Overcoming challenges as a new vegan

You are what you eatI’ve been a Vegan for two months and eight days, and, while challenging, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I overcame many challenges, and now I’m much stronger than I was both mentally and physically.

The biggest obstacle I have had to face is finding enough calories to eat every day, but I manage. I keep my food simple. On a regular basis, my diet looks like this:

  • Oatmeal with light brown sugar and cereal in the morning.
  • Bananas and tea for a snack.
  • A veggie wrap or soup from sprouts for lunch.
  • Bananas and sprouted grain bread for snacks.
  • A protein shake after my workout.
  • And brown rice with a vegetarian dish in the evenings.

I probably eat about 4 major meals a day. I estimate I make at least 2000 calories.

Living as a vegan can be difficult because our society caters to a meat-eating population. I haven’t been the greatest vegan, but I’ve succeeded for the most days, and I believe there are merits in the act of consciously thinking about what I eat. When I’m hungry and far from a vegan source, I turn to the closest thing I can to vegan—which I’ve probably only had to do twice. For example, if I go to a Mexican restaurant and I know they have no dish made specifically for vegans, I’ll order the most basic thing I can: potatoes, rice and beans. While I know the beans are probably made with lard, I have to accept the fact that I can’t starve myself—eating food is always better than starving, especially as an athlete. So it’s not to say being vegan doesn’t have its challenges.

It can get expensive eating out all the time when I don’t prepare foods, so another challenge I have had to face is planning my budget along with my vegan diet. I’m also not a very good cook, so I don’t have that going for me. I definitely need to learn how to prepare food so I can cut down on costs and eat enough calories every day.

What’s interesting though is that I haven’t lost any weight. I’m still teetering between 165 and 170 pounds. Weighing myself yesterday after my shoulder workout, I weighed 168 pounds. I can’t say I lost progress because I continue to look better and feel strong. I have to be progressing, slowly but surely.

I continue to work out at least five days a week. I lift weights, focusing on different muscle groups, play basketball, and run. I haven’t missed too many days, and when I do it’s because I believe my recovery is most important for that day. I’ve stayed steadily gaining. I can feel my mind-muscle connection getting strong with every set.

The vegan life, while difficult, has been enjoyable. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of finding new foods to eat. Graduating to the vegan life has been incredibly rewarding. Not only do I look better, I feel better about myself, too.

Being a vegan isn’t depriving, it’s inspiring. It inspires me to discover new foods, and continue challenging myself with different ways to stay alive. It opens my mind to other ways of living that I wouldn’t have thought otherwise. I love being a vegan. I plan to continue my journey as a vegan as best I can for as long as I can.

Health has become everything to me now. I’ve lost a lot over the years, and I haven’t always been good to myself, so this challenge to be a vegan has not only improved my confidence, it’s given me something I can be proud of. Whenever people talk to me about my diet, I’m proud to tell people what I eat. I don’t shy away from talking about the foods I eat. I love it.

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