Vegan for a Week, A Carnivore’s Journey – Part 2

Todays post is a guest blog by Diana Klevesahl, Spa Manager at Haven Salon & Spa, LLC

In last weeks blog we introduced you to Megan, Professional Skin Therapist at Haven and resident vegan extraordinaire.  At Diana’s request, Megan helped this self-proclaimed meat lover adopt a completely vegan lifestyle for just one week to give her a better understanding of it.  Here is a summary of Diana’s experience:

This journey was an amazing learning experience.  I learned a great deal about nutrition in general, but I also learned a few things about myself in the process.  Change is always hard, but I found that keeping the refrigerator stocked with the proper foods made it so much easier to make good choices.  I work a lot of hours and rarely feel like cooking at the end of day – I am usually very hungry and look for a quick and easy choice.  Before this experiment I often defaulted to microwaving some frozen chicken nuggets or a pizza at the end of the day, but I found that by making a large pot of vegan chili at the beginning of the week, I had a healthy quick meal that I could pop in the microwave and enjoy for a quick and easy dinner.  I also found that having a few great resources and cookbooks on hand made it easier as well. 

I realized I could get protein from other sources such as beans and lentils and that I actually enjoyed eating them.  I added more whole vegetables and fruits to my diet and I was surprised to learn that I felt full and more energized then I have in quite some time.  While I didn’t go into this looking to achieve weight loss, I did lose 6 pounds which was an added benefit that has encouraged me to stay focused on eating more healthy whole foods and reaching less for microwaved chicken nuggets. 

The only negative effect that I can report at all was feeling a bit gassy, especially in the first part of the week, but it did improve as my body adjusted to the change and I felt great by the end of the week. 

Will I stick with it long term?  Well, I won’t give up meat completely, but I like to say that I am now a carnivore with vegan tendencies.  What I will stick with is continuing to make positive lifestyle changes.  Eating healthier inspired me to begin exercising again and I am already feeling stronger than I was just a week ago. 

I want to thank Megan for all of her help and support, and for the encouragement to make a change.  Sometimes the very act of just making a small change, any change, can have a ripple effect that brings more positive energy into your life than you thought possible.  So I encourage you to make changes of your own, it doesn’t have to be vegan, perhaps just a desire to get more unprocessed real whole foods into your daily diet.  I challenge you to give it a try.  I promise you will be glad you did! 

Vegan for a Week – A Carnivores Journey, Part One

If you have ever been curious about the vegan lifestyle, you will enjoy the next few guest posts by Megan White, Licensed Esthetician and Skin Care Expert and Diana, Licensed Massage Therapist and Spa Mangager at Haven Salon & Spa.  Today, Megan explains why she choose to adopt the vegan lifestyle several years ago and how she feels her health has benefited since.

This week at Haven, Megan is helping our Spa Manager, Diana, sample the vegan lifestyle for the next seven days.  We will also share Diana’s journey into the vegan world and what she discovers along the way.

Megan:  

I grew up just like everyone else, you eat everything that is put on your
plate and you don’t complain! Of course that meant your plate had a
variation of meat, potato and some sort of vegetable. Now I was not the
kid to know any different, I just ate what my parents told me to eat.. I
did however suffer from a lot of stomach pains, body aches, and migraines
that only increased the older I got. At the time I never connected the
two together, many people were unaware of the affects your food can have
on your body.

When I graduated high school in 2005, my body really started telling me
something was wrong. My stomach pains got to the point where I couldn’t
even get out of bed and I would sleep with a heating pad every night. I
went to the doctor to get tests done, and unfortunately in my situation,
the doctor couldn’t find anything except a little irritation in my
stomach. So for the next few years I dabbled in a few different diets,
seeing if I could figure out the best balance for me.

In 2009 my sister brought to my attention a book that changed my life,
Skinny Bitch. Now I know the title sounds a little harsh, but the content
of the book is completely fascinating! It talks about how eating meat and
other bi-products can affect your body and why. It also goes into detail
about the treatment of animals in bigger farms and how that treatment
affects your body. The day I finished that book, I cleaned out my
cupboard and fridge.

I know that the vegan lifestyle isn’t for everyone, and I also know that
there is a lot of controversy on if it is truly healthy. I do focus on
getting the main vitamins and minerals such as B12, calcium, iron and
protein, but I now can live a life of not being in pain, or with my new
knowledge, the guilt of what I eat. I also feel that being a vegan has
given me the opportunity to really spread the word on a healthy lifestyle.

When I came to Haven it was the usual, people being curious and, slightly
afraid of my ideas on healthy living. The last year and a half has been
exciting and challenging, not wanting to step on toes of fellow coworkers
AND guests, but also wanting to spread my passion for wellness. Diana
approached me about this idea in December about taking her vegan for a
week, and my first reaction was thinking it was a joke. After long
discussions and her excitement on the idea, my excitement grew as well!

I hope that reading Diana’s blog not only gets you excited to follow her
journey, but also gets your excited to start your own. It doesn’t have to
necessarily be vegan, maybe just Meatless Monday’s or trying out new types
of dairy-free milk or new fruits and veggies. Any little change that can
bring wellness
to your home means that we as a community are on the right path.

Diana:

I should start by telling you that I am a carnivore and have always been.
I also love to cook with all the traditional staples: butter, eggs, cheese
and so on. Another fact about me: my kids raise beef and pork! One of my
great pleasures is to cook for family and friends. I occasionally like to
bring treats into work for all the girls at Haven Salon and Spa, cookies
and cakes have always been the biggest hits.

About a year and a half ago a bright and wonderful young women named Megan
joined our team. Her life choices are very different then my traditional
way of thinking; Megan is a vegan.
Now I nearly had a nervous break down trying to make something that she
could eat, which is nothing with a face or came from a face, so pretty
much everything I know!  After several cooking attempts I just brought her
a juice!

What’s been great about having Megan on our team is she only brought a new
passion to the spa, but also her wonderful ideas to help Haven promote
health and wellness. This has been awesome because that is one of our
missions at Haven, inspiring our community through beauty and wellness.
Megan tries to do little things to inspire the team such as posting fun
facts in the break room.

So curiosity has won me over and I’ve asked Megan to help me go vegan for a
week. Talk about out of my comfort zone! She has taken me grocery shopping with a few recipes
for me to cook myself, with a lot of ingredients I’ve never heard of or
attempted to use.

Stay tuned for the updates of Diana’s adventure into the vegan world.