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A 30 day vegan diet is the best option if you're thinking about going vegan but aren't totally sure it's right for you. After all, you can do anything for 30 days, right?
The idea of cutting a part of your life out forever and never looking back can be really intimidating. And when you're looking at a huge project, the best thing you can do is work on little chunks at a time.
I guarantee that I know your story... you grew up eating meat, you love the taste of it, and you truly always thought that it was good for you.
You know how I know this story? Because it's mine too, and it's the same story that everyone tells. We are all in the same boat.
I remember when I first decided I was going to stop eating all animal products- I was overwhelmed. I truly loved cheese and the idea of quitting it forever seemed nearly impossible. I armed myself with information, and because I'm really stubborn, I was able to force myself into cutting it out forever. Now it's easy.
Plus, I've read the expression on so many faces when I tell people that I don't eat animal products. It's a mix of confusion, awe, amusement, ridicule, concern, and plain sympathy. Most of the time, people feel like I'm a total radical and they think they are never going to go so far as to completely cut meat out of their diets.
They also feel like I am sacrificing so much and only eat grass.
I get that. It does seem a bit radical. But the only reason it does is because it is so ingrained in our heads that meat is good for us. I truly believe that once people know the truth, more people are going to look at me and wonder how they can pull it off themselves.
And believe me, it's not exactly convenient to overhaul your diet and start eating completely differently. But, with everything we know about the health benefits of eating a plant-based diet, it is the right thing to do for your health alone. Sometimes no matter how much you hear it, it won't really make sense to you until you try a one month vegan diet.
But here's the deal...
Once you actually decide to try it for yourself, you might find the first week of your 30 day vegan diet to be a bit challenging.
I've talked a few people through the grocery store during these first few days and I know it can seem intimidating. You are restructuring your idea of grocery shopping. There is so much out there that is plant-based, vegan, and delicious, but if you've never looked before it can be hard to find it, and hard to decide on.
Also, although it's actually cheaper in the long run to eat a plant-based diet, you might find yourself spending more money than usual at first at the grocery store. You might be stocking up on things you are only going to buy once every few months, and other similar situations. This will all balance out.
Also in that first week, it can be annoying to cook for yourself. I find that trying one new recipe has its challenges, but trying to make every meal with new recipes is annoying and difficult.
In the first week of your 30 day vegan diet, you also might find that your body reacts differently from normal. I would definitely expect an increase in bowel movements and in gas. With more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans, you are definitely adding fiber to your diet, and increased fiber means increased toilet time. This is all okay, in fact, it's good!
Going out to eat at the beginning is a pain in the butt as well. You might feel self-conscious in asking for the dishes you want to eat, and in asking how things are prepared. Try to remember that you are not the first person to ask these questions.
Another unfortunate consequence of moving to a plant-based diet is that you might get teased a bit by friends and family. I have certainly taken my fair share of jokes over the years. Basically, I think it boils down to people making fun of what they don't understand, which is an age-old concept. Don't let it bother you.
I have actually found that a few of the people who teased the most have started listening a bit more as time as passed. I get more questions now and less jabs. It just takes time for people to adjust. Don't be afraid to be different.
The last thing I think is different is just adjusting your mind to your new meals. It might feel like you are not really eating a balanced meal because you don't have half the plate covered in chicken. This is just something you have to overcome, and it might take some time. Allow yourself time to adjust.
The payoff for the difficulty of first week of your 30 day vegan diet is that you will start to see that the whole process is easier than it seems. When you cook one meal that you truly like, you will never have to do it for the first time again. You know you like it and you can make that meal any time you like.
During your 30 day vegan diet, you will find that you can eat much more food than you were able to before, and you definitely should. When you are hungry, eat. Make sure you truly are hungry though... don't eat just because you are doing something that makes you want to eat.
I know this is a scary concept-- eating as much as you want. Most of us are taught to abstain from eating a lot of food. But, this food is lower in calories and you need more of it to be full. Many people who eat a plant-based diet actually eat more calories than the average American eats, but maintain a lower weight since those calories don't come from animal sources.
Even if you are only trying a 30 day vegan diet, you will find that you feel great at the end of that time. You will have more energy, will feel more full and will not feel lethargic. You will probably lose weight as well. You could test this if you desire, and even go as far as going to the doctor before and after to have your blood work done.
You will ultimately find that it isn't as bad as you thought it might be. One friend told me that he was worried that everything he ate would have no taste since it didn't have meat or cheese. He was really surprised at the different flavors that are present when you are not eating just meat products and processed foods.
It can be hard to believe any of this if you haven't tried it. I can talk on and on and list study after study about how healthy it is for you, but if it's not something you've done, you won't really listen. The best thing you can do for yourself is to try it. Not half-heartedly, but truly try it. Take a month to evaluate.
And in your mind, don't allow yourself little concessions like "I will eat a 30 day vegan diet except for..." The reason I say this is not to scare you. It's because psychologically, if we allow ourselves just a little of something, it tends to go overboard and turn to more than we intended.
Now, this isn't to say that you have to feel guilty if you ingest any little bit of animal products. Don't worry excessively if something you are eating accidentally has a bit of milk or egg whites, or anything small in it.
This probably won't affect your health adversely, and it will only serve to make your transition harder. Just don't tell yourself you are going to purposely add some animal products in your diet. It will undermine your cause.
Ultimately, after your 30 day vegan diet, you will know whether it is something you can stick to or not. Most people who have tried a 30 day vegan diet are then convinced it's the right move for them. Now, again, I am not speaking of people who have a month long vegan diet with ribs on the side, but people who truly go for a 30 day vegan diet.