***So before I begin going into detail I just want to state that nowhere will you see me call myself a vegan. Honestly I feel like there is too much pressure behind the word and a lot of stigma attached if you are not doing it for the right reason.***

So, transitioning to a plant based/vegan diet.

Why?

I decided to transition to a plant focused diet because of health reasons. After having my son in March, I noticed that after I ate I would get these severe stomach pains. I do not know how to describe the pain, because it was like nothing I ever experienced before. It was kind of like the pain you get when you’re lactose intolerant, except intensified. I also seemed to always have heartburn/indigestion.

My biggest concern with this pain is that it didn't seem to matter what I ate, how much I ate, how little, it would always show up.

When I had my four week post partum follow up I brought this up to my doctor, who advised that I speak with my primary care physician.

I let a few more months go by, and in June I decided that I would go see her. I waited so long to go, because I always seem to have the worst possible luck with doctors. And quite frankly I hate waiting around and seeing someone who seems to not care about my personal body afflictions. I’ve changed pcp three time in the last few years and it doesn't seem to matter. They always seem tired, overworked, and spend maybe twenty minutes of the hour you sit in the hospital with you.

I digress.

So I went to see her in June, and the conclusion she gave me after listening to my problems was “sometimes your body is wacky after having a baby”.

I left her office thirty dollars poorer and with a prescription for an antacid.

At the beginning of July, my family and I partook on a vacation that was full of junk garbage foods, besides the meals my father would prepare. After the fourth I was left feeling bloated, constipated and just icky.

I decided the best thing to do would be to completely clean out my body.

What were my goals/hopes?

I wanted to stop the stomach pain. I’d done a lot of research and honestly believed that this was the right thing for me.

I also wanted to lose some weight. I gained seventy pounds during pregnancy. Forty pounds I lost in about a month, maybe a month and a half. The other thirty pounds wrapped itself around my waist like a tire and refused to budge. I had this belief that breastfeeding would help, but if anything breastfeeding caused me to struggle with this feeling of either never being hungry, or being ravines.

I also hoped that with transitioning I could make this a life long lifestyle.

What did I do/How I did it?

Previous to cutting out animal by-products from my diet, in June I had already cut out meats except tuna. I personally have never been a fan of egg, for one they’re yellow.

I have a problem with yellow foods.

They also smell funny and are runny and every time I eat one I think of dead fluffy yellow chickens. If I did have an egg, it was usually only out in public and I would have to order them scrambled hard because if they ran they might as well have run to the trash, because that's where they were going.

In July when I started the transition I cut out everything else cold turkey. No honey, eggs, egg byproduct, milk (which I’m lactose intolerant to a degree so this wasn’t hard). I also cut out sugar, minus the sugar that comes from fruit. I can’t remember if I cut anything else out, I’m sure I’m forgetting something.

What did I consume?

For breakfast every morning I made a green smoothie. I wish I had bothered to take a picture of some of them, but one of my transitioning goals(which I’ll delve into soon) will be to document more of my meals.

So the green smoothies- The main vegetable was always green, usually a mixture of kale and spinach. Sometime some bok choy. At first I simply did the vegetable and fruit. The fruits would also vary, some days I used a frozen mixed fruit bag. Other days I would use a specific bag, such as peaches pineapples, mango. My favorite combination was spinach, pineapple and mango. All of the smoothies would have about a whole water bottle added.

**All of the frozen fruit bags I bought were the kinds without added sugar**

After about two weeks doing just fruit and vegetables, I noticed in the morning I would be a little fuzzy and draggy feeling. I incorporated a vegan protein powder into the mix and noticed a tremendous difference.

After breakfast, usually about two hours later I would feel hungry. Before anything I would drink a bottle of water, and then I usually had some fruit. This past month we went through at least seven watermelon and maybe about six pounds of cherries

Lunch depended on what hours I was working and how motivated I felt. Most of the month of July I had another smoothie for lunch. I’m one of those people that usually has to force myself to eat, so making another smoothie gave me that full feeling I needed, plus kept my stomach from eating itself.

Same deal, two hours later I would be hungry. As another snack I would either make a salad, or I’d roast some potatoes. One day I remember trying and failing miserably at a pinterest zucchini chip I’d saw. Zucchini is always good, I just didn't chop it thin enough

For dinner I usually had whatever my mom made, just a lesser, sadder version. Haha, not really. Well a lesser version, just not sad. I consumed a lot of black beans, which honestly you can't go wrong there. I also had some really great salads with an olive oil dressing that she makes. I thought after a few times I would get tired of salad, but every time I would just mix different herbs with about a teaspoon or so of olive oil and it would transform whatever I had combined to make the salad.

And then after dinner I usually had more fruit. Because fruit is great, and it helped my cravings because my little sister and brother love eating ice cream and it drove me crazy watching them eat it.

 

Did I notice a difference/Benefits?

 

So I went for a month straight with no animal/animal by products. I noticed a ginormous difference. For one, after I got over the initial grogginess that second week, I noticed I was no longer sluggish, feeling so tired midday, and that I had a hard time napping.

Anyone who knows me, knows I enjoy naps. Having a five month old who takes naps during the day gives me the perfect excuse to take naps. I found that if I lie down with him at nap time I would sit awake even if I tried sleeping. The best part of this was it gave me extra time to catch up on my writing and reading.

I cut out coffee/caffeine a little before pregnancy because I noticed it made me jittery. Caffeine also makes my already horrible anxiety 10000x worse.So that extra energy without adding caffeine back into my day was defintely a plus.  

The stomach pain and heartburn stopped. Like just disappeared, which is great in itself. I’m not sure if antacids can prove to be detrimental after accumulated time of taking them, but I knew that taking them for an extended period of time was not something I wanted to do.

I breastfeed and noticed that my supply went up. I don’t pump very often because I work from home so  usually use my breaks to feed baby E. However, occasionally I’ll have to give him a bottle. I usually pump 3 ½ to 4 ounces of milk every 2 ½ hours-3 hour. After switching my diet I noticed I could pump 5-6 ½ ounces in a shorter amount of time than it normally took to pump lesser. This may have been the vegan protein powder that helped, or it could have just been the adjustment in diet. I have always been a big water drinker, I don't buy juices or soda. So I know that didn't change it. In May I did try Shakeology which is another type of protein powder, but I did not notice an increase in my milk, and the shakes also gave me intense stomach pains. So my bet is just the cleaner diet.

I’m about to mention menstruation, if that makes you uncomfortable please skip ahead past the star section.

***

About a week and a half after I began my transition, Aunt flow showed up. I’m one of those women that took birth control not for the preventing pregnancy part, but because it helps with my cycle. I always have intense, need to take seven iprobrofins,light headed, hope I’m not about to die cycles. I decided with breastfeeding my son I didn't want to subject my body to any  additional medications if I did not need them, so I haven't been on birth control since before he was born. This resulted in my horrible periods returning.

I noticed that I had a pain free, albeit longer period. Typically my cycle is about two days of heavy bleeding and a third day of spotting. I think it was maybe five days of light bleeding. But I didn't once need a midol, or a heating pad.

 

***

Another benefit I noticed was after the first two weeks, I lost the craving feeling. I stopped constantly wanting to eat my brothers ice cream.

I also did loose a bit of weight. I have not weighed myself because I’m not home and there is not scale at my mother's house. But I shall be returning to my own abode after two months. I will probably post an update in another month.

The Drawbacks

The drawbacks I noticed was the first week as my body adjusted, I noticed my son was getting a rash. I’m sure this is because the toxins I was releasing may have found their way into my milk. The rash did go away and he was not scratching at it. His doctor prescribed a topical treatment that helped clear it up.

When I first gave birth I’d cut spinach out of my diet because it gave him horrible gas pains and he would scream for hours. With adding it back into my diet, his gas did come back

I had to invest in some gas drops, and another thing I did that helped with his gas is I would feed him, and then have my smoothie. By the time he needed to eat again, it seemed to have worked itself out of my system.

Another draw back was being in a house where everyone else wasn’t plant-based/vegan. I have self control, but it still sucked. I’m sure this draw back will dissipate once I go back to my own home (currently staying with family), but then I will return to my world of friends and it’ll still be there. The best way so far I’ve combated this was to make sure I have something to snack on when I’m hungry. I find it’s much easier to resist temptation when you’re full/not thinking on an empty stomach.

Coming into August

At the beginning of August, I returned to my previous diet. I regret this, because not only did the heartburn return, but so did my horrible period. Plant Based life is going to be forever life.

Future goals

I want to make it a goal to try new foods, and to document my food more.


Follow my blog and instagram to keep up with my transition.