how it all vegan…

yes, you read that right: vegan.

we did it.

here’s how it went down: we both felt like our health needed a little overhaul, especially cleaning up our so-called ‘healthy’ diet (mostly South-Beachy/Paleo with the not-so-occasional Cookout Milkshake thrown in for fun). scott has struggled with heartburn for five years and wanted to get off his medication. i wanted to lose weight to help with my hip injury and so my jeans would fit better!

we watched: Forks Over Knives. It had some very compelling arguments about the benefits of a plant based diet. Not just for our own health, but for the health of the planet (significant reduction in our carbon footprint) and could truly revolutionize the very broken healthcare system in America (virtually eliminating obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.)

we went for it: we started the next day, labor day weekend. complete elimination of all animal products. we decided it was better than ‘easing’ in.I went through major grieving of eggs and cheese initially. I can totally do almond or soy milk, but I love eggs for breakfast and cheese on pretty much anything. but then…

we discovered: two days later, I got my blood work results from my annual checkup. Not good, y’all. Not good at all. I considered myself pretty healthy with diet and exercise, but I was stunned to get an overall reading of 258. The worst part was my LDL, which according to Mayo Clinic, should be under 100, was 196! that’s heart disease high. and very scary. That was all the convincing I needed to say good bye to dairy and my beloved morning eggs- which, according to south beach, are great to eat for breakfast. so I did, a lot. probably a big factor in my high numbers.

disclaimer: I feel pretty vulnerable putting my blood work numbers out there. but I wanted to share because it made me realize how important it is to have regular checkups and be really aware of what I’m eating… after getting those numbers, I realized my ‘healthy’ diet maybe wasn’t as healthy as I thought (half and half anyone?).  scott’s blood work came in the next week and his numbers were high too. not as high as mine, and his LDL/HDL ratio was better, but it still needed improvement.

we’re eating: delicious and very satisfying foods. I got great cookbooks from the library, and have found several incredible websites devoted to plant based diets. One thing we learned both in Forks Over Knives and in Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (another great one to watch) is that 400 calories of plants will fill your stomach completely, whereas 400 calories of oils, fatty foods or animal products will only fill it about 30% full.

a typical day: either steel cut oats or a smoothie for breakfast, a salad with veggie burger or a hummus wrap or leftovers for lunch, and delicious dinners filled with lots of veggies and some whole grains. the good news is, red wine and many chocolates are vegan! we had a date to the mellow mushroom this week and split a veggie filled calzone without cheese and a spinach salad. (side note: they do offer daiya soy cheese, but we’ve determined that not eating cheese is a better option for us. blegh!)

we’re feeling: amazing, really. lots more energy was the first thing we both noticed. much clearer skin. stronger and faster with exercise. sleeping better. and some significant reduction in the muffin top.

long term: we don’t know yet. It’s only been a month. I plan to do it until my cholesterol and LDL is reduced to almost half. I’d like to be able to flex for eating out or eating at friends’ homes sometimes, though I question how that would make me feel afterwards. We are still giving small amounts of organic cow’s milk to our kids, cheese and the occasional ham sandwich, but I’m not making separate suppers for them- they can eat lentil tacos with us! I’m blessed to have 2 out of 3 kids who eat anything, so we’re in good shape.

concerns: getting enough protein, vitamin B12, calcium, iron, eating too much soy… all the reading I’ve done says that a well rounded whole foods diet will cover the bases. I’m really not concerned.

resources: 
blogs: Oh She Glows, the PPK, Happy HerbivoreDaily Garnish
cookbooks: Urban Vegan, Vegan Gourmet, Feeding the Whole Family, Everyday Happy Herbivore
p
interest has a bajillion vegan recipes… i started a vegan recipe board

posts worth reading:
Happy Herbivore: 10 Reasons I’m a Plant Based (Vegan)
Zen Habits: A Guide to Eating a Plant Based Diet
P
CRM: FAQ about Nutrition

my blog: I realize I posted a chicken recipe two days ago. I’m okay with that. (That night, I just made a little pot of black beans {Trader Joe’s Cuban Black Beans} for me and Scott and it worked fine.) I’ll still share our recipes with my usual Broken Bohemian random frequency. Be on the lookout for my fave smoothie recipe, a BB original Orzo dish and (hopefully) many more! Many of my recipes are already vegan or vegan friendly with simple modifications.

bottom line: We’re not going to get all ‘vegan-gelical’ on you (yet). We’re just doing what we have to do for our health. But I think it’s worth thinking about taking care of the body and earth God gave us… outside the box. It’s the Bohemian thing to do!

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9 responses to “how it all vegan…

  1. i am so impressed with y’all!! You may talk me back into giving up dairy again. Your uncle watched Forks over Knives too and is talking about changing his diet. Just make sure that you keep wheat IN your diet. : )
    xoxo

  2. I’m so excited for and impressed by you, MB! That is so huge! I will definitely love hearing your updates. My friend Claire who I met at church here in Charleston is a nurse practitioner and vegan and she just started a blog this summer called http://www.heavyontheveggie.com, that has inspired me (not so much to go vegan ha) but to eat a more veggie heavy diet. I think you’d really enjoy it! XO, miss you! Rebs

  3. Love the balanced perspective you give of the pros, concerns, etc. So glad y’all are taking care of yourselves and each other!

  4. so, so proud of you, my friend!

  5. lucyrichardson88

    I miss yall! Starting to convince me vegan! Lol love ya!

  6. Your post came at just the right time. I was moving toward vegan, but didn’t have the conviction. Then I read your words, watched the movies (plus “Chow Down”), and I’m in! Thanks so much for sharing your journey.

  7. you’re so awesome to do this, mb. so proud and inspired by you. i love to watch you take an idea to action. and your vegan chili made me not even miss jeannie’s white chicken chili and that’s not easy for this Texas girl (aka i-love-all-kinds-of-meat-girl) to say! now if i could only use my Breville on a consistent basis! oh! and i can attest to your looks – you’re practically glowing. years.off, my friend.

  8. Pingback: Day One. |

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