As any true Beyonce fan would know, sis occasionally follows a plant-based diet thanks to her nutrition coach Marco Borges. After seeing a video featuring her endorsing the 22 Day Nutrition program, I finally decided to give the diet a chance. I was excited but a little skeptical at first, especially because I was used to rolling my eyes at vegans who couldn’t go a day without posting something on social media regarding being vegan. I mean, how life changing could it really be? Well, turns out – pretty legit. Here are my experiences:
Why I Did It
Other than wanting to be more like Bey (obviously) it presented a chance for me to practice some self-discipline. I also was looking to be healthier and lose some inches off my waist. I had actually just gotten off the keto diet for 30 days, which was actually successful (I lost 8 or 9 pounds), but I felt like it wasn’t really healthy. I got tired of loading my body with buttered up meat and obsessing over carbs, so I was looking for something to switch to that would keep the weight I’d lost off. Also, there is a tiny sliver of me that feels bad about how we treat animals for consumption and its effect on the environment. You’re welcome PETA.
My Go-To Meals
I definitely had to be open to trying new things to find what I liked. There were some gross things – vegan cheese tastes like straight plastic ya’ll – but I found some favorites:
Breakfast: Ezekiel toast with vegan butter and/or strawberry jam. (If you use jam or jelly try to get some with no added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.) Another favorite was vegan bacon sandwiches with veganaise. DON’T sleep on veganaise. It’s expensive but honestly tastes just as good, if not better, than regular mayo.
Lunch/Dinner: Eating out, I usually went for Greek/ other Mediterranean food – including pita, hummus, couscous, falafel, rice, and chickpeas. My other favorite was Vietnamese rolls with lemongrass tofu (I promise it’s good!) and a mix of veggies. If I’m cooking, I loved stir fry or grilled Field Roast vegan sausages; red, green, and yellow peppers, minced garlic, mushrooms, and onions.
<<<Hands down the best meal I had. Mediterranean bowl from a spot in Chicago.
Changes I Noticed
- The Hunger – Admittedly, I was hungry the first 2 or 3 days. I found it hard to feel full so I ended up snacking a lot. I was surprised, however, at how quickly my body adjusted and the hunger faded. After a while I just ate less in general.
- More Energy – I felt more energy by day 2 that lasted the whole 22 days. I felt the difference most before and after successful workouts.
- Enhanced Taste Buds – I was actually surprised to realize this and didn’t know it would be a side effect. Everything I ate tasted better, especially vegetables. Foods I hated before, particularly tomatoes and mushrooms, were much more manageable. I actually ended up craving portobello mushroom burgers and appreciated the added flavor of tomatoes in my dishes.
- Tweaking Vegan Recipes – A lot of vegan recipes ask you to add white sugar, which I usually omitted or substituted with fruit. There is actually a distinct difference between going vegan and going plant-based. Vegans sometimes care less about healthy eating and more about avoiding animal products. Plant-based diets try to make veggies and legumes the center piece of every meal and avoid processed foods with additives.
- Skin Was Less Dry – Unfortunately my skin didn’t clear up as much as I hoped or expected, but I think there are other factors in my environment contributing to my acne.
- Smelling Like A Snack – At first I thought I was tripping, but low key I didn’t really get body odor after a long day or workout. Apparently it’s a common thing for vegans. I’d go for a run and come back gross and sweaty, but I didn’t really smell bad like usual. Mind you I live in hot, humid Florida. It was weird. Of course, I still used deodorant and took my showers so it didn’t matter that much to me.
- Weight Loss – This wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t cut back on pastas, bread, and sweets, all of which are technically allowed if they don’t have eggs or dairy but can make you gain instead of lose weight. I lost another 7 pounds or so.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience – so much so that I decided to stick to it! I’m now more of a “flexitarian” which for me means I go back and forth between being vegan and pescatarian. I’ll eat fish, but still try to avoid dairy and eggs. Do I miss meat? Not terribly, but I don’t think I’ll never have a particularly juicy looking steak or burger again. I do miss eggs, a lot actually. But for now, I’ve been happy with trying new foods, expanding my palette, and decreasing my contribution to meat production.
The best I’ve looked and felt in a couple years! I down to 139lbs from 156lbs back in May.