As a person who loves challenging herself and her body I frequently like to switch up my food regime and experiment with new diets. For a second year in a row I ate like a vegan for 30 days. I know that for many of you that may sound a bit odd but trust me veganism is not something you have to be afraid of or judge. Nourishing your body with only plant-based foods may actually benefit your health and make you feel and look healthier. Before I start explaining how it felt to be vegan for 30 days, I want to put a big disclaimer that this blog post is not supposed to promote this type of lifestyle to anyone because we can all decide for ourselves what’s best. I just want to share with you my personal experience and highlight the pros and cons of a plant-based diet.
Even before going fully vegan I had already stopped eating meat and most dairy products in order to not drastically shock my body. I believe that this small step was key, because unlike most people who decide to try and become vegan I was no longer craving any animal products. I can say that the first week was fairly easy. For breakfast I would normally have yoghurt with granola and fruits which I would switch up with either some homemade oatmeal or overnight oats. Probably the only thing that was a bit harder was that I had to cook two separate meals – one for me and one for my family because they refused eating without meat. In the end of the week I noticed that my face had cleared out a bit which I guess was because I did not eat any dairy.
Week 2 – wasn’t that much different from the previous. I started experimenting a bit more in the kitchen and tried out a few vegan recipes. For the first time in my life I cooked tofu and honestly I was pretty impressed by the taste. I made a vegan pad Thai and instead of chicken I marinated the tofu in Soy Sauce and spices. The only negative thing I noticed was that due to the lack of animal products rich in Vitamin B12 and Calcium I was frequently moody and tired.
My top vegan recipe are the 5 – Minute Chickpea pancakes with avocado basil cream
This had to be the most enjoyable week of all. 14 days had passed quickly by and I found myself beginning to enjoy the vegan lifestyle. I was eating much cleaner and my daily diet included much more fruit and vegetables. The only “struggle” so to speak, was during the weekend. A few very close friends of mine and I were supposed to go skiing and stay together in an apartment. That meant that we had to cook meals which will suit every single diet and preference. Luckily, my friends were very open minded and were totally on board to have vegan meals for dinner at least on the first night. So we made a few tasty salads, hummus and surprisingly they also ended up liking it. I also talked to a few people who were vegan and asked them to recommend me some vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Sofia. Surprisingly, there were a lot of spots that were new for me, so I really enjoyed trying what they had to offer.
Although it was the last week it was probably the hardest one. You know what people say the closer you are to the end the further it feels. My week was fulfilled with social activities because Christmas was just a week away. Most of the time I had to eat outside and due to vegan culture not being that much in “In” Sofia, there are only a few vegan food spots, it proved to be a bit of a struggle for me. Every time I went to a non-vegan restaurant I had to explain to the waiter why I want a meal without dairy or meat. Sometimes I even had to hide that I was vegan because not all the people are as tolerant and start looking you strangely when saying the v-word. Because of this I understood how hard is to be a non-animal eater in Sofia. Sadly most of the people here don’t tolerate this way of eating and start to judge your decision. They believe that being vegan is just a way to draw attention to yourself or some kind of diet when it is really not. In fact it is totally the opposite thing. Even though I am against food restrictions I still believe that veganism is a lifestyle which as everything else in this world has its pros and cons and no one should be criticized or mocked for it. We should all respect other people’s opinions!
Final thoughts: Honestly after the 4 weeks of being vegan I felt pretty good, I had lost a few pounds and even my skin had cleared out a bit. I was able also to try a lot of delicious vegan dishes and experiment in the kitchen. Although veganism had a lot of pros, it still had its down sides. For example as I mentioned above I had frequent mood switches and energy spanks due to the lack of essential vitamins my body didn’t get. Another hard thing was eating out while being vegan. As I said not many people are as accepting and understanding, so I had a few slips with that. For example when I asked a waiter whether they could make a plant-based alternative of a meal on the menu, they looked at me very judgementally, which made me feel uncomfortable and bad for my new eating habit.
Finally I can say that for now I will probably stick to my usual eating routine and not switch to a vegan one but honestly these 30 days were a great cleanse for my body from all the excessive fat I normally consume. I would love to hear your own thoughts on the plant-based diet, so leave me a comment down below with your thoughts and experiences!