Today I have a very special guest post from Dacia who blogs over at Thirty Three & Counting! She has been on her weight loss journey for almost a year and has had AH-MAZING results. She has also recently adapted a Vegan lifestyle, and I asked her to share her story with us! Thanks Dacia!
Hi! I’m Dacia from thirtythreeandcounting. I am a Weight Watchers member, a weight loss blogger (I’ve lost 108 pounds so far) and I am a vegan. Carrie, who we have all watched make a successful transition to a vegan diet, asked me to write a guest post about veganism and how it has affected my life. Let me just say that making the switch over to a vegan diet has been the best decision I have ever made and I have no desire whatsoever to convert back to a non-vegan diet.
After I joined Weight Watchers, about a month or so into my weight loss journey, I found that not only was I giving more consideration to the amount of food I was eating I was also focusing on how that food was affecting my overall health. I started practicing mindful eating in order to find foods that tasted good and provided me with energy and boosted my health. Through this practice it started to become clear that there were foods I was eating that were working against me. See, I had battled IBS and digestive issues for most of my life and always assumed that most of the problems I had were stress induced and hereditary and there was nothing I could do to fix it. Little did I know that my diet was the only thing contributing to my issues.
As I focused more on how I felt after I ate and started to tweak my diet to include more foods that my body thrived off of I realized that I was limiting more and more animal products weekly so I decided I should just try to eliminate them completely and to see what might happen. After a week with no animal products I was already noticing big changes in how I felt. It was amazing to feel so differently after such a short period of time. Then, because I still wasn’t 100% sold that diet could really make such an impact, I went out and had some frozen yogurt and boy was that a bad decision. I felt awful. The dairy made me constipated and crampy; I pretty much felt like crap. That was all it took to make me realize that there was no animal product out there that was worth giving up the benefits of following a vegan diet. I was sold.
That was three months and forty pounds ago.
I chose to follow a vegan diet for health reasons and what I have gotten from it was much more than I ever expected.
Energy: my energy levels are through the roof. I have never considered myself a morning person but now I wake up every morning with a ton of energy. I am ready to go without a single drop of caffeine. This energy also helps a great deal with my workouts. I can push myself harder and endure so much more now because I have the energy to do so. It’s truly incredible.
Sleep: I used to toss and turn and would frequently have nights where I either couldn’t fall asleep or couldn’t stay asleep. Now I sleep like a log. I hit the pillow and am out cold until that alarm goes off. I don’t even think I move while I am asleep which is so weird for me since I used to be notorious for moving back and forth and changing positions throughout the night. It drove my husband crazy.
Digestion: wow! Three months without any constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, or any stomach pains. I am regular and it feels good. Not that you want to read about poop but for me having a fully functioning digestive tract made a huge deal. So much of my sluggishness and the lethargic feelings I would get after I ate stemmed from how animal products affected my digestion.
Health: 3 months in and I haven’t gotten sick once. My body is working super hard to avoid it since we have had colds, flus, and stomach viruses make their way through our office several times this winter and yet I am the only person who has remained healthy through this awful cold season. Last year, this same time, I would have caught every little bug that got brought in. I was that person who was constantly getting sick.
Weight: Since adopting a vegan diet three months ago I have lost 40 pounds. I have read that after twelve weeks of eating a plant-based diet your body reaches its full potential and I believe it. I lost 13.6 pounds just in December. I not only see the difference on the scale, I see the difference in the measurements I take monthly and how my clothes fit. Since adopting a vegan diet I have lost a larger percentage monthly than I have in any of the previous months. Pretty crazy, right?
Eating: I love the foods that I eat which is a big reason becoming a vegan was an easy transition. If I hated the food I was eating this would be much more difficult but since I have great food every day missing steak or cheese or chicken nuggets has not even been an issue. The foods I eat now are packed with nutrient dense vegetables and grains and so I feel fuller with less food, I feel great after I eat- tons of energy, and I never feel guilty about the choices I make. Homemade veggie burgers and sloppy Joes made with lentils don’t bring with them the same guilt and sluggishness that their original meat-filled counterparts did and that is awesome. Oh, and I don’t have cravings either. I remember how I would eat pizza for dinner and how half a pizza barely filled me (the documentary “Forks over Knives” explains why this happens really well) and then I needed something sweet after to balance it out. I needed ice cream or a candy bar or something. Now I eat, feel satisfied (full not stuffed) and have no cravings. What a change!
Animal Rights: As mentioned previously, I made the decision to adopt a vegan diet due to health reasons but what has stemmed from that is my newfound appreciation of animals and a desire to become an advocate for animal rights. After adopting this diet I started reading books and watching documentaries about veganism/plant-based diets and animal treatment and I was appalled. I won’t go into details here but I will say that if I wasn’t a vegan already watching “Food, Inc.” would have turned me into one. I love the health and wellness benefits that veganism has provided me but it has become so much more than a diet to me. It has really been an eye-opening, life changing experience and I am thankful I every day to have made this decision.
Veganism has made a huge impact on my life and I strongly believe that following a plant-based diet can have positive effects on every creature. I hope that if you are interested in veganism or at least limiting your meat/dairy intake you take advantage of the plethora of free resources available to you. I hit up my favorite vegan bloggers for recipes and product reviews as well as use the public library to check out books and DVDs on the subject.
Thanks for reading!
It ill becomes us to invoke in our daily prayers the blessings of God, the Compassionate, if we in turn will not practice elementary compassion towards our fellow creatures.
—Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948)