From Carnivore to Herbivore (a Q & A)

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 πŸ™‚


19 responses to “From Carnivore to Herbivore (a Q & A)

  1. I really like this post! I’ve been thinking about trying out a semi-vegan lifestyle, but I’m worried it will be really hard. Thanks for the tips!

    • Honestly, I suggest you try it, even if it’s just for a week or two. Give yourself more than a few days though because it is a pretty big adjustment for you body and, like I said, there were a few days there where I didn’t feel good because I was experiencing withdrawals. Really give it your best effort for two weeks and let me know what you think and how you feel. I think you will be pleasantly surprised how easy it really is and how fabulous you feel.

  2. YAY! im so glad it went well for you!

  3. Glad you got to experience this and liked being vegan! You don’t have to be so strict and still keep with it. Did you read The China Study or see Forks Over Knives? Dairy is actually the most harmful food for health in my opinion, so I hope you don’t start adding that back in when it’s so easy to go without. If you get cheese cravings Daiya cheese is so much like real cheese on pizza and such! You already said it, why go back when you’ve felt so good and know it’s possible to stick with it, save money, and feel awesome? Best of luck!!

    • No I am dying to see FOK though!! I guess I should have been more clear, I am going to eat very small portions, if I have a craving, and see how my body reacts. At this point I am pretty convinced so it won’t take much for me if I start to feel sick to drop it for good. It’s not hard and I really don’t crave it like one would think. I use nutritional yeast instead which in my opinion is better! I just bought some Daiya cheese so I’m looking forward to trying it out. Thanks for your comments!!

  4. The energy increase is the main thing I’ve noticed too. Isn’t it wonderful? Christy said what I was thinking…why go back to dairy when you felt so good without it? A couple years ago, after eating vegan for a while and then slipping up and eating dairy, I realized it was the #1 contributor of my health problems. My IBS-like symptoms and stomach aches came back in full force and I felt lousy. Daiya cheese is awesome and completely gets rid of my cheese cravings.
    I’m glad you said what you did about protein. You said all the same things I tell my friends and family. I’m determined to break the protein myth, one person at a time. πŸ™‚

  5. Kelsey @ Unmitigated Grub

    Woo! Happy it went so well lady :). When I became vegan, I thought it would be WAY harder than it turned out to be. Especially in terms of eating out and craving cheese/eggs. But eating out, as you discovered, is totally doable, and luckily I’ve never had an overpowering craving for dairy/eggs. They look GOOD sometimes, but I can easily do without. And they’re becoming less and less appealing as time goes on. Glad this made a positive impact πŸ™‚

    Also, you make really great points about protein!

  6. shiningfromwithin

    Love the Q&A πŸ™‚ Opens people up to the idea of vegetiran/veganism!

  7. thanks for the awesome post. Lately, I’ve been tweaking my diet and incorporating lots of veggies and fruits. It caused me fatigue at first but slowly, I can feel my body getting used to my new diet. I also experienced a bit of tummy problems but I guess my body was just purging lots of toxins. Last year, I started using organic/natural products for my skin and hair but the shift in beauty routine inspired me to go further, starting with my diet. I don’t think I can be a pure vegetarian or vegan but I’m definitely all up for a healthier lifestyle. ^_^

  8. Congratulations on getting through the challenge I love trying things like that because it makes you step outside of your comfort zone and realize what really works for you!

  9. I’m glad you like being a vegetarian! I don’t call myself a vegetarian but I eat meat only occasionally because it’s expensive and vegetables, beans, and tofu are easier to cook. That’s cool how you don’t have a scale, a lot of people make themselves crazy obsessing of their weight.

    Check out my blog, Beautiful Busy Bee. Thanks!

  10. Wow! Way to stick to this challenge! I love all the positives and especially that you can prove stereotypes wrong. I am most definitely a meat-eater, but I have a lot of respect for those who choose not to and I love hearing how you can be just as healthy with less meat-based products in your diet. πŸ™‚

  11. Good for you for sticking it out! You’re a great example of someone that never thought they could stick to a plant based diet and ended up doing awesome πŸ™‚

  12. HI Jessica! I have been enjoying your posts and reading of your journey very much!
    I am wondering if the ethics of eating animals has been an issue/concern for you? I am wondering if you have been exposed to the ethics behind the industry or it is a non issue for you?

    Thanks for all you do and for educating people about your journey.

  13. I really like your great and fresh attitude about weight loss and overall health. I think it’s great that you’re not doing this to lose weight or look at numbers. πŸ˜€ Great job taking on such a daunting challenge! I love vegetables and vegan type foods! I think meat is cool and fish is one of my faves. However, I’m not a crazy meat lover like I once was! I think this helps my digestion though for sure. πŸ™‚

  14. Jess, It’s been so fun following your journey! I’m not vegan either but really enjoy eating very little meat and dairy products. I’m still not sure about the whole oil recommendation (my husband has also been reading up on this) but am all for eating more veggies!

    So glad you gained so much knowledge from your experience! πŸ™‚

  15. Kaila @ healthyhelperblog!

    Nice to hear that everything went so well! It sounds like it was such a great experience!

  16. Even though I probably already eat about 50-75% vegetarian meals, I think it would be so hard to switch to a full vegan diet! Kudos on sticking it out. It sounds like it was a really good learning experience! Who knew that you’d actually be able to CUT your grocery bills? Hmm maybe I should reconsider becoming vegan after all… πŸ˜‰

  17. Pingback: Baked Falafel Pitas with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce | Dishin' About Nutrition

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