What I've Learned as a (Sakara Life) Vegan for 30 Days

Well folks, this 'mostly' vegan/plant-based thing has officially grown legs and taken on a life of it's own. Honestly it's ALL thanks to Sakara. I cannot say enough good things. (Also if you're interested click here to browse next week's menu). The end of this post has a discount code for you on your first order.

I honest-to-goodness never thought this would be a 'thing', and never imaged just how good I would feel (and frankly, LOOK).

I started eating 'mostly' vegan the last week of July. Over my Bachelorette weekend the first weekend in August, I had animal protein Friday and Saturday. Since then, I've had fish (tacos) exactly twice. It's been plants, grains, beans, nuts and seeds ever since.

A few things started happening when I shifted to a mostly vegan, and even more predominantly whole-food based diet.

The last 5-8 lbs? MELTED OFF. I didn't even realized I had them to lose. I was hovering at a certain weight all summer (still down ~12 lbs from my starting weight in early April) and was kind of like huh, I guess this is where my bod wants to be. Bless up, I'm good with it.

Then I swapped out land animals. And it literally just disappeared.

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My belly is flatter than it's ever been. My hips are narrow. My bum is lifted and tight. I can walk 4 miles in an hour. I've never felt stronger in yoga. I actually ENJOY yoga. 

I know. WHO THE F HAVE I BECOME?

It's to the point that even after two glasses of wine (also going vegan makes you even more of a lightweight so bless up for being a cheap date and having the justification to order the most expensive 2 glasses of wine on the menu) I still order the vegan option. Seriously, I was 2 glasses of Oregon Pinot in the other night and for my entree? Quinoa, arugula, avocado, pepita salad. Appetizer? Crudites and hummus. DIDN'T EVEN FLINCH.

It's tough to explain without sounding all hippy-dippy but I just feel LIGHTER all over. I don't bloat. I don't have gas. My skin freaking glows. They've had it right all along.

But my biggest take-aways? Glad you asked. 

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Got 'em.

1) You can be a good vegan or a bad vegan

I tried the whole vegan lifestyle a few years back and I felt... awful. Literally night-and-day to the way I've felt the last month on Sakara. Why? I was doing it all wrong. Pasta, chips, breads, crackers, "vegan" cookies. French fries are vegan! This time around I've focused on whole, plant based foods,  gluten-free grains, wraps and bread, and plenty of healthy fats to keep my energy up. The difference is absolutely astounding - mentally and physically.

I also love that Sakara varies the food and nutrients and superfoods they serve. In any given week, you’re getting the full array of vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients. (No more boring AF kale and quinoa salads). Every color veggie reflects a different set of phytonutrients, so by eating them all, you’re actually ensuring that you’re getting all different types. I.E red plants like tomatoes, watermelon and strawberries tend to contain phytonutrients like lycopene, Vitamin C and anthocyanin. Yellow produce has beta carotene, Vitamin A and alpha carotene. And green plants contain phytonutrients like chlorophyll, iron, magnesium and Vitamin K. HOT BOD TIME.

2) You don't need to feel "OMG so full" every time you eat

Sakara doesn't count calories. Why? A few reasons actually.

  • Your microbiome (that 6 pounds of bacteria living in your gut!) is a huge determining factor as to how many calories you will absorb from your food. Want it to be healthy? Eat a lot of plants. They're nutrient dense but not calorically.
  • Restricting calories is a stressor. When your body is stressed and believes it is starving, it wants to hold on to fat. By eating more of the right foods, you tell your body it’s okay to burn fat.
  • Nutrient dense foods are often sacrificed when people restrict calories. Their salad dressings are some of the highest nutrient content of any food. They’re also high in calories. WE NEED CALORIES TO STAY ALIVE. Without proper nutrients, your body won’t efficiently burn fat or build muscle. It’s food quality and composition that matter, not volume

I love to eat. So, so much. That said, I routinely over-served myself and would leave meals feeling so full and just, tired. Then I read The Beauty Detox Solution (literally because I read a magazine while getting a manicure and Kate Mara said it inspired her to go full-on vegan. I also love to read.) I learned that the reason we feel exhausted after a big meal is because our bodies are literally expending that much more energy trying to breakdown and digest heavy animal proteins, or inflammatory causing foods. Think about it - you eat a salad and you have energy for days. You eat Thanksgiving dinner and you take a nap. Not a coincidence. I've learned to eat until I feel satisfied, not stuffed.

3) It's OK to be hungry

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The body is incredibly intelligent and intuitive. It knows when it needs more or less of certain nutrients, it knows how to tell you when it’s thirsty, hungry or sleepy. It’s in tune with every action and reaction from a cellular level all the way up to the mechanical level. Body intelligence is about building a body you can listen to.

Historically (until like a month ago let's be real), every time I had a hunger pang, I'd pop an RX Bar or start munching on chips, crackers, etc. It's okay for your body to feel a little hungry. Between dinner and breakfast you should actually allow 12 full hours for your body to optimally detoxify and fully digest. The body uses a lot of energy to detoxify, but it also uses a lot energy to digest food. When your body is not busy digesting food, it can focus its energy on eliminating toxins and healing.

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4) You don't have to kill yourself at the gym or in class to see results.

I walk an hour a day. No exceptions. I feel fantastic, I get outside, I listen to an audio book or music, or spend time catching up with a friend or on the phone with my mom. I also do Hot Power Yoga 2x a week to sweat, detoxify, stretch, and workout my mind. Weird, I'm incredibly high-strung and try as I might to resist it, yoga actually helps me. 

When I was doubling at spin class or going all-out at bootcamp, I was starving all the time and eating way more than I needed to, stressed out mentally and physically, tired constantly, and not seeing near the aesthetic results I am now. Not to mention it's EXPENSIVE.

But so is health. Sakara isn't cheap but it's full of organic, great-for-you ingredients and foods that also aren't inexpensive to source. It's also portioned out, thoughtfully prepared, and delivered straight to your door 3x a week. CONVENIENCE, no decision fatigue AND abs that miraculously show up out of no where? 

The (mostly) vegans had it right all along.

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