Eating vegan for a month? – my personal experience and thoughts

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.

Week 1

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.

My usual breakfast

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

Week 3

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.

Sun&Moon will probably always be one of my absolute favorite vegan places in Sofia

Week 4

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!

A beginners guide to a healthy lifestyle

Hey lovely people! Today I was feeling inspired and thought that it is time for me to share how I manage to maintain my mindful and healthy lifestyle. Hearing the word healthy probably the first association that pops into your mind is diet and weight-loss. Well this blog post has nothing to do with that. I just want to give you some simple tips, which can drastically change your mindset and body in a positive way without harming your psyche or making you starve.

1. Sleep more – I am sure you have heard this one at least a thousand times from your parents or overly protective grandma, who is concerned about your well-being, and it may be hard to admit but both your grandma and mother were right this time. Good night sleep plays an essential role in our physical life, because without it our body does not function properly. When you don’t sleep enough your cortisol(stress hormone) rises and in many cases can lead to fat gain. Without the needed sleep our brain activates and starts searching for food. You have probably noticed that after a long night out with your friends, you end up stuffing yourself with all the leftovers in the fridge the day after. Due to the lack of sleep our brain hunts for food, which can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

2. Eat 5 times per day – this one is most certainly my top tip and my most followed rule. Dividing my food into smaller meals through out the day has helped me reduce my weight and helped me feel fuller. Eating 5 times a day stops you from feeling hungry and doesn’t allow you to overeat. For example I normally have 3 main meals(breakfast, dinner and lunch) and two snacks in between(fresh fruit, raw bars, nuts).

3. Drink more water – Although this may sound a bit too cliched, it definitely shouldn’t be missed. If you have payed even a little attention in your biology class in school, you are aware that the human body is made out of approximately 60% water. Our body uses all of that water in all of its cells, organs and to help regulate the temperature and other bodily functions. In other words water plays the leading role for good health and well-being. Not only does it increase our metabolism, but it also cools us down in the summer, helps us digest food and alcohol faster, and on top of that fools our body when hungry. Next time you think your stomach is empty, don’t head immediately for that tempting box of Oreos. Firstly drink a glass of water and see whether you are still feeling hungry. *Bonus tip – if you don’t like the taste of plain water, simply add some lemon or fresh fruits in it.

4. Take your time – The benefits of slow eating are numerous. Not only that it helps for better digestion, better hydration, easier maintenance of your desired weight, but it also makes your brain realize when you are actually full. We all have a very fast and buzzed life, so we rarely have the time to sit down, enjoy our meal or even chew it properly. What I would suggest doing is to try and take all your time during lunch break. Switch off your phone or any other devices that may bother you and just rest and truly enjoy your meal. Trust me, this will not only help you lose weight, but it will save you from consuming a couple of additional calories.

5. Move it, move it – We have all been told that physical activity plays a vital role when wanting to lose weight. Well, that may be true, but lets be honest it is almost impossible to hit the gym everyday. But what we can do everyday is walk. Whether you plan to go to school or work on foot, take your dog on a walk or even stroll through the park with a friend, all of this benefits your body and health. Not only that in some cases walking can save you money from public transport and taxis, but it also refreshes your day and makes it much more enjoyable. I personally have set an everyday goal of 10,000 steps per day. If you are someone like me, who also doesn’t enjoy doing intense cardio work-outs, you can take up yoga classes. A few months ago I started doing yoga more regularly and I can really see the positive change it has done to my mind and body.

6. Self love – My last tip may sound a little bit too psychological, but don’t underestimate it. From my personal experience I have learned that when you learn to love yourself and your outer appearance that is when you can really follow the desired healthy lifestyle. No matter how many hours you spend at the gym or how many unhealthy foods you try to restrict from your diet, at the end of the day, all that matters is how you actually feel on the inside. Every person has a different body type, which is often controlled by our genetics. For this reason you must understand that you are beautiful just the way you are and all your little blemishes make you special and unique.

Lastly, I would like to make a disclaimer that I am no professional expert and all the tips are based on personal experience. I really do hope that some of them really help you live more mindful and healthy.