Sunday, March 1, 2009

Vegan & Gluten Free 7 Day Challenge Recap

Before starting this challenge I used to think that people who were Vegan were a bit nutty and missed out on eating so many good things in life. Add Gluten Free to that and wow, you really can't eat anything. This week has taught me that quite the opposite is true. I thoroughly enjoyed everything I ate and had so much fun coming up with new ideas and recipes to try. In fact, it has inspired me to want to continue the challenge but "with exceptions". First, here are a few things about my week that I've noticed.

* You have to be prepared for all meals/snacks ~ it is more difficult to eat on the "fly" when you are VG/GF. This can be a good thing though as all your meals are thought out for what their nutritional benefit can be.

* If you use a little imagination, you can find great food to eat and will not miss that much.

* I thought I'd be starving by eating only vegetables and fruit. However, I was often very satisfied and really listened to my body and its hunger signals when eating. Another good thing.

* I LOST 4.4 lbs this week from my VG/GF eats and I even had a "treat" almost every day - yahoo to that!

* My issues with Gluten Free are:

1) Wheat is in everything! From cereal to flour to bread to crackers to pasta.

2) The substitutes for gluten (rice pasta, crackers, flour and such) that are available are tasty, however, they are so incredibly high in calories compared to the real deal.

3) For me personally, I actually found some of the Gluten Free products make my tummy upset versus the opposite for others who are not allergic.

4) Baking Gluten Free is tough ~ yes you can use Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, Quinoa Flour and Oat Flour, however, the end result isn't the same. Things are so much more dense and not always fluffy.

What I learned from being Vegan:

1) It's really not all that bad. I thought I'd miss eggs, cheese, milk, meat, but, in all honesty I do not. I think I miss dairy more than meat if I had to pick.

2) I actually tried Soy Milk, Almond Breeze and such, which I probably would have never, ever done. They do not taste bad at all, however, as a latte, I am still working on that one.

3) I wish there was another way to get enough calcium so that supplements were not needed. I did take a multi-vitamin, calcium, iron and vitamin C everyday this week.

4) I was able to get The Husband to eat alot of the meals, but, sometimes had to make his separate.

I may add/change/delete things in this post, but, off the top of my head this is what comes to mind about my week. I really enjoyed it so much that I am going to continue the challenge but WITH Gluten added back. I'd like to add one thing back at a time and see how my body reacts.

So ~ stay tuned for the next challenge of 7 days being Vegan and a special mind/body balance challenge for March.

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