Personally, I’m a little (pleasantly) surprised, I have completed it as I’d always thought it would be too difficult to stick to and my diet wouldn’t be varied enough to keep things interesting. However, with the help of a combination of our delicious Fresh Fitness Food vegan meals, as well as time spent planning, I’ve found it really enjoyable and as I’ve mentioned before, quite an eye-opener!
Firstly, will I be carrying on after the end of the month? In short, not fully vegan, but I do plan to stay predominantly vegetarian, which is a large change from my starting diet. If I’m very honest, I do not think I’m ready to part with eggs and cheese just yet. Plus there are some instances like family meals or friends houses where it is easier to have fish rather than request something specific - my parents couldn’t quite get their heads around vegan meals...my Dad was worried I may be malnourished!
Now that I am more aware of alternative options, I’m more open to trying different things, rather than just my usual go-tos. This is definitely an improvement compared to beforehand.
At the start of the month, I was under the impression, I may have noticed a chicken-shaped hole in my diet, but it was quite the opposite to be honest. As I noted in earlier instalments, no meat / fish cravings at any stage! There are so many plant-based protein alternatives available, that on some days, I was spoilt for choice!
On the whole, it has been pretty smooth sailing, but i’ve rounded up a couple of things to note from my experience -
- Appropriate meal/ingredient selection: many shop-bought products have things such as whey powder and other milk by-products, so it’s important to be vigilant and check product labels carefully. For some, this can be a little overwhelming, especially if there is a long list of ingredients. There are apps out there where you can scan labels and be informed in an instant whether they are vegan-friendly or not.
Obviously, having your meals from Fresh Fitness Food removes the worry of the above (as well as the washing up, shopping and prep time...hint hint).
- Coping with questions/criticism: I’ve had a couple of questions here and there, but most have been largely supportive of my decision. This isn’t always the case and so being armed with key facts, approaching things in a rational way, being patient and keeping things light-hearted are all things to consider in any potentially tricky situations.
- Programmes and literature: there is a large amount of contradictory information out there. Some of it resorts to scaremongering and has very extreme views. I would always recommend reading up on topics you are interested in but be wary of the sources and form your own opinions.
- Be prepared: my appetite has definitely increased this month, largely I believe due to marathon training and increased mileage. Having FFF snacks on hand has been a godsend to help my afternoon munchies. If you don’t have snacks on your plan (firstly, why not?! The Ferrero Rocher protein balls are delish!), having a couple of pre-prepared snacks to hand on days where your training intensity is increased can be advised - both to avoid extreme hunger pangs and potential over-eating later in the day. Things such as fruit, nuts and crudites with hummus are all great choices.
Note, portion sizes will be dependent on the individual and we can always amend your plan if you would like to eat outside of it.
All in all, the month has flown by. It sounds a little too good to be true, but I haven’t noticed any continued adverse effects to my energy levels or anything out of the ordinary with things such as performance, focus at work, mood and skin. This has been an interesting challenge and one I plan to continue learning about over time as there is always new research emerging!
To caveat, this month I have been documenting my personal experience. It is important to note that we can all respond to dietary changes in very different ways. If you are looking to make changes to your diet and would like to discuss any queries, please reach out to either myself or one of the FFF nutritionists here.
Read about Week 1: https://blog.freshfitnessfood.com/blog/veganuary-week-1
Read about Week 2: https://blog.freshfitnessfood.com/blog/veganuary-week-2
Read about Week 3: https://blog.freshfitnessfood.com/blog/veganuary-week-3