Veganuary Success!

When January rolled around I decided to participate in the Veganuary Challenge. It seemed like a good idea to me, and all you had to do was pledge to go entirely vegan for the month of January. Here’s where and why I decided it was time to go vegan…

I have been a vegetarian for quite a while now, but back in December I decided to take the month off and just eat whatever everyone else was eating… I ate ham, chicken, turkey, put cheese on everything that I could, drank iced coffee with actual milk, ate way too many sweets, and even indulged in take-out chicken nuggets.

And you know what?!? I felt like complete crap!

I had terrible stomachaches, brutal migraines, moodiness, zero energy, and I was sick with a non-stop cold/allergy symptoms all month long.

I started reading about the Veganuary Challenge on twitter, and I thought this would be the change that I needed.

I have tried to go vegan in the past, but I haven’t been successful. The longest I’ve ever made it was five days. This time I decided to start weaning myself off about three days before the challenge began, I reduced my cravings for all things dairy, slowly.

I enjoyed one last dairy-filled meal, chased with a handful of Lactaid.

Day one, I got to work… I had menu planned for most of the month, but I still hadn’t realized just how much extra I would be cooking.

I pretty much live in the kitchen anyway, but this was getting a little crazy. I was cooking regular meals for the family, and snacks, and breads, and desserts, and then I had to make everything for me too.

It took me about two weeks to get a system down that worked for me. I cooked ahead whatever I could. I also made Sunday my vegan baking day/veggie prep day/make a bunch of grains to have on hand ready to go day.

While I was trying out new foods and recipes, I was also sneaking them into my family’s meals. The kids were a little surprised when a lot of their favorite foods were either already vegetarian, or even vegan. Everybody was pretty good about trying some new fruits and veggies, and my kids love all of the vegan snacks that I was finding. I couldn’t keep them out of the vegan chocolate chips.

During that second week was when I really started to notice that my stomach no longer hurt. I hadn’t had a Lactaid in forever, but I was really starting to feel physically better. My aches and pains in my joints were lessening, and I hadn’t had a migraine.

I had also cut back to just one Dr Pepper a day. I no longer craved soda when I stopped eating all of the processed foods and take-out.

By the end of the month, it was just normal…

Breakfast, lunch , dinner, and snacks, all plant based, no big deal. I was also growing more and more aware of using what I had on hand, and preventing food waste where I could. I really loved the meals too. I didn’t have a bad meal all month!

I was feeling so good that I decided to carry on into February.

So, I don’t have boundless energy, and I’m not running marathons, but I’m feeling so much better. I now only have to take one allergy medication, where I was taking three. I no longer need to take Lactaid, Tums, or Pepcid for my stomach issues. I have had a few headaches (hormonal and flu), but they have been easily treated with ibuprofen.

I had a check-up with my new Doctor, as I am still experiencing a lot of exhaustion. Good news I lost ten pounds, but my bloodwork needs to be repeated after March. My lipids were high, and she wanted to see if there is a change once I’ve been vegan for a while.

She also suggested to me that I stick with it, and remain vegan for the next six months.

So here I am fifty days later, still completely vegan! I’m pretty proud that I accomplished my goal for January, and I’m going to stick with it. I am going to work on further improving my health, and work on that exhaustion. I have really enjoyed switching to a plant based lifestyle, and I’m carrying on as long as I can.