Diary Adventures of LagosMums: DALM | My Lessons from my three-week plant-based diet
I am usually ready to try something once, especially when it comes to trying to live a healthier life. I did not expect to have so many lessons from my plant-based diet trial; which has turned into s lifestyle. Our church announced a fast in February and partly inspired by Daniel in the Bible I decided to try out the plant-based diet and give up meat. In the case of Daniel, apart from spiritually setting yourself apart, it is clear that you can also survive on vegetables!
I decided this was a great time to try it, so rather than break the fast with regular food I decided I would do a plant-based diet during this twenty-one day period. The result was that I loved it and have continued to incorporate it into my regular meal preparations.
I learned a few things through this process and here are some of them, you might want to try it out sometime yourself.
We do not really need that much food
Plant-based means that the only things I ate were things that grew from the ground and in their most natural state as possible. Initially, I wondered if I would alway be hungry. Actually, quite the opposite. I ate a lot of fruits and vegetables as well as starch and my protein came largely from sources like beans or bean products.
An example of dinner would be Moin Moin and Efo; Salad with a homemade dressing of oil and pepper. For snacks, I would have a cocktail of blended fruits and vegetables.
I also learned that there is a difference between plant-based and healthy plant-based. For example, yam is plant-based, but if it is deep fried in oil, it is not exactly healthy. Or a salad with a store-bought salad dressing with lots of sugar and salt is not very healthy. How the foods are prepared is important. Rather than frying, I grilled a lot of the food. To cook vegetables, I steamed rather than cook them to ensure that the nutrients were preserved.
I Felt Better
I actually felt better, less bloated and more alert. Because I was eating a much healthier diet and filling up on fruits and vegetables, I was eating less. This essentially allowed my system to be less burdened. Removing meats from my diet made much more of a difference than I thought.
A Plant Based Diet is not Boring
It is easy to think that a plant-based diet would be boing! But actually not. I got more creative after the first week. We had vegetable couscous, potatoes, and vegetables, yam porridge, Moin moin and garden egg sauce, grilled plantain and efo, okro gumbo, beans, and sauce and so many other varieties.
I did some more research and some of my lessons from a plant-based diet include that there are several benefits of this lifestyle. While weight management is one of the great side effects, there are many other health benefits as well. Some of these include reduced risk of heart disease and more.
Eating out can be difficult if you want to find vegan restaurants in Lagos. However, I found that we have a few vegetarian restaurants. I also stumbled on an Instagram page by a Nigerian living in Nigeria who shares a lot of recipes and tips for plant-based diets. Read her story as she shares how she switched to a plant-based diet here and visit her Instagram page @Plantfoodfederation. She sent me a lovely food basket and the plantain salad was yummy, the other snacks and tiger nut milk were all great. Be sure to check them out.
I have reintroduced meats back into my diet but what the process taught me was that I do not need to eat multiple pieces of meat with every meal. Now I intermittently have days where I do not eat meats and have a fully plant-based diet.
This weight loss journey of mine has truly become a lifestyle, I am not trying to quickly fit into a particular dress. The changes have been gradual over many years. Read here where I share how to lose weight even during your vacation. Gone are those days when I go on holiday and then spend the next six months getting rid of the holiday kilos.
Healthy Living is truly a lifestyle!