It’s unbelievable how quickly time flies by. It’s now been close to 7 months since I went vegan and 4 months since I’ve gone gluten-free. I must admit that I am and feel healthier than ever and I’m so grateful for the incredible support from strangers, friends and family. It’s an experience that has changed my physical and mental health, diet, fitness and general well-being. Plus, it’s been a lot of FUN! This blog post is just an update on where I am in my quest for optimal health and well-being, some of the health benefits I’ve encountered, interesting things I’ve learned in the past six months and your most favourite Just Add Good Stuff Series posts. My May update on going vegan is located here.
My Vegan & Gluten-Free Experience > Revisiting the 10 Original Personal Benefits
In May, I updated my followers on 10 unexpected personal benefits since going vegan and I’m really happy to report that all of those things are getting even better.
- I continue to sleep a lot better… sometimes up to 6-8 hours a night (compared with 1-2 hours before this year)
- I’ve had only 1 migraine all year (and that was due to drinking too much the night before!)
- Allergies to pollen, temperature and altitude change have gradually decreased.
- My body weight has remained constant. The myths about the lack of plant based protein sources and complete amino acids in whole foods is really, just a myth.
- My body fat content continues to drop. Still healthy though but seem more ripped.
- I still haven’t had to take a nap in the afternoon. I don’t get the extreme tiredness at all nor the sugar spikes and troughs through the day.
- My teeth are still white.
- My digestion is consistent and healthy.
- I’m more patient and a lot less anxious and it seems to be getting even better
- My skin is still clear of acne and my hair is growing back. How’s that for a health benefit!
5 More Unexpected Health Benefits
In addition to the previous 10 unexpected personal benefits, I’ve also noticed a few more health benefits of note. They include:
- I’m more focussed. I’ve always been efficient and focused when it comes to work and decision making, but since I’ve gone vegan, I find that I am less easily distracted and can focus for longer periods of time. Because of that, I’m more efficient and can get more work done within a shorter time frame.
- I’m more positive and grateful for my health. Going both gluten-free and vegan has given me a more positive outlook on my health and well-being. By knowing that I’m doing everything possible to reduce my risk of disease and inflammation, I’m also focussing on being more positive throughout all facets of my life. This is a great mental health benefit.
- My skin is smoother and healthier looking. I used to get really dry skin but since I’ve gone gluten free and vegan, it has a more natural hue and is more ‘radiant’. This is probably because I have a good balance of essential oils, minerals and vitamins in my diet that keeps my skin healthy and hydrated. Plus, I don’t even use any skin moisturizer.
- My instances of bloating and cramps has diminished significantly. After decades of abusing my body through bad diet, I believe my body needed time to readjust and rid itself of all the toxins and build-up of bad cholesterol, fat and undigested or semi-digested food. After 5 months of veganism, I hardly get any bloating or stomach cramps. I believe my body has fully adjusted to this new whole foods plant based diet.
- I feel as though I can conquer any challenge and face any adversity in my life now. The mental focus, discipline, constant action and commitment to health, diet and fitness has taught me a lot about what I am capable of doing and being. This has been one of the most important life lessons that I will never forget from my vegan experience.
My Vegan Experience > 5 Interesting Things I’ve Encountered and Learned Since Going Vegan
- More people are asking me how long I’m staying vegan and gluten-free for. I don’t know if they are assuming that this is just a diet or fad… or something temporary. I just laugh because going vegan and gluten-free has been about a lifestyle change for me. It’s learning about nutrition and fitness and making sure that I do everything possible to live a healthy and prosperous life. The things I’ve learned will stay with me for life… so I often respond by saying: “This was a one year experiment, but the results and interest in veganism will stick with me for my entire life.” I should honestly respond by asking them: “So how long do you think you will continue killing yourself through an unhealthy diet. How long will you continue to eat processed or packaged foods? How long will you continue to eat fast food even when you know it’s unhealthy for you.” But I’m really not that mean…
- My favourite SUPER FOODS now include the previous 10 as well as chaga, pomegranate, asparagus, turmeric, cumin, cilantro and parsley.
- About 5 months into my vegan experience, I started ‘slowing down’. I became more lethargic and ‘slow’ in physical activities and focus. My dietician told me that I was probably deficient in Vitamin B-12 which is usually only found in meats and dairy products. So, I self diagnosed myself as being Vitamin B-12 deficient and started taking a Vitamin B supplement every morning. The difference was night and day. I will be publishing an article about Vitamin B-12 deficiencies and some common myth and misunderstandings about this very soon.
- Just like my self-diagnosed deficiency in Vitamin B-12, I was probably also deficient in Vitamin D. Again, a vegan and gluten free diet doesn’t really bode well for adding these two essential vitamins into my body. Therefore, the most natural form of Vitamin D is through sunlight. I get out more often just to get 5-10 minutes of direct sunlight every day. It’s awesome.
- My vegan and gluten-free diet actually does NOT cost any more than my previous unhealthy diet. I eat less but eat more nutritional food. So yes, by volume, I’m consuming more expensive foods, but I’m also eating and drinking a lot less. There are very few ‘empty calories’ in my diet now.
Great Response to our Just Add Good Stuff Series
When I first started Just Add Good Stuff, I wanted to present information in various ways that would touch people differently. From visual images to summarized nutritional info and from catchy/edgy quotes to helpful statistics, here are the highly successful Just Add Good Stuff Series that I’m so proud of:
- INFOGRAPHIC Series
- RECIPE Series
- QUOTE Series
- NOBODY ELSE CARES Series
- TIPS FOR A HEALTHY LIFE Series
- JUICE BOOST Series
The Excuses Pile On…
In the past 7 months, I’ve heard hundreds of excuses from strangers, friends and family as to why they’ve never tried eating healthier or going vegan or adopting a fitness/training program. Some of these excuses include:
I don’t have time / I’m too busy
I don’t believe in veganism / Veganism is stupid
There’s no difference between conventional and organic foods… it’s just marketing
I’ve survived this long, so why change
Other people who eat meat survive until they are 100, so why can’t I
Eating healthy means I don’t need to exercise
I have a family so it’s not possible
I’ve got a full time job so it’s not possible
Eating just greens and whole foods is unhealthy
For me, making an excuse is just an easy way out. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to change or I’m too lazy, but making excuses for myself is no longer something I do.
In every decision I make, I take a different perspective and ask myself:
“How do it do this?”
“How do I make this change?”
“How do I make time”
You should also try it sometime.
A Valuable Lesson …
One of the most important life lessons in this entire vegan/gluten-free experience has nothing to do with eating well, exercising or learning about nutrition. On the contrary, the most valuable life lessons are how this vegan/gluten-free experience has taught me about:
Dealing with Change
Mastering all 5 of these skills will help in EVERY FACET of my life … not just health and fitness. People who make excuses and oppose change will likely never learn how to master these 5 skills. Going vegan will teach you and push you to the limit when it comes to these life lessons. Try it and see how well you do…