I’m the kind of guy who had meat with every meal. If I can change, so can you.
I’ve been Vegan for over a month now, and the thought of a McDonald’s double cheeseburger is tempting me to trade my morals for a taste.
But here I am, a few miles past the Golden Arches, animal product free. And honestly, feeling pretty good about it. Minus the occasional craving, of course.
To note, I’m not a Vegan because Gamechangers, that questionable Netflix documentary, told me to be. I’m Vegan because I’ve been a Vegetarian several times, and wanted the full experience. I just never thought it would go this well.
By good, I mean no issue. Not with my stomach, my performance, my skin, my sex drive, my eyesight, my … anything. I may have even lost a percentage or two body fat along the way. And that’s saying something since I’m not anywhere near fat. But truthfully, I think losing fat has less to do with being Vegan, and more to do with filling up faster on low-calorie veggies. You know, thermodynamics and all.
Anyway, I thought I’d let newly formed Vegans, or those wanting to experiment, in on my journey. So this is how I’ve made going Vegan work for the past month.
This is nothing new. More than a decade ago, I quit breakfast. I was intermittent fasting, and time-restricted eating before it was cool. It just makes me feel better.
I’ve even experimented with one meal a day, and as low as four meals a week. None of which makes me feel as good as eating at noon and seven o’clock. Bigger meals appeal to me, and only having to worry about feeding twice a day does too.
Except for black beans once a week, and pea protein, I eat Paleo and have for more than ten years.
That means my menu is limited, and I like it that way. I didn’t go Vegan so I could eat pasta and bread all day and claim it was healthy. And yes, you can totally be a Paleo Vegan. Paleo doesn’t mean you have to eat meat, it means you can if you want to.
Before I came to the Darkside, I ate almost 100% beef for my protein. That made the switch a bit tricky. I missed the ease and taste of burgers on the grill. That’s where Beyond Meat comes in.
Beyond Meat is pretty popular now. You’ll find their plant-based patties in most meat isles, and other items are frozen. I’m not going to lie to you, It’s pea protein, so don’t get your hopes when it comes to taste. It’s no perfect burger, but it does the job.
Carbohydrates make me fat, so I select my vegetables according. No sweet potatoes, acorn squash, rice, quinoa, oats, or anything like that.
I eat zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. And little else. I just eat lots of them.
In Harvard scholar Mary Enig’s book, “Know Your Fats,” she recommends that fifty-percent of our daily fat intake should come from saturated fat sources, thirty-percent from polyunsaturates, and the rest from monounsaturates. So that’s what I do.
I cook with coconut oil, drizzle olive oil, and sprinkle in seeds and nuts. Easy peasy.
This part isn’t my favorite. I’m basically over the lies and gimmicks, sick of companies that pop up overnight with the next best thing. But some of it works, so here’s what I take:
This is the hardest part for people. I should know, I’ve been telling people what to eat for two decades.
Everyone wants to be fit, but no one wants to do what fit people do. Which, usually, is eat the same old thing day in and day out. Some people are exceptions to this rule, no doubt. But exceptions aren’t examples.
Switching between the same two or three meals eliminates the guesswork. I know what works, and I don’t mess with it. Every once in a while, I might get creative and use my kitchen to create. Otherwise, ninety-nine percent of the time, it’s one of my three go-to meals.
Giving up meat was easy for me. But honestly, I think that’s because I’ve spent the last twenty years in the fitness business, coaching and consulting, writing books, and helping my clients reach their goals. If I hadn’t, going Vegan would’ve been hard.
If that’s you, if you’ve been mostly living on the standard American diet, start with fat. Load up on it! Oils, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Then pack the menu with dense, low carb veggies like the ones I listed above. Push the boundaries of your dinner plate until there’s simply no room for meat. Backfill from there, adding whatever protein source you want to experiment with.
Then give yourself a deadline. Mine was a month. I made it. And I’m going to keep going. Well past the Golden Arches.