On the last day of the project, I can now look back on all my data collected on my personal health as well as figuring what I saved or spent. This post will be exclusively what the difference is that I have personally made in my 30 day vegan experiment.
Physical Health Results
I lost a total of four pounds this month. For someone with a sedentary lifestyle, that is a healthy amount of weight to lose in a month. My weight varied a bit during the beginning of the project, but there is a definite leveling of my weight after day 20. I can honestly say i don’t remember the last time I was the same weight even three days in a row. Usually, your weight varies because of water retention, meal sizes, and how well your digestion is functioning. That lessening of variation could very well mean that I’m retaining less water and my digestion is becoming more efficient.
Overall Result: POSITIVE
I’ve always had pretty good blood glucose levels, but after I had gained a bunch of weight these last two years, it’s been slowly edging towards the pre-diabetic area. I was cleared by my doctor, and he even urged me to try out a vegan diet, “Just about any change in diet in an attempt to be healthier, even temporarily, will have a positive effect.
At first glance, the numbers don’t look so consistent. I still have the spike from when I had a late dinner or a dessert, and I have the lows from when I hadn’t eaten quit enough the day before. It’s nowhere near what I expected, but we can conclude that the spikes and lows are definitely less frequent and less drastic the further along in the month I was. An average blood glucose of 96-102 isn’t fabulous, but it’s an absolute improvement.
Overall Result: SOMEWHAT POSITIVE
The massive skew in the data is explainable. As you can see, there is a gradual decline in blood pressure levels, all of which are in very healthy levels, and then becomes absolutely erratic. There are two major contributors: stress and caffeine. On Day 19, I started to become very stressed at work.I was behind on a lot of projects, and my anxiety started to slowly increase with each day. It did not help matters that I started to drink caffeinated drinks (tea and Red Bull) almost on a daily basis. Even if you are in top physical condition, this combination causes major negativity that takes a long time to recover from. I have learned my lesson that caffeine is not the answer.
Overall Results: NEUTRAL (negative results, but is preventable)
We can immediately see that a vegan diet does not necessarily mean ingrained eating habits will change. My biggest problem with eating is that I was consuming too much bad fats (saturated and some trans fats) and consuming too much refined carbs (found in sweets, white breads, and sugary drinks). On the days where I had eaten significantly more are the days where it was hardest to curb my cravings for sugars and was mindlessly eating. For example, a few Twizzlers will not hurt you, but eating three Twizzlers every hour or so very quickly adds up.
Something very interesting I found when reviewing the charts is that the days where I ate more moderately are the days I was mindful to include good fats and proteins into my meals. By eating more varieties of foods that are high in good fats (unsaturated fats) and good quality proteins, you are more satiated and can cut down on food cravings.
The only real consistently negative aspect I see in the graphs is I’m below my goal protein amount (90 calories worth). However, I have been able to keep them above 50, and have an average of 60.5 calories of protein. While this seems like not a lot, the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) of proteins for an adult female is 46 calories. While I did not meet my goal of protein intake for people with my body mass, I’m still well above the RDA.
What we can learn from these results is that veganism really helped to incorporate more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, balanced meals, as well as being more conscious of what I’m putting in my body; veganism will not help you overcome eating disorders and bad habits.
Overall Results: POSITIVE
This may be a result of my own preparedness for this last month, but I haven’t really found this difficult at all. After the first week when the “newness” had worn off, there were times when I became frustrated with the amount of information needing to be weeded through for my researched posts, having to look at the ingredients of every meal, and having to look up if this obscure chemical was animal derived. It was a big learning curve, but I kept it up, and I eventually started to become more plant saavy.
I learned what was easier to do during meal times. I learned about vegan options at local restaurants when I went out to eat with friends and family. I even learned how to meal-prep for those days that I didn’t feel like cooking up a new recipe. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience. I would say my least liked part of this project is the daily journals. At this point, it is a chore that takes way too long to do, and I’m heartily looking forward to tomorrow morning when I don’t have to get up and start writing.
On a serious note, I was able to disprove another claim with veganism. One of the main benefits that almost all vegans claim to is that they were happier and had more energy. In my own personal experience, I have found that I actually have slightly less energy. On one hand, my sleeping habits have drastically improved (I sleep at least seven and a half hours every night), however I do not have more energy in it’s most basic understanding of the phrase.
I can say that I have a more consistent level of energy. Instead of my old routine of being wide awake at 5:00 AM, being groggy between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM, then finally going to sleep at 11:30 PM or Midnight; I now wake up at 6:00 AM and keep going until 10:00 PM without any need of a nap. If I do catch myself relaxing for long periods of time, it’s difficult to get myself moving, but once I start moving, I can finish takes much more quickly and more efficiently. My coworkers have even commented that my work has really improved.
Another topic I want to address is that veganism did not help my anxiety. I had a small hope that going on a plant-based diet would help cure my anxiety problems, but no impact was made. I still had anxious thoughts, I still caught myself getting hung up on worries, and as proven from the vital signs from above, stress still managed to weed itself into my daily routine.
However, my happiness is not tied to my anxiety problems. I’ve received a lot of love and support from family, friends, and readers, which has really improved my outlook on life. It was even commented to me that I was the nicest and happiest vegan one person had ever met. While my diet change did not make any change, better or worse, to my anxiety problems, my overall happiness and sense of well-being is improving.
Veganism is NOT a panacea for the human race, but it has it’s own benefits that can truly make a positive impact on society.
Overall Results: SOMEWHAT POSITIVE
Impact On The Environment And The Economy