M y decision to go on the 2 week trial of a vegan diet started after I watched the “What the Health” documentary on Netflix.
A lot of case reports, meaning people who gave their experiences, showed that health benefits and physical wellness started within 2 weeks of the diet.
If you’ve watched my vlog posts or read part 1 or part 2 of the “what the health” blog posts, you know that I had a small accident while in medical school, and have had neck and back pain ever since. So I was definitely interested on how this might affect me.I initially thought it was going to be extremely difficult for me to go on this 2 week trial.
I love cheese, and all kinds of animal protein, even more so eggs. I was nervous to say the least. Then the trial started.
I was able to eat other foods that I loved in higher quantities.
This included hummus, veggies and fruits. I even found dairy/cheese replacements that in my opinion were quite delicious. Many people I spoke to disliked the vegan cheese options, but I myself loved them
Luckily, my diet already included tons of greens, fruits and complex carbs and grains.
I didn’t eat white rice as much, had been eating more quinoa and black rice than other kinds of carbs. I definitely think that for those who rarely eat “healthy” foods.. this diet might be and probably will be more difficult to manage because it would have been too many changes all at once.
Overall, over the next two weeks the changes I experienced were pretty great.
I used to get the mid-day slump all the time. I would get sleepy, or tired, and feel like I needed a pick-me up and huge cup of coffee. I found myself drinking less coffee than usual yet still had more energy than before.
I also felt great when I went to the gym. I would do my full weight training program and then I still had energy to run or bike or do easy step for 15 min or more.
I felt very energetic.
On my previous eating habits I would wake up a bit tired, and didn’t feel like getting out of bed. Some people might say, “oh maybe you’re depressed”. Not really. I was just tired. But after starting the vegan diet, I felt a different mood in the mornings.
I also noticed I had a better temper. Not that I was a super angry person all the time, but certain things would get on my nerves, which is normal. On the vegan diet, my temper was more tolerant of things that would normally bug me. It was nice not to be bothered by certain things.
I felt overall happier, energetic and healthier.
My body felt healthier,
I looked forward to meals. Didn’t get tired after a few hours of eating, didn’t feel tired half-way through the day.. and guess what? Neck and back pain improved.
Don’t I usually always had neck and back pain maybe around a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10
(1 being no pain, 10 being the worst pain ever). So my pain was definitely consistent and sometimes really bad. I did yoga, and swam and ran, lifted weight etc and stayed active physically. These things all helped, but it wasn’t until the vegan diet that I actually noticed a lower level of pain.
The pain difference was felt almost immediately. After the 1st day, my back and neck felt better. I thought it was psychological so I ignored it and kept on with my diet. Then after the 3-4th day I noticed that my back and neck hadn’t been bothering me as much.
By day 7-8 the pain reached a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. Always a 4, which was tolerable. In those 2 weeks, I felt neck and back pain maybe 3 times, whereas I used to feel it every day.
So this was a big change for me and my way of life. Don’t forget living with pain is also associated with worse mood. Could there be a connection between my decreased pain level and my improved mood? Very likely.
The last Sunday of my vegan trial, I made a crazy decision. I would extend the diet, end date TBA (to be announced).
Towards the end of the 3rd week, my nephew turned 8 years old and we had a party for him at a park. Burgers and hot dogs only, so I broke the vegan streak and had a hot dog and ½ a burger throughout the day. I was so nervous. Nothing happened
The next morning, I had egg and avocado toast for breakfast. Still nothing happened. My mind went back into my usual habits. And that afternoon, my neck and back started hurting. I assumed it was the usual occurrence of pain while on the vegan diet, but the pain didn’t go away.
That day, for dinner, we had pizza. I ate a slice of Hawaiian. Which is my favorite second to pepperoni.
I immediately regretted it. I felt gross, so full, that “ugh” feeling. I waited to digest and went for a late night 3 mile run. I felt somewhat better and went to bed.
The next day, the pain was back. Not to mention this vegan diet has made my bathroom visits very regular. All of a sudden, I wasn’t as regular as I had been in those 3 weeks being vegan. Gross topic I know, but a lot of people will benefit from me discussing this and regular bowel movements are important! It was easier to replace unhealthy snacks with healthy snacks. I felt great, my cravings were gone, I was in a better mood, more endurance in the gym. I loved it. Since the end of the third week, I have “broken” the vegan streak a total of 4 times. This morning was the 4th.
I had Kellogg’s chocolate cereal with vanilla soy milk and freshly cut strawberries. I felt bloated, and gross. It can definitely be psychological.
I feel guilty and so my body is reacting and feeling nasty to support my psyche’s guilt. The mind is a powerful thing, but I felt so good on the vegan diet, I have decided to go back on it, and only once in a blue moon, eat something like dairy, or animal protein.
If any of you haven’t don’t it yet, try the 2 week vegan trial! Just 2 weeks, eating enough food, taking vitamins like b12 etc. Consult with someone or do research before you decide to do this to do it the healthy way. If you’ve already done it, let me know what changes you noticed! I want to know your experiences and im sure other’s will want to know too.
No matter what! There is no judgment here! Only information.
If this info makes you make a change for the healthier lifestyle then perfect! If it makes you question things, perfect.
If it makes you question me, even better! Never take just my word. Get involved in your health guys! And if you need the motivation, the support and fun facts about healthy foods and habits, then I’m here for you. A healthy lifestyle is not just a choice; it’s a way of life. There’s no need for you to do this alone!
Love, Dr. Vero
PS: I will upload another blog post featuring some of my favorite meals while I was on the 3 week trial. Send me some of your favorite recipes so I can try them too !