“But… Christmas is coming up! What am I even going to eat?” are the slightly desperate words coming out of my mouth as I talk to my husband Brani about embarking on a whole food plant based diet.
He hugs me. “It will be fine. Do it.”
And then I went and did it. It’s been over a month now and about 4 weeks since I first talked about it here on the blog.
Truth be told, I was more desperate than I’m making it sound. I felt terrible.
I had no energy. No drive. No motivation. And worst of all, I was having physical symptoms: Back pain. Really bad acne. Insomnia.
These definitely all got better, but something bigger happened, too.
I’m writing this post not because I want to brag about it.
I’m writing it because I want to share what I did, what happened for me and how I’m handling some things. Hopefully it will be helpful to anyone at the beginning of the same journey.
I want to inspire you to grow – always.
Let’s get this one out of the way early… It was hard.
I used to be a big coffee drinker, but I was starting to have severe reactions to coffee: Headaches, nausea, stomach pains, feelings of exhaust.
I know, you’d think these are the things coffee KEEPS from happening. Well, it didn’t for me. Turns out, coffee could play a role in exhausted adrenal glands.
And while coffee is very much plant based (I mean… It is a plant), I decided to give it up.
It. was. terrible at first. For a few days I was convinced I was pregnant again: Extremely (extremely!) tired, exhausted, foggy-brained, head-achy, very badly nauseous and dizzy.
I went to sleep at 9pm the first few days and I’m usually a night owl who never sleeps before midnight. So, there’s that.
After about three days, my symptoms slowly started to clear up and after 7 or 8 days I actually forgot I was on a coffee detox. I suddenly felt so much better, SO much more energetic and I wasn’t chained to my morning and afternoon caffeine fixes any longer.
It’s pretty freeing, and it is amazing to see that no, you don’t have to have caffeine to wake up in the morning.
Actually, on a nutritious, plant-rich, whole food diet I suddenly have a ton more energy than before.
By this result I’m truly, truly amazed!
So… What am I even eating? I chronicled what an entire day of eating looks like for me right now in this post.
I’m planning to do more detailed posts on a whole food plant based diet, a food list and how to get started.
But for now all I can say is that I’m pretty much eating what I’m sharing here on the blog.
We started subscribing to a Demeter-certified CSA and get all our produce from them. They are a small operation and you can pretty much taste the love they put into their fruit and veggies.
I also love drinking smoothies and juices (talking about my fave green smoothie soon – but for now you can follow me on Insta and see a lot of smoothies and juices I make).
I’m having an issue with all the juice pulp but I’ve been trying to come up with uses. I’ve been baking a quick bread (recipe coming soon, too!) and I want to try a sourdough soon.
If anyone knows about fertilising a garden with vegetable pulp, please let me know!
Of course it’s too soon to draw any big conclusions, but some trends have definitely manifested very quickly:
My digestion has improved by a million times! It’s so nice to have a digestion that’s actually working. Sometimes you don’t realise how unwell you’ve been until you experience wellness again.
My skin is slow in getting better, but I can definitely tell the million tiny bumps on my forehead, nose and cheeks are clearing up for the first time since five years. I think it will take at least 6 months to really see a big difference, but I’m excited to see where it’s going.
My sleep has improved as much as my one year old is allowing. I definitely fall asleep faster and my nights are more restful. Still no improvement in getting out of bed in the morning, though.
My thinking capacity hasn’t really changed, either. I guess I am more clear-minded but I’m definitely suffering from mommy-brain.
And finally… My mental health. This change of diet hasn’t just issued a change in physical well-being, but I’ve also been digging deep into the mental aspects.
I’ve spent a lot of time since the summer to work through unresolved issues and blockages and I’ve taken that up more seriously since I started thinking more about wellness and wellbeing. I feel like I’m slowly coming out on the other end, and it feels sososososo good.
Back to my roots and the essence of who I am – no more chasing an ideal, only pursing myself, fiercely. ♡
The Social Life
The good thing about adjusting my social life to my new way of eating is that I don’t really have a social life, ha!
Kidding. Sort of.
I’m quite introverted and like to stick to a select few connections – and I’m even having a hard time keeping up with those at times. So it’s not been hard to talk to anyone about my wellness goals – as I work from home, I don’t have to explain myself to any co-workers, either.
The other thing is that I don’t want to be militant about my diet. I want to cause change from a loving and supportive point of view.
I want to inspire, not force.
I’m not eating meat or dairy when I’m out and about (because they also have the biggest impact on my skin and overall wellbeing), but I don’t make a big deal about the occasional bit of egg or sugar.
Of course they get to eat what we buy and make at home – so their diet has changed, too. Just because they’re small doesn’t mean they’re not opinionated though! I try to focus on making dishes we all can eat, but I don’t make special kid food for them.
I let my kids make a lot of their own food choices when we’re out and about by the way – I can only hold their hand and show them what it’s like to feel good.
But they need to learn to listen to their bodies on their own.
Also, kids are pretty intuitive about it if you just trust them to make their own decisions – I’m trying not to override my kids’ natural hunger cues.
My three year old frequently requests raw carrots and salad greens, but of course she loves chocolate and biscuits just as much as any kids do. The thing is though, she puts down the chocolate once she’s had enough.
In my opinion, the worst thing you can do in food education for your kids is to tell them to eat up, eat five more spoonfuls, eat more dinner before they can have dessert or severely restrict what they can and cannot have.
I do not agree with the food suggestions in this article, but the thoughts on kids having to clean their plates, bribing them with rewards at the table or restricting all sweets are pretty interesting.
My one exception is cow’s milk – I do restrict them drinking full-on cow’s milk and eating cow’s milk products when we’re not at home. But that’s because my youngest has started having painful eczema that are worse when she’s having dairy. My eldest gets stomach cramps and digestive problems when she drinks cow’s milk.
What I never expected to happen…
So… What was that one big, unexpected change for me?
Something happened. Some big and scary and exciting thinking shifted my entire perspective on things.
You know I’m a researcher. I researched a lot during the last couple of months.
I read and watched and listened and formed opinions.
Diving into plant based eating without my disordered eating habits has changed me. I’m not in it to get out of social eating situations, in order to self-harm or to eat less calories – and that’s making all the difference. I stopped eating some things – but I feel so free!
I started this journey for the health reasons, but now I’m in for so much more: Ethics. Environment. Pursuing a future-friendly lifestyle.
It’s crazy how sometimes we pull a trigger for a change we didn’t even anticipate in the first place.
I’m still very passionate about the health and wellness aspect of it, probably even more so. I’m seeing the positive impacts it already has on my digestion, my skin and my wellness – there’s no going back for me.
But it’s also having a positive impact on my kindness, on my mental health and on my whole thinking about our lifestyle choices.
Now there’s a much wider perspective I’m gaining on how our diet and general living habits have an impact on the environment – and, ultimately, on the future of our kids.
And P.S: About Christmas.
It’s actually not depriving or hard to live this way during the holidays.
I’m even more into it! Gingerbread baking, fig roll making, hot chocolate drinking… It’s all there, only it’s a little more exciting: No adverse food reactions, ethically forward, more sustainable than what we often do around the holidays: Bigger, better, cheaper.
Let’s do slow this Christmas.
Let’s do plastic-free. Let’s do more plants and less meat. Let’s do small. Let’s do calm and joyful and imperfect.
I promise, it’s just as beautiful – maybe even a little more.
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