One of the questions I often get when I tell people that I follow a vegan lifestyle is, “How do you feel?” Interestingly enough I never really knew that I felt “bad” after eating until I adopted a vegan lifestyle. On the standard American diet we are all too familiar with that overstuffed-full feeling we get after gorging on a “healthy” turkey burger, french fries, and a beer (or soda). Or that groggy tired feeling we get after a huge bowl of a comfort food like mac and cheese, sausage gravy and biscuits, or fettuccini alfredo. What about that sleepy feeling that overcomes you after your Thanksgiving meal; where you literally eat until you are stuffed? I thought all of those feelings were normal and/or maybe I had eaten a bit too much or I had eaten too fast. However, I have to say that our adoption of a vegan way of eating reduced those feelings significantly.
I first remember describing the way I felt as “lighter”. John made a plant based mac and “cheese” and I ate a huge bowl – I felt great. John made veganized sausage gravy and biscuits. No full, groggy, over-stuffed feelings here. John even made a Vegan Thanksgiving meal this past year. We had mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, garlicky kale salad, braised carrots, rolls, cranberry sauce, dressing, and gravy. Yum! It was SO good.
I didn’t have that overstuffed, groggy, sleepy feeling this time. I even had room for apple and pumpkin pie! Don’t get me wrong, I felt full, but not “heavy”. So why do we feel better?
I know it is not portion size because I eat the same size portions I ate before. Sometimes I think I even eat more. Is it that the animal products that we were eating were more difficult for our bodies to digest? I once heard that a steak sits in our intestines for more than 3 days; no wonder why we feel “heavier” after eating meat filled meals.
I challenge you to try it. Plan a day (or two right in a row) where you eat plant based/vegan meals. Here is quick example of what we might eat on a “quick/easy” day:
Breakfast: smoothie- almond milk, banana, frozen strawberries, ground flax, (you can add dates for sweetness – just don’t forget to remove the pit)
Snack: apple or saltines with peanut butter
Lunch: veggie wrap: tortilla (warm it up), spread with hummus and your favorite veggies and roll it up (my favorites are: shredded beets, shredded carrots, red pepper sliced thin, and arugula). Add some chips and a piece of fruit and your lunch is complete.
Snack: 1/4 c of almonds and a piece of fruit
Dinner: pasta with red sauce (check for meat or cheese added) and a salad with oil and vinegar
Breakfast: toasted bagel with peanut butter (check bagel ingredients) or have another smoothie
Snack: red pepper and hummus
Lunch: leftover pasta with sauce and some vegetables (cut up carrots/celery/peppers or a salad) or have a baked potato and a salad (you could even top your potato with salsa or steamed broccoli)
Snack: fruit or popcorn (either air popped or grab ¼ c of popcorn kernels and put in a lunch size paper bag, fold the top a few times, microwave for around 2 minutes(time may vary) or until you hear the popping slow)
Dinner: quinoa bean tacos – simple recipe I found on Pinterest (http://damndelicious.net/2014/04/19/quinoa-black-bean-tacos/) Substitute vegan sour cream or omit.
So there you have it. Try this two day plan (you can sub in your own meatless ingredients where you see fit) and let me know in the comments section how you feel? Subscribe now and watch for more meal plans and recipe ideas.