Per yesterday’s post I promised to answer any and all questions about my recent 28-day Engine 2 Diet Challenge with Whole Foods.
Why did you do it?
Initially, because Whole Foods contacted me to do it and I thought it would be interesting for my blog. I had never considered vegetarianism (much less veganism) so I was curious how my body would react. I am always open to trying new things to improve my health so I really went into it thinking “why not?’. What started as a curious experiment turned into so much more.
Did you lose weight?
To be honest, I don’t know. It feels like I did but I don’t own a scale so I don’t know for sure. I have never been a numbers person (weight, math or otherwise) and generally just go by the way I feel and how my clothes fit to determine if I am at a healthy weight. I would attribute any weight loss to eating less processed foods and dairy than from omitting meat. This was never about losing weight for me, it was about finding what works for my body and discovering new ways to improve my overall health.
If you weren’t eating meat then were you getting enough protein?
Not only did I get plenty of protein, for the first time I was eating all good quality, plant-based protein from foods like quinoa, beans, spinach and oatmeal. Americans on average actually eat more protein than our bodies need, most likely due to the excess in meat-based meals. If you think about it, elephants don’t eat meat and I’m pretty sure they are not deficient in protein. Your body cannot store protein like it can store carbohydrates and fats so when you have an excess of protein, your liver and kidneys become overburdened. You will start leaching calcium from your bones to neutralize the excess animal protein that becomes acidic in the human body. Which makes me think of the kidney stones I got just a few months ago….(Kidney stones are a result of a buildup of excess calcium that your body can’t naturally break up) According to the World Health Organization, the healthy amount of protein is in the low 20’s (grams) for a 2,000 calorie a day diet.
Wasn’t it super expensive with all that produce?
Surprisingly no! Not only was it not expensive, we actually saved over $100 this month on our grocery bills. If you are a smart shopper, you can really take advantage of specials and coupons and actually save money on this diet.
What was the most challenging part?
What I feared would be the hardest part ended up being no big deal at all. I thought going out to dinner would be miserable but I found that there is always something on the menu and most servers/chef’s are really great about helping you fit your dietary needs. I ended up ordering things I otherwise wouldn’t have and really enjoying it! So I guess the most challenging was having to avoid pizza when it was ordered for a large group. In all honesty, after about three days in, sticking to the diet was a breeze.
What surprised you the most?
My energy level increasing! I expected my body to react (i.e digestive, weight, etc.) but I had no idea how much it would affect me mentally. It really has improved my mood, energy and productivity at work. It is a kind of natural energy you can’t get with coffee and 5-hour-energy shots. I was also surprised to see my cravings vanish. Just prior to starting this diet I was having insane sugar and salt cravings at night. Not only do not crave those as much anymore, one small bite of something sweet is enough to satisfy me inevitably saving me countless unnecessary calories.
And the biggie – are you going to stick with it?
I’m not sure. Certainly not as strict (I will start to slowly incorporate dairy and oil) but it is hard for me to rationalize why I would go back when I have enjoyed how my body feels so much. I may incorporate some meat every once in a while but now that I know how to cook without relying on it, it’s not so challenging. I will tell you that since this ended I have not eaten (or had the urge to eat) anything that I haven’t been able to eat the last 28 days.
Hopefully that answers all of your questions, if I missed something please don’t hesitate to ask or email me. Thank you to all of you for your continued support and encouragement throughout this journey. It has been so fun sharing my experience with you and hearing your stories as well. I have the best readers 🙂