Vegan Challenge | Day 23 and The End

I gave up. I gave up!!

And I’m SO glad 🙂

At 16:30 on day 23, while preparing the kids tea, my anti-willpower reached critical mass.

I ate a milk chocolate bar (which I stole from the kids’ easter stash). Then I ate two Mini Moo organic cheese sticks and a piece of leftover sausage, and it felt great.

I instantly transformed from grumpy, miserable, and bloated, to bouncy, happy, smiley (and still bloated unfortunately).

My main reason for stopping was the awful stomach aches I was starting to experience every time I ate something. At the end of each day my stomach would be swollen up and hard like a balloon. I was getting pains under my ribs and feeling like I didn’t want to eat even when I was hungry because of how I would feel afterwards. I haven’t eaten such a gluten-heavy diet for probably 2+ years, so it was interesting to see how badly I reacted to it.

Retrospective

First, the numbers – over the 23 days:

I lost 900g (1.9lbs)
My body fat went from 19.1% to 18.4%

I took three measurements – my waist, hips and bust (the three areas most prone to change in my body).
There was no change in the sum of these measurements (i.e. my belly was slightly bigger and my hips were slightly smaller – that’s bloating for you).

My fasting glucose went from 5.6 to 5.3 (good!).

Finally, my resting blood pressure went from 103/53 to 94/52.

So the numbers seem pretty good. Shame about the pain and stomach aches!

Thoughts on the experience:

1. It was interesting to see how dependent I actually was on diary. I was eating a LOT of it, even though I thought I wasn’t.

2. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. If it hadn’t been for how tender and swollen my abdomen became I probably could have continued. In the end, it was the gluten that killed the challenge and I’m just not ready to try being a gluten-free vegan 😉

3. I didn’t supplement over the three weeks as it takes a while for a deficiency to develop, but I wouldn’t be happy about having to supplement my diet for life if that makes sense. I understand the reasons for having to supplement (poor quality soil, less exposure for B12, etc.) but I don’t like the idea of a balanced diet requiring something out of a pot. Omega 3 and B12 is a real concern for me. Our bodies need them and I would rather get them from quality dietary sources than from a lab.

4. I think, overall, veganism is less about health and more about ethics. For me personally, meat and dairy produced organically, locally and from farms that care about their livestock, is a positive addition to my diet.

Going forward

On day 24 I immediately quit gluten and started including small amounts of dairy, meat and fish in my diet. I knew it was the bread and pasta and endless wheat products that were causing the problem and I needed to stop. My vegan challenge has been a really, really positive experience because it has highlighted very clearly how badly my body reacts to gluten. It also gave me a reality check on just how much dairy I was consuming.

I’m going to post about going gluten-free separately, because I’m joining in with Atlanta Mom of Three’s Health and Fitness Challenge in May.

 

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