Thursday, April 11, 2013

Expeirmenting with a Whole Food, Plant Based Diet (Meatless March)

 cauliflower and black bean chiliLast month Nate and I went on a 30 day experiment.   We had been doing some research and really started seeing the value of a Whole Food, Plant Based (WFPB) diet.  So, we decided to go for it hard core for 30 days and see what we thought.  So, that was our Meatless March that you may have seen so many posts about.  I sat down and planned out the monthly menu as I normally did, except it did not include meat, eggs, or dairy and very little soy.  Initially, we did try some of the "vegan" products on the market, most had soy in them and we quickly discovered that we did not digest them well at all!  To the point that I bought 2 packages of tofu at the beginning of March and one is still in the fridge, simply because I don't like to throw things away.  Technically they are not whole foods either, since we bought some of them already made, like the night we tried pizza with daiya cheese and tofurky pepperoni, no thanks!!  Not all of the recipes were stellar but boy most of them have been absolutely delicious!!!

So, what do we consider a WFPB diet?
Plant based foods with less than 5 ingredients is my rule of thumb.  No meat. No dairy. No eggs. My 5 year old breaks it down pretty simple with a question of "was it made or grown?"

Is it hard to follow?
It was challenging, but to me that is the fun part.  It has been a good educational process and a great way to push us to try new things and new recipes. The key has been planning ahead!!

What is the best part about WFPB diet?
The cooking and clean up is so CLEAN!  I absolutely love that I don't have to worry about raw anything!  The dishes are not greasy! I can lick my fingers or taste test when cooking without worrying about salmonella poisoning!

What benefits did we see?
We feel better overall, cleaner and healthier.  Way better digestion, after the first two weeks, which were kind of a crazy detox I guess.  I am noticing improvements in my skin!  It is easy to lose weight whenever you clean up your diet but especially when switching to WFPB, but we learned to still watch our portion sizes and the nuts.  We came into this from a pretty clean eating life style already, so didn't really expect to see the dramatic weight lose that most people see.  I actually gained 2 lbs. during the 30 days because I had increased my portion sizes so much, thinking that was okay and the food was SO good!  And nuts are such an easy snack.  But, after seeing that it has been pretty easy for me to dial it back and so now I am 2 lbs. below where I started. 

What was the biggest challenge?
Easter was probably the biggest challenge mainly because it involved eating at someone else's house and running the risk of offending them.  It was my mom and I don't think we offended her but I did feel as though we were being a bit rude by not eating the meat she had prepared.  We did have a small portion of the potatoes and corn that had prepared with a small amount of butter in them (we could certainly tell we had eaten it too! Our bodies did not react favorably to the butter). We brought several dishes that I made and knew would be okay for us to eat and appreciated by them, so as to hopefully counteract the not eating her meat part. This will be difficult for me going forward, because I do not ever want to seem ungrateful for what someone has prepared for us. :/

Do we miss meat & cheese?
Sometimes Nate does, but not on a daily basis, more on a "it would be good to indulge every now and then in one of my favorites" kind of way. I do NOT at all!

vegan Mac and CheeseIs it worth it?
It was definitely worth it!  It was an eye opening challenge and we felt great afterward!

Did we get the nutrition we needed?
Yes! You do have to be sure you are eating a variety of foods, but that was no issue because I love that part!  The good thing is that when you are WFPB, not just vegan, you aren't eating ANY junk! There really isn't any junk that is WFPB, that I have found and if you are eating enough to be satisfied and a variety then you are getting the nutrition you need. Of course the addition of Shakeology was also beneficial for a nutrient and protein rich lunch.

Will we continue?
vegan asian recipeWe have decided to continue on about a 97% basis.  When I do the monthly menu, we are picking 3 meals per month that will not be WFPB.  This is simply because we feel like that will help us maintain this lifestyle without feeling like we are missing out on something or denying ourselves something that we really want.  And even those meals aren't going to be crazy, because we know how physically bad we will feel afterward and it just isn't worth it!
whole food plant based muscles

Did Nate lose muscle or have a hard time building?
Nate did not lose any muscle mass and is still seeing gains!

So, what were we eating?
Of course we had our Shakeology everyday for lunch!  Our favorite is the Chocolate Vegan. About half of the recipes we tried are under the recipes tab but I am also going to put together an E-book full of recipes for you guys! :)

Feel free to comment with questions, suggestions, opinions or whatever!

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