After the indulgence of the holidays, it’s common to do “Sober January” to reset healthy habits (and to give your liver a freaking break). This year I took it a step further and also cut out alcohol, meat, dairy, and eggs FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH.
Why embrace the #sobervegan life? Well, I was in need of a major dietary shake-up after December (hellooo cocktails and cheese plates galore). I tried Whole30 in the past and it wasn’t for me – I’m not much of a meat eater, and the lack of grains left me feeling low-energy and kinda miserable.
What sealed the deal is the abundant research that links a plant-based diet to lower risk of disease and obesity and increased life expectancy, not to mention the catastrophic impact of the meat and dairy industry on climate change and animal well-being. After watching Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, Food Inc., Fat Sick & Nearly Dead and reading Fast Food Nation, Skinny Bitch (love), and Food for Life (Omnivore’s Dilemma is next), I figured it was time to give it a go.
Now, I was by no means perfect. I didn’t cut out honey, I ate fish a handful of times, and I treated myself to wine a few nights when I had family in town visiting. But hey, it’s progress. And after 30 days, here’s how it went:
My digestion improved. This was the most drastic change I saw, and within the first week. I digested and eliminated my food quickly and easily and never felt “backed up.” Let’s put it this way - my bathroom behavior was on fleek.
My energy increased. I consistently woke up before my alarm, never feel tired or groggy after lunch or dinner, and could power through tough workouts without a problem.
I felt skinnier. Although I can’t say for sure (the batteries in my scale died a few months ago and I still haven’t replaced them), generally I feel lighter, and think my clothes fit better and my stomach is a bit flatter.
It was easier than I thought. I didn’t miss meat or cheese at all, and was surprised by how many vegan options there are in restaurants, and how many thousands of vegan recipes are available online. Turns out, vegan is trending.
My social life took a nosedive. Grabbing drinks is one of the main ways I connect with friends and coworkers. Hey, drinking is a big part of our culture, especially in SF! I wasn’t as eager to attend gatherings since I knew I couldn’t drink, had to be way more creative when planning activities, and overall just didn’t have as much fun.
I had to think a lot more. Being newly vegan means I had to think ahead when it came to grocery shopping, meal planning, hosting, and especially eating out. I’d scour restaurant menus before suggesting a location to others; I mentally ran through my day’s meals to make sure I was getting enough protein. Let’s just say it wasn’t effortless.
I missed wine. Yeahhhh.
So, What DID I eat?
Homemade granola (removed the egg from this recipe) with berries and almond milk
Pumpkin bolani with almond butter, coconut flakes and banana
Avocado toast on gluten-free bread
Fluffy vegan pancakes with homemade jam
Two vegan ginger pear muffins with homemade sunflower seed butter
Green smoothie with apple, spinach, cucumber, celery, parsley, lemon and ginger
Whole-wheat bagel with vegan cream cheese, onions, cucumber and sprouts
Lentil bolani with hummus, pesto, avocado and chili flakes
Brown rice tortilla wrap with hummus, avocado, shredded carrots, onions, soy cheese and spinach
Farro bowl with black beans, diced tomatoes, onions, peppers, guacamole
Crock pot veggie chili with soy-based sausage
Butternut squash soup with a slice of gluten-free toast topped with Earth Balance spread
Black bean burger on a whole-wheat bun with lettuce, tomato and onion
Polenta with beans, corn, peppers and tomatoes
Banana with almond butter and chia seeds
Baby carrots or Mary’s Gone Crackers with hummus
Pressed Juicery Freeze
Raw date, cashew and coconut balls
I also saved a ton more recipes on Pinterest
Honestly, this past month has been seriously transformational. I feel awesome and am going to stay on the no meat/dairy train as long as I can. I’m sure I’ll have a few slip-ups, and I’m going to keep eating fish for now (sushi obsessed over here, hi), but this is something I really want to stick with.
Alcohol, well … that’s another story (this blog is called BELLINI Bootcamp, after all). It felt great to take a break, and I’m trying to move forward drinking less overall.
But I’m also flying out to Vegas later today. So …. bye!
Have you tried cutting out alcohol, meat or dairy? What was your experience like? Would love any tips and inspiration! #strengthinnumbers