It was Sunday afternoon and I was doing some meal prepping for my day and the coming week. Speakers from a certain Clubhouse room (my latest social platform obsession) were discussing the benefits of a plant-based way of living to help alleviate ‘dis-ease’ and maintain a healthy lifestyle. One speaker after another spoke in detail about how they cured the most simplest of ailments to full-on serious medical conditions simply by going plant-based! The panel even included callers/ guests that asked for guidance on their own specific health afflictions and were given real sustainable suggestions and plant-based solutions and direction. It was beautiful. And that’s when it happened; I felt inspired and empowered. I imagined myself in that moment standing in my kitchen, my fists upon each hip as I stood strong and tall with a cape flowing from the ceiling fan breeze behind me. “This week,” I exclaim, “I’ll be VEGAN.”
Like many people who partake in a new challenge, I totally gave myself an out, an escape just in case things didn’t go according to plan (although I truly had no real plan). If I was miserable during my week, then I’d be out. Good riddance!
…when my doctor called me with the results of my most recent blood test, this straight ‘A’ student received three big fat ‘F’s.
Full disclosure: a small thing happened about two weeks prior that may have been the subconscious catalyst for my hasty, yet nonetheless inspired decision. Now, before I continue I must tell you: my doctors are always super impressed by my blood results, my physical strength, and just simply how I maintain myself. Like the consistent straight ‘A’ student, I’ve been spoiled to this and this is what I now always expect. But this time was different. I’ll spare you the details but when my doctor called me with the results of my most recent blood test, this straight ‘A’ student received three big fat ‘F’s.
1. My sugar was high (uh- recovering sugar-holic, no surprise there).
2. My cholesterol was high (seriously?).
3. My liver enzymes were very, very high (wait, what? No! I don’t drink that much!).
F*ck. F*ck. And F*ck.
So, in retrospect, I wonder: Could it have been the initial call I got from my doctor that provoked my decision to be vegan for the week? And I wonder now: can this be sustainable for me? Whatever it was, whatever it will be, I felt GREAT about my decision. Now, anyone who knows me knows I just love a good challenge- especially when I give it to myself. Being vegan for the week was just another challenge. I was now presented with some questions: what to cook? What to try? What fruits? What vegetables? What legumes? Greens? What about protein? What about carbs?
I ended up at an Italian Restaurant (Of all the cuisines in NYC, Italian? Really??) mid-week proudly declaring I was Vegan and was then visited by the chef to discuss my meal options!
I didn’t have a plan but that was the beauty of it- for me it was, anyway. It was an impulsive adventure! I jumped on Instagram (it’s where I spend A LOT of time) and started seeking out vegan pages and following them. I then flew to their corresponding websites for recipes that looked appealing (and easy to make). I shared the news with my coaching group, my sister and my cousin. I ended up at an Italian Restaurant (Of all the cuisines in NYC, Italian? Really??) mid-week proudly declaring I was Vegan and was then visited by the chef to discuss my meal options! I received nothing but support. And I found myself cooking more than ever! Making smoothies in the morning and in the evenings, trying out new dinner (and lunch) recipes and I was enjoying every second of it.
“Like any uncharted territory, I must seem greatly intriguing,” said the Vegan Lifestyle. Not really. Those lyrics are by Alanis Morissette, Uninvited (kinda like my negative blood test results). This idea of maintaining a meatless diet was super foreign to me, uncharted; yet quite surprising to even myself, I found it intriguing; I wholeheartedly rose to the occasion.
Did I feel any different having eliminated meat, including dairy from my diet for seven consecutive days? Physically, no. Absolutely nothing to report. It was business as usual. I practiced my regular workouts including my long weekend runs (disclaimer: my ‘long weekend runs’ had shortened due to a glute and hamstring injury). But all was normal with regards to satiation and energy. My consumption of packaged foods decreased by 90%. And a ripple effect had been created: Mentally, I felt like I was I was truly honoring my body; I was getting more sleep, lowering my fat intake; I stopped needing or even wanting coffee; I was consuming less salt and sugar, and my sweet tooth (which was once the ruler of me) was now powerless against me. Huge!!!
The week ended and the second began. And there I stood, once again in my kitchen, my fists upon each hip as I stood strong and tall with a cape flowing from the ceiling fan breeze behind me. I had conquered my first week as a Vegan and was now prepared to power through the second. (By the time this blog is posted, I’ll be in my fifth faithful week.) I didn’t want to use my planned escape route; as my second week approached, I wanted ‘all-in’! By the power of the plants, I felt strong, healthy and powerful; I was rescuing myself from the evils of the food marketing industry and saving the life of my liver; I was becoming my very own superhero.
My next installment will dive a lot deeper into my liver and how I went about detoxifying and supporting it. I’ll also touch on nutrition and deficiencies that affect those who lead a vegan lifestyle. Please watch out for it!
PLEASE ENJOY THE PICS I SHOT MYSELF (NOTICE MY ‘PROFESSIONAL PHOTO SHOOT ATTEMPTS) OF THE VEGAN DISHES AND SMOOTHIES I’VE MASTERED (YEAH RIGHT) THESE PAST FEW WEEKS!