simply from the excitement of exploring new tastes. Over the last 30 days I’ve eaten fresh coconut, pummelo and passion fruit to soy milk, vegan burgers and organic almond butter. One of the greatest joys I’ve experienced is this new found desire to embrace new foods. It’s a curiosity that I’ve seldom associated with meal times and it’s opened many new doors.
I’ve written this article in a pros & cons format to save you time. I’ve provided my personal opinions at the end of the post if you want to read more in depth.
Pros of being Vegan
- consistent energy throughout the day; no food comas
- No phlegm when singing!
- lost small gut (-7 lbs.)
- vegan diet promotes multiple meals due to hunger
- bowels are regular
- veganism promotes all sorts of new food choices
- Inspired others to eat healthier through example and by having healthy snacks available all the time
- Building my self-discipline by not allowing the option to eat unhealthy
- A greater awareness about additive, preservatives and processed foods
- Learned about the benefits of organic foods, where to buy them and how to cook them well.
- Finding of the local farmer’s market
- the first hand knowledge and experience of knowing you can go to a vegan diet right from carnivore and it’s very possible
- Feeling better spiritually about my food choices
- Personally knowing the facts of veganism and how it specifically effects my body
- Better health and consistent feeling of well being
Cons of being Vegan
- Missing out on staple dishes, ie: cheese omelets, sushi, BBQ chicken, In & Out Burgers
- Fatigue and runny nose during first week of transition
- Remembering to eat more often
- Having to pack food
- Gas, lots of it
- Slight muscle loss
- Soy, a great source of vegan protein, is bad for you in large quantities
- Quick food stops are harder because most convenient chain restaurants are not abundant with vegan food choices
- explaining why you’re doing this to friends that don’t get it
- Having to go shopping more often because natural foods go bad quicker
- Paying more money for organic & vegan foods
- Being “that guy” because you ask for weird stuff like a chicken salad, hold the cheese, chicken and croutons
- Not partaking in certain social events due to food choices
Overall the experiment was beneficial to my personal health and well-being. I discovered that milk was the cause for my singing limitations for over ten years. I would get some nasty phlegm after 15 minutes heavy singing. Now I can sing for and over an hour with no problems, especially when I’m hydrated.
I did lose more weight than I had planned. You should know that I’m in the minority as far a metabolism. Because this experiement I averaged 3,000 calories a day and ate 5 full meals a day, not including snacks.
At first, I found it hard to keep up with the calorie intake, but later adjusted. The goal was to maintain my weight, but I lost seven pounds total; 5 lbs within the first two weeks and 2 lbs in the last two weeks.
I decided not to post my percent body fat because it’s difficult to get an accurate reading. It felt as if I lost some muscle mass but I haven’t measured it for this round of experimentation.
Socially, it’s hard to remain vegan in the environment of carnivores. Many social event revolve around eating meats together. I love BBQ’ng. Fortunately there are always options in these situations. Trader Joe’s has a variety of vegan burgers that worked out well for grilling so I didn’t have to miss out on these events.
I feel spiritually, physically and mental healthier eating all natural foods all the time. I haven’t experienced a food coma in 30 days.
On the flip side, I’ve had more than average gas. Later I discovered this has to do with the combinations of what you eat, not necessarily what you eat. For example, if you mix a fruit with a condensed grain it might give you gas. Or a non-strachy fruit like an orange with a starch fruit like a banana, it might give you some issues.
I went from drinking 2 liters of water a day to a half a liter for the sole fact that most of the fruits I consumed throughout the day were 90% water.
Sometimes I felt I was missing out on life by not partaking in some unhealthy foods. But each time, I consciously remembered that I was making a better choice and/or building my self-disipline. On the positive side, my palette is much more sensitive to bland foods. Salads are a collage of new flavor and fruits taste like candy to me now.
The question you should ask is “what works best for you?” Vegan, vegetarian, carnivore, pescetarian or something in-between?
Try something new for 30 days. Do you think you will learn something valuable? Start with a small change for one week. If you’re feeling very ambitious or want help with the disciple, find someone to hold you accountable.
Experimentation gave us the light bulb, cars and the internet. Maybe certain food choices will help you live a more fulfilled and happy life. It’s possible your diet is keeping you from experiencing that life because the growth hormones you’re consuming are altering your brain chemistry.
What worked for me may not work for you- that’s your job to figure out. I will suggest trying a healthier diet, with more fruits and vegetables and observe what happens in your life. Experiment. Try new and healthier foods.
I believe most of us have a intuitive voice in our head that tells us what’s healthy for our body. It’s probably telling you to eat healthier and smarter- listen to it!
*My next plan is to add non-vegan organic foods into my diet, starting with eggs (free range / grain fed) and certain low mercury fish.... Thank you for visiting Matt Fonda Personal Development!