It has been one full week since I changed my diet. I have been a vegetarian for 17 years, but last Sunday I decided to cut out all animal products (dairy and eggs), gluten, and sugar. I survived…clearly, I’m writing at this very moment. You can read about why I chose to make this change here: https://littlerantsfromthebigcity.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/diet-change/
To say it has been hard would be an understatement. I felt VERY overwhelmed the first few days. What the hell was I supposed to eat? I found myself needing hours in the kitchen every day to prep and cook things that I could eat. I almost melted down within minutes of my first tip to the grocery store. I quickly realized, being vegan, not a problem, being gluten free, not a problem, being sugar free, problem. The food industry in this country puts sugar in EVERYTHING. Prior to this change I did not eat a lot of prepackaged food; I did a pretty good job of making most things from scratch, but I’ll admit, sometimes convenience trumped what was best for my health. I was a conscientious eater, cooker, and baker adding minimal amounts of sugar to baked goods and using high quality, organic products the majority of the time. Still, as aware as I thought I was of what I was consuming, I was really consuming a lot of crap.
I ate a lot of fat the first few days, too much. I quickly realized that the fat, avocados, nuts, olive and coconut oils were filling and comforting. I needed comforting and the foods I usually turned to, baked goods, breads, pastas, and ice cream were all out. I also realized just how much I turn to food when I am feeling certain emotions. By the fourth day I was less overwhelmed and wanting lighter foods, lots of salads, smoothies, fresh green juices, half an avocado (as opposed to one…or two), a couple of handfuls of nuts instead of the whole bag. I started feeling excited to get into the kitchen and experiment, as opposed to feeling like it was a nuisance. I realized that a lot of what I had made before just needed a small tweak here or there so that I could still eat it. Fruit started to taste really sweet. I wanted a peach or blueberries, or watermelon for dessert. My taste buds had adjusted. I felt more grounded. I felt lighter, and I do not mean weight-wise. A friend commented that my skin looked brighter. All of the bloating, stomach cramps, and indigestion I had been experiencing were gone almost immediately. I had more energy; I wasn’t feeling exhausted all the time. It seemed by day five I genuinely was feeling better overall. My cravings for stuff I can no longer eat dissipated by day six. I started thinking, “Maybe I really can do this…for good, not just for 30 days.”
To keep this post from becoming a novella I will simply say, I survived eating out (even with warm garlic bred being brought to the table the second we sat down), I have eaten dinner with friends, not being able to fully engage in and enjoy these things was a concern for me. I enjoy sharing meals with friends and do not want to sacrifice that in anyway because of what I can and cannot eat. Now that I am better prepared and a little more knowledgeable in the kitchen I feel more equipped to head in to week two. I am allowing myself to drink alcohol beginning today, but truth be told, I don’t know that I’m all that excited about having a glass of wine or a beer, even though that was all I could think of most of last week. I had no desire to have wine with dinner tonight. I’m sure week two will present new challenges and curveballs to be dealt with.
The following websites have offered up lots of inspiration and delicious recipes thus far: