So on January 1st of this year I set out to try out vegan. As a trainer I get a lot of people who ask me about being vegan, and rather from speaking solely from knowledge I’ve picked up, I wanted to have first hand experience. So I set out on January 1st to go the whole month of January as a vegan. What happened truly surprised me.
The first week, in all honesty, sucked. I felt like at all times of the day I had things coming out of me at both ends and was constantly running to the bathroom. A normal occurrence when starting off on such a huge change.
This tapered off after the first week thank goodness because it was getting old. Surprisingly I wasn’t really missing meat. Now on my normal diet, I pretty much only eat chicken and fish, so I’m not a huge meat eater to begin with. Some of the other animal products like milk, cheese, eggs, and yogurt I did miss. Even despite that though, I was really enjoying some of the new recipes I was discovering, and was finding that using beans or chickpeas as my main source of protein in meals wasn’t a bad change.
By week two I didn’t feel 100% normal, but compared to the first week, it was so much better. My stomach still had a little bit of queasiness, but overall I felt good. My gym visits were pretty normal, I didn’t see any negative results on how much I was lifting or anything.
Week three hit and while I really wanted some ice cream, I felt like I was going strong at this point. Lots of veggies, rice, and pea protein powder. I’m not going to lie pea protein powder is not the most tasty stuff in the world.
Now at the beginning of the month I had weighed myself, and taken measurements, of my chest, biceps, neck, waist, and thighs in order to compare. On January 20th I decided to do a check in, and see where I was at with my size and weight. After all, I’m all about Bones to Bulk so I wanted to make sure it was lining up with that. Now keep in mind I was eating in a caloric excess not by much but still an excess in order to maintain my starting weight and maybe even put on a few pounds.
I was pretty shocked after my weigh-in and measurements that everything had gone down. On my chest I had lost two inches (holy crap!) in size (in just under three weeks). Everywhere else I lost 1/2 - 3/4 of an inch. The only thing that didn’t change were my thighs. In addition I was down about three pounds.
So I made a decision to end it 20 days in, on January 20th. I was not able to maintain my size even despite eating an excess of calories.
Now I will say several things about going vegan:
1. I have a new found respect of vegans, it takes a lot of discipline and lots of work.
2. It is possible to be unhealthy and be vegan. I was shocked at how many vegan processed foods there are, from pizza, to chicken alternative wings, soy hamburgers, vegan ice cream, vegan cookies, not to mention all the bad carbs you can consume on the vegan diet. So while eating healthy and clean on a vegan diet is the way to go, vegan doesn’t necessarily equal healthy.
3. If weight loss is your goal, it probably will work great for you.
4. If you are trying to gain mass and muscle, it is doable, but the amount of food you have to eat is insane, and you will probably be eating non-stop all day long.
I put together a recap video that you can watch below of my experience with the vegan journey. Once again it was a great eye-opening experience and I am glad for all I learned, and I even picked up some great recipes from it.