In August last year, I wrote a post I never thought I would write. It took me ages to title it and eventually I settled on “An unlikely raw vegan (mostly)“. The “(mostly)” was perhaps my way of not overwhelming myself and because I didn’t want to have yet another ‘diet’ that felt overly restrictive.

Having already followed structured meal plans for 5 years, dropped gluten, and most dairy, then sugar (refined…most of the time), and even with a phase of not eating much fruit and certain vegetables; cutting out all animal based food groups felt like a big enough step already.

Plus I had finally determined a ‘Food Persona’ for myself – “paleo-ish-gluten-free-mostly-dairy-free-minimal-sugar-wholefood-a-bit-weston-price style”). Yes I say this completely sarcastically, but even so, I’ve realised over the last 6 months or so, that my eating habits make up a big part of feeling like … ME.

Funnily enough, despite 5 years of developing my own personal ‘Food Persona’, I didn’t freak out and think what on earth was I going to have left to eat on a vegan diet?! That was the one thought that never crossed my mind as I had complete confidence in two things –

  1. I loved veggies and fruit and could eat them by the bucketload.
  2. I could totally embrace a new way of cooking and preparing food – after all, being creative in the kitchen is what I love best.

And so I started what felt like a brand new food journey, and yet not such a drastic change in the grand scheme of things.

To date, I’ve kept relatively quiet on the blog about my progress and only shared a few posts here and there on Facebook about my progress … probably because it hasn’t been the radical, instant change I was hoping for (and yet knew was a silly thing to expect).

But there has been change and there has been good progress…

MY RESULTS

Overall it’s been a slow process (slower than I’d like anyway) with some ups and downs. My estrogen skyrocketed through the roof in September last year and it’s still not quite low enough, but it’s dropping consistently.

This is has meant it’s been pretty much impossible to burn any fat, so it’s been really frustrating as I’ve felt a bit like I’ve been living in someone else’s body. I have dropped a few kilograms and am not holding so much fluid now, but still have a way to go to get back to where I was a year ago.

I had blood work done again in late April and there are some improvement and still some issues. Here’s a short summary:

  • My iodine is classed as “severe deficiency” at 9 (should be somewhere between 80-200).
  • My iron studies are still not good, with Ferritin low at 22 (should be about 80).
  • My thyroid health is looking much better now.
  • My estrogen is down to 300, still a bit high but getting there (it was 490 in February, was 1055 in September 2014 – check out that chart below!)
  • My liver enzymes are good.
  • My cholesterol is lower than ever (this is very cool as I’ve always has borderline or high cholesterol on an animal protein diet).

Oestradiol_chart

MY CURRENT NUTRITION PROTOCOL

I’m still eating a mostly vegan and somewhat raw diet. I’ve been a bit slack with the raw part as after about 5 months, I honestly just got a bit sick of always eating big salads. I love salads, but I craved some variety. So I’ve increased my cooked meals, but I try to always include some variety of raw and cooked veggies in each meal.

Things like gluten free bread has slipped back into my diet a bit more than I like, and I’m refocusing on getting back to a higher percentage of my diet just from fruit and veggies.

As far as animal proteins and products go … well like I said, I’m mostly vegan, but honestly I’ve only really eaten meat out of convenience when eating out and the only gluten and dairy free option is not vegetarian too. But it’s not been a craving at all. The only thing I’ve really craved every so often is eggs, so I’ve had organic eggs every now and then.

I’ve also recently started to introduce legumes, organic tofu and tempeh into my meals as well; just a few times a week for variety. I’m testing to see how my body feels with these plant based proteins and so far so good.

I’m basically still working out exactly what type of vegan diet works for me best. High raw feels like a little too much effort some days, and then others it’s really easy. I do find the food prep and cooking overall is much, much easier and it’s been really fun trying new things.

At my doctor’s suggestion, I’m about to start introducing 1 or 2 days a week where I just eat fruit and veggies, to hopefully help kickstart my fat loss going.

SUPPLEMENTS TO SUPPORT

Since my blood work is still not quite right, I’m still supplementing (more than I like to).

  • Hemagenics (for iron)
  • Kelp (for iodine)
  • B12 (because vegan diet)
  • Ultraflora Restore probiotic (gut health)
  • Meta 1-3-C (hormones)
  • Estrofactors (hormones)
  • Double dose of Juice Plus fruit, veg, berry blends (general health)

I’m also introducing seaweeds into my diet to help with the iodine. I know that my high estrogen level would have been a blocker for iron (and subsequently iodine), but I still feel like I’m maybe missing something as far as the iron and iodine levels go, maybe a gut health thing that is reducing absorption.

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE NOW?

Breakfast

My regular Goldiepops (nuts, seeds, coconut etc) home made cereal with some fruit and maybe coconut yoghurt. Or gluten free toast with avocado if I’m out at a cafe. Or a big Complete smoothie. Plus of course a Lean Green Smoothie and coffee. (Thinking I need to reduce the coffee though).

vegan-progress-7 vegan-progress-5

Lunch

Either leftovers from dinner the night before, or a big rainbow salad or bowl of cooked veggies, with some form of fats like tahini or avocado.

vegan-progress-6 vegan-progress-4

Dinner

Ranges a lot more now! But always a base of cooked/raw veggies, maybe topped with some organic tofu or tempeh. I love a chickpea flour flatbread on the side or to wrap it up. I’ve made yummy veggie bolognese and veggie curries too.

vegan-progress-1 vegan-progress-2

Snacks

Raw treats, raw veggies or fruit,  veggie juice, kombucha or a Complete smoothie.

vegan-progress-3 lean green smoothie

WHAT’S NEXT?

I’m sticking with this mostly vegan diet as it feels right for me now. I’m not sure if I’m going to go completely vegan OR if I’ll introduce back in more animal protein down the track. I certainly can’t imagine eating the same amount of animal protein that I was last year though.

My main goals now are to get my iron and iodine levels back up as that’s effecting everything, including my energy levels which is most frustrating. And also to drop the body fat that I gained when my estrogen was off the scales and get back to feeling like I’m in my own body.

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