What Happens When You Go Vegan
Like lots of other Americans I have always thought of vegans as “sort of out there”. My first personal exposure to veganism was a good friend of mine who slowing went from a “regular” diet to vegetarian to vegan over a period of years. Her life seems so restrictive that I wasn’t sure I could ever do the same.
However, I have to say that over the years my thoughts about diet and nutrition have shifted somewhat. I liked the idea of being a vegetarian (and always figured that if I thought about it too much I couldn’t eat animals anyway), but I was raised on juicy hamburgers, mouth watering steaks, and spicy barbecue. Hard to live without these things when they are ingrained into your whole life experience, right?
But I started to wonder: What happens when you go vegan? Will I lose weight? Feel better? Or just feel deprived?
As I have gotten older it has suddenly gotten harder to lose weight. And having children put fat deposits in areas that had never been a problem before. It was a little scary to have so little control over my body. So I have been thinking for a while about making some drastic changes – I just wasn’t sure if I could stick with these changes long term.
That’s when I found the documentary called Sick, Fat, and Nearly Dead. (If you are on Netflix you can currently watch it for free.) This got me to thinking and I went that weekend and bought a Ninja so I could begin to drink pulverized fruits and vegetables. My husband was also surprisingly interested in this after watching the documentary with me, so everyone in the family started trying the new concoctions.
Next, a friend told us about another documentary called Forks Over Knives. (This is also currently on Netflix.) When I started watching the documentary I soon discovered that two of the doctors featured were actually the authors of two books I had just started reading at the recommendation of my midwife. (Thank you, Donna!) These were Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, MD and The China Study by T. Colin Campbell Ph.D.
I stopped eating meat to try and ease into the transition. I couldn’t give up everything as the same time. I knew that would never stick. But I was totally enjoying those juices and smoothies.
Meanwhile, I had lost just over five pounds without even trying. This happened within the first two weeks of not eating meat. I was ecstatic!
But then a strange thing happened……I slowly started gaining it back!
I had always thought that when a person became vegan there was a permanent weight loss of anywhere from 5 to 15 pounds. I had read this and also heard from other people who had become vegetarians.
This was quite disappointing to me.
About this time I was thinking more and more about going vegan for a while just to try it out. My husband had been onboard so far, but I didn’t want to lose him by eliminating too many things from my diet. Also, it can be challenging to eat out when you are vegan, especially where we live. More about this in a minute.
Today is March 17 ( St. Patrick’s Day) and I have not eaten meat since about March 1 ( I wish I had kept up with the exact day). I have to say that I don’t even crave the meat, which completely surprised me. I don’t feel deprived at all. The only time it was an issue was two days ago when I went to a training that included a catered lunch. The choices were ham sandwich, turkey sandwich, or chicken salad sandwich. I opted for the turkey sandwich and removed the turkey. I was left with cheese, lettuce and tomato.
Time To Go Vegan?
I am still reading the books and emerging my self in lots of websites about veganism to see if it might be beneficial to me. But here is something I discovered the other day.
Now, I eat strange things for breakfast sometimes because I am not always real big on breakfast foods. So a couple days ago I had cornbread and milk for breakfast (I’m from the South, ya’ll!) and I noticed something almost immediately.
My stomach felt awful!
I have been cutting out MOST dairy lately, so my theory was that maybe my tummy didn’t like the milk. I usually have been using almond milk, but just didn’t think that would be good with cornbread. I make my cornbread with milk and butter, but this time I had left the egg out. (My husband humbly asked me not to mess with his cornbread, so I didn’t.) So that might also have been a culprit.
Then, I decided to have pizza for breakfast. This was vegetarian pizza, but it had lots of cheese on it. After eating it I realized that my tummy was unhappy again, just as it was last night.
So I started maybe I would be better off without dairy altogether….just like the books and movies report.
Vegan I Am
Just like the decision to go vegetarian, the decision to to vegan is a trial. I want to see how it makes me feel. I suffer from lots of headaches, especially migraines. I also need to lose weight as mentioned before. I frequently feel tired and sluggish, and I have nausea at times (with or without migraine). I also get sick if I don’t eat frequent meals. I have discovered this is because my stomach makes too much acid and needs something to do.
Currently, I am feeling a decrease in all of the above mentioned problems, but I’m not sure if it’s because I eliminated meat or because I am just having a good spell. However, I am ready to try cutting out dairy to see how it goes. I am especially hopeful for the weight loss, but I would also like to know that I am laying a foundation for good health in my golden years.
I will be posting here to show my results. I invite anyone who wants to try this lifestyle to do it with me.
Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Sounds sort of cheesy but it’s true.
As I am writing this I am chowing down on a can of pineapple tidbits in natural juice. I am getting totally full, so maybe there is a chance of this thing working out.
I am starting out with my own review, and I hope others will post their experiences here too.
The other day I was perusing a magazine when I saw a full page advertisement for Almased. I had never heard of this product before and it piqued my interest, so I did what I always do – I looked it up on Amazon. I realize that some people pay for good reviews of their products on Amazon, but NO ONE is going to pay for 473 reviews!
I knew I had to try it, but I didn’t want to wait for it to be shipped so I went down to the local GNC store and foolishly paid $10.00 more than it costs on Amazon. (I know that was completely stupid, and I will never do it again!) By the way, Amazon also has free shipping on it.
Almased is a powder that you mix into liquid. Each shake you mix will have 6 to 10 tablespoons of Almased depending on how tall you are. Eighty tablespoons of the product are in each container. It can be mixed into a variety of drinks such as dairy milk, almond milk, etc. However, the insert suggests you mix it into water for quicker results. Most of the reviews I read stated that it had little to no taste and needed something mixed in to make it palatable. I personally LOVE the fact that it is NOT an overly sweet drink. I cannot tolerate extra sweet drinks, especially when I don’t get anything to eat with it. (I have been mixing pumpkin pie seasoning into mine and I think it tastes quite good.)
It has a list of ingredients on the back that goes on for a short mile, but the main ingredients are fermented soy (protein), yogurt (probiotics), and honey (enzymes). It also lists several amino acids that help the weight loss process.
This product claims to promote healthy levels of certain hormones such as leptin, cortisol, and insulin, which all supposedly contribute to weight loss. Because of this, it is supposed to ramp up your metabolism. The unique blend of this product is also supposed to help you with the yo-yo effect that often comes with dieting.
Almased also claims to make you feel better, have more energy, and strengthen your immune system.
Note: I like the fact that you can slowly step down from each stage and that this is something that I could maintain for the rest of my life if I wanted to. I could literally have 1 to 2 shakes each day for years to come without damaging my health. There is no diet pill like that on the market to my knowledge.
Almased has four phases:
The Start Phase
This should last no longer than two weeks and consists of three shakes a day, plus other liquids for snacks such as vegetable broth. The insert that comes with the Almased stresses that you should only ingest liquids at this time. This supposedly gets your body ready for the Reduction Phase. You should also drink water.
The Reduction Phase
Two meals are replaced with Almased. You are advised to stay away from all fruits as they contain high levels of fructose, which may sabotage your weight loss. This phase should last for 6 weeks or until you reach your goal weight (or close to it).
The Stability Phase
One meal each day is replaced with Almased during this phase. This is supposed to help you avoid the yo-yo effect as well as help you lose a few more pounds at a much slower rate (therefore helping you keep it off).
The Life Phase
You are recommended to have 8 tablespoons each night before bed to ensure your health and weight maintenance.
Almased Reviews – My Experience
Over the years I have done the yo-yo thing like most other people. I lost a fairly significant amount of weight a couple years ago, but it has slowly creeped back onto my backside (as well as some other places). When I was younger, especially before I had children, I never had any kind of weight problem. After the kids I had fat deposited in areas that had never been there before. That’s my background.
Day 1 – Weight 153.8
I got this product in the afternoon and drank a shake with eight tablespoons of Almased before I read the insert that indicated I should only have 6 tablespoons for my height. That was my afternoon snack. I then proceeded to eat dinner, which I know I wasn’t supposed to do. I had half of a taco salad. At bedtime I drank half shake of Almased (3 tablespoons) because I was trying to make up for the fact that I ate dinner.
Day 2 – Weight 154.0
Today I had to fast for a physical, so I had nothing to eat until after noon. I took a string cheese with me and ate it as soon as I left the doctor’s office. I live about 45 minutes from my doctor and couldn’t mix a drink to take with me (the insert states you should have it fresh). Next, I came home and had my regular shake at snack time. I then had a cup of veggie both. Later, I ate the rest of my taco salad. (Yes, I know, I was a bad girl.)
Day 3 – Weight 151.2
Today I got out of bed and started the diet plan correctly. Although I have to admit that I did put some parmesan chesse and about five turkey pepperonis in my mouth. I get really sick from not eating and that’s a huge challenge for me. It is afternoon right now…..and it’s Friday…..and my husband has already called me about where we are going to eat tonight. It’s going to be a long weekend……
Day 4 – Weight 151.2
Last night I ended up with a very sick child and we all went to the Pastaria for dinner after the somewhat late trip to the clinic. I ate reasonably well considering I am on a diet, but I DID eat regular food. Back on the shakes this morning.
I will post again tomorrow on my progress.
Day 5 – Weight 151.4
Today is Sunday. I fell off the wagon. It’s that simple. I am finding it very difficult to stay on this diet plan as it is so restrictive and my hunger pains over take me, even with the shakes and the broth. I tried mixing in some coffee with a small amount of 1% milk and some honey. Still my stomach was killing me with hunger pains and nausea.
Day 6 – Weight 152.6
I didn’t even try today. I had a lot going on and couldn’t take the time to worry with it. Not one shake was consumed since I got out of bed, but I may try drinking the shake before bed to get a start for tomorrow. (Although I will be away from home tomorrow and the next day – just like today, so I will have to decide if I want to try to take the mix with me and prepare it on the go.)
Update: April 10, 2014
I have pretty much given up on Almased. It might work great if a person could get through the initial two weeks of nothing but these shakes and broth, but I can’t. My life is too hectic and I get too sick without any real food. The guy at GNC told me he had a couple customers who swore by it. Maybe it’s just me, but this plan is obviously not for me.
I tried eating one meal a day and just doing shakes the rest of the time, but that still left me sick. Then I tried two meals a day and replacing one meal with a shake, but I couldn’t tell that was making any difference. For this reason, I am giving this product two stars.