Hello friends. Today I am sharing with you all my plant-based diet experience. For starters, I did this to give myself some experience with this diet prior to conducting a possible study that asks participants to partake in a plant-based diet intervention for a 4-week time period. I am an advocate of being your first client, especially when you are going to be asking someone to make a change to their lifestyle, you should be able to relate and pull from your own personal experience when looking to help someone else. I also did this from a place of interest. There has been increasing talk and ‘popularity’ when it comes to a plant-based diet, so being the nerd I am I wanted to see how I would respond to this dietary change.
So, for 2-weeks I went plant-based. My shopping cart at the grocery store didn’t look all that different from my normal omnivore diet shopping cart. The veggies, fruits, beans, and grains remained the same, the only difference was there were no eggs, cheeses, yogurts, or chicken to be found. I also decided that I would be eating ad libitum (without restrictions). This means I ate when I was hungry and did not track macronutrients or calories. I felt this would reflect how many people who change from an omnivore diet to a plant-based diet make the change. I did not purchase any plant-based protein powders because 1. I wasn’t tracking macronutrient intake, so hitting a protein goal wasn’t on my list, 2. This dietary change wasn’t one I planned on doing for more than 2-weeks due to things going on in my life, and 3. I prefer to get most of my food requirements from actual foods and I didn’t want to get a protein powder because I don’t want to use whatever I didn’t finish after I switched back from this plant-based diet.
I really didn’t feel any different in daily life or at the gym compared to when I was eating my omnivore diet. I did actually feel a little more run down and would wake up some days feeling sick. I also was feeling more sore than usual. Some things that could account for how I felt beyond diet was the amount of stress I was feeling from school and work, poor sleep, and possibly not enough caloric intake compared to what was being burned throughout my day. I will say that the day after I ended my 2-week experiment I woke up feeling like garbage, super congested and was waking up every hour that night to blow my nose because I couldn’t breathe.
I’m about 1 week back on my normal omnivore diet with macronutrient tracking and I am feeling much better than last week and like my muscles are recovering much better post exercise. I am not sharing this to persuade people to eat a certain way, just merely sharing my personal experience. Like I have said many times before diets aren’t one-size fits all, and what works better for me won’t necessarily work best for you or someone else. This was not the most scientific experiment as I could have controlled for chance much better, but it was overall an interesting experiment. I don’t think I will be removing animal-based foods from my diet anytime soon, especially with my current exercise goals, but I am glad I did this and stay tuned for my next nutritional self-experiment.