I started my journey of veganism a few days ago, March 11 to be exact. Before I get into telling you about how my body is now, let me give you some background about what my body typically is like. I am an out-of-shape college student and I eat ramen and junk food basically everyday. My digestion system is terrible; I maybe use the bathroom (number two) three times a week. My skin is oily and acne prone however, I do drink a ton of water. Before I started eating plant-based, I typically ate meat and dairy every day and multiple times throughout the day. Breakfast usually consisted of a sugary cereal with cow milk, lunch would be fast food (Chick Fil A, Chipotle) and dinner was usually skipped due to my busy schedule and studying.
Recently I went to the doctors and I was informed my health has basically dropped off the face of the Earth compared to my last visit. I like to blame it on the stress of college, however I know it is my own fault. I wanted to change my lifestyle and diet, I needed to start exercising and eating healthy. I am actually an exercise science major, so I know the in's and out's, I've just never practiced what I preach. I've always had a passion for health and I never understood why I don't put my health first.
I did so much research before going into this; I bought a blank notebook and would just write down everything I heard about being vegan. I watched videos about other people's experiences transitioning, what they wish they knew. I found out all of the best foods, the vitamins that need to be taken, and fun Pinterest recipes to do in a dorm room!
On March 11, I went to a local farmer's market and bought up fruits and veggies. I went to ALDI and stocked up on hummus, legumes, nuts, and a few other vegetables such as avocados that weren't at the market. I found some veggie burgers, black beans, and other spices to make meat replacements in case I ever get a craving.
So far on day two, I've been experiencing SO much already. And honestly, most of it isn't good. I have high hopes though! I plan to keep sticking with it despite the draw backs up to this point. I talked to some friends who have either been vegan or are vegetarian. They said this bad cycle is basically my body adjusting to the foods being put in my body! The high intake of fiber is something my body isn't familiar with, and now it's flushing me out. So let me list all of what has been happening to my body the past few days!
1. My digestive system doesn't give me a break!
I kid you not, I have gone to the bathroom more times in one day than I have in a whole week. I sadly live in a dorm room, which means I have a community bathroom I share with 50+ other girls, so running back and fourth is obvious. Also, no one tells you that the smell is terrible. I am almost 100 percent positive it is so awful because it is flushing out all of the bad food I have eaten days before since I am a constipated person. I've heard things will look up and I won't be running to the bathroom, but at least I feel better throughout the day!
2. Gas, Gas, Gas, Gas
Alongside the running to the bathroom, you blow up with gas. Again I've heard this is due to large amounts of fiber that my body is not used to and that the gas will pass (pun intended). Once my body adjusts to my new diet, it will subside. However, this is such an embarrassing side effect, especially when you're sitting in a two hour lecture & you feel like you're going to explode from holding everything in! Running to the bathroom just to relieve the gas stinks (another pun intended), so hopefully this isn't a long process.
3. Acne Change but.... Mixed Feelings...
So I have acne prone skin, and it's not great. I suffer with cystic acne as well as the tiny clogged pores and black heads. I have a complete regime recommended to me by my dermatologist and it slightly works, however once the hormones hit around my period, it just gets worse again. Recently, I have been seeing a bit of a clear up in my skin. I am about in my ovulation stage right now, so I am not horribly broken out at the moment. I know it's crazy to see a difference after a few days, but the inflammation from acne has actually subsided quite a bit and I haven't had a new breakouts just yet. Again, I'm not sure if this is from the diet, it could be my skincare finally starting to work, but it just seems interesting how it begins to work after beginning my new diet.
4. I am for sure addicted to sugar.
The hardest thing for me right now is cravings. I have been craving chocolate, cake, cookies, literally everything horrible for you and full of sugar. I feel like my body is crying for it, once I start wanting candy or something sugary, it's almost impossible for me to get the feeling to go away. I haven't given in, I usually snack on strawberries with peanut butter once that feeling starts coming on, however, it hardly works. My body lived off of sugary snacks, things that were quick and easy to make, and snack foods in general. I went cold turkey on this, so of course it is expected. However, this has been the hardest part. I know it is going to be best in the long run, these cravings are just so strong and overpowering sometimes!
5. I actually really like raw veggies!
I used to think raw veggies weren't even edible, they had to be cooked (almost how meat needs to be cooked to be eaten). However, some of my favorite snacks are celery and peanut butter or carrots with hummus! I feel like my body responds really well to raw veggies; it's what gets me to use the restroom often, however, I experience the least about of gas with celery and carrots. Leafy greens give me gas, however, they make my body feel great and they taste better than I thought!
6. My skin is so soft and my hair is the best it's been (using vegan soaps & products).
Once thing I've learned is using vegan products makes me body and hair so happy. My hair feels silkier and my skin is smoother. I recommend to anyone, vegan or not, check out products that are all natural. They work wonders!
This isn't much, however, it's only been two days. I have so much more to experience and I am so excited to figure out how this diet works for me. I plan to keep updating my progress & I hope that I may encourage you to change your diet, despite the side effects! Thanks for reading!
*Image belongs to Nashville's Sunflower Vegetarian Cafe