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Any vegetarian/vegan success stories out there?

vegetarian vegan success

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#1
erincita123

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I have been a vegetarian for 20+ years and vegan off & in within that timeframe.
I am a 42 year old female.
I am a marathoner/ultrarunner, very healthy and active generally speaking -- I stumbled upon Whole30 as I am constantly looking for ways to "heal" my weird relationship with sugar/sweets/carbs....I would like to lose and few lbs and tone up, though my main objectives are to increase steady energy levels, regulate mood and get off this crazy sugar train!
I have yet to read any real success stories from vegetarians and/or vegans. Not sure if that's b/c it is not appropriate for vegetarians or if folks have tried and found it difficult or ???
I am willing to eat eggs, tempeh, tofu, edamame and the occassional nut...(i tend to go overboard there as well).
Any stories out there? good/bad/interesting/helpful?
Thank you! :)

#2
TrayS

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I've often wondered why the vegetarian forum is basically dead silent... whether it's because people who eat paleo typically aren't vegetarian, or like you said if they found it too difficult, etc. But I have seen that there are people on this forum who used to be vegetarian pre-Whole30 and are no longer - maybe we will hear from them!

I think that it's not so much that the program is not appropriate for vegetarians, rather according to the program, true vegetarianism is not the ideal diet to achieve optimal health, for the reasons stated in ISWF. I think it will help you a lot that you are willing to eat eggs, hopefully you are willing to eat a lot of them! If you haven't seen it, check out the resources available on this site, seems like they can help you do the best you can with it given your limitations, and help you transition into meat eating should you choose to do so:

http://whole9life.co...or-vegetarians/

#3
Kirsteen

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But I have seen that there are people on this forum who used to be vegetarian pre-Whole30 and are no longer - maybe we will hear from them!


I'm one of them. I used to be vegetarian when I was young, drifted away from it and then went back about 5 years ago. Doing nothing by halfs I became vegan (with the exception of honey) and then a raw food vegan. I had a whole shelf of raw food books. I studied and studied it. I swore by Boutenko and Wigmore. I juiced, I sprouted, made bucketfuls of green smoothies and was convinced my diet was the healthiest it could be. The trouble was I didn't feel that way. Everyone kept telling me I could take years to fully detox so to stick with it.

The crunch came when I was diagnosed with a really aggressive breast cancer. For other reasons I'd been scanned head to toe, two years previosly and not a trace of cancer. Now, after two years as a raw food vegan, I'd a large cancerous mass which had already spread to 12 of the 14 lymph nodes in my arm. Everyone in the raw food movement went on about how chemo was poison, operations would merely spread the cancer. Cancer could be cured by diet, stick to that. I was frustrated and angry; I'd been on that kind of diet when I devoloped it, what confidence could I have that it would cure it.

I opted for conventional treatment, radical mastectomy, lots of chemo etc and basically ate what I could keep down, still mainly vegetarian, lots of quinoa, hummus and loads of fruit and veg etc. Afterwards I still tried to follow cancer protocols, lots of juicing etc. I kept reading, as I still believed food has to be the basis of all health but i felt paralised about making the right choices.

I came across Mark Sisson's Primal Diet and was intrigued, I searched other paleo sites and came across this one. I read the book and couldn't argue with the logic - it made sense. I'd had the odd bit of chicken and fish but going back to eating red meat took a real leap of faith. I decided, with much trepidation, to try it for 30 days. I simply moved all my grains and legumes aside so that I could go back to them if this didn't work.

Well I'm now on day 52 and there's no going back. It hasn't all been plain sailing, it's been a bit bumpy in patches but I know this is how I want to continue eating. It's hard to explain but my body feel like it's being nourished and yesterday my oncologist discharged me with nothing more than yearly checkups and she was absolutely delighted with how well I look. I think that took her by surprise.

I know none of the above is what you wanted to hear; ethically I'd much rather be a vegan but, healthwise, it just doesn't do it for me. I'm still extremely fussy about what meat I eat. I've become friendly with one of the farmers at the local market and have extensively questioned them about how their animals are raised, how they're looked after and how they're slaughtered. I won't eat factory farmed meat, not just for health reasons, but because I want no part in colluding with the animals suffering.

Whether this can be done as a vegetarian I really couldn't say but I'm sure others must have tried it. Good luck whatever you decide.

#4
TrayS

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Wow Kirsteen your story is amazing! It's great that you are doing so well now eating this way.

I've done shorter vegetarian/vegan stints from time to time (could never make it more than a couple of months), thinking that what I needed to do to be the healthiest I could be is give up all animal products, and struggled with the same moral dillema. But I agree the best thing we can do to support humanely raised animals for meat is to buy that meat (and eggs), and convince our family members to do the same. My husband, who has never given much thought to eating meat, factory farming, etc. is now buying much more grass fed/organic than before, because he knows I don't want the factory farmed stuff. So we're reducing the demand for FF that his appetite creates, and supporting the higher quality, more humane farmers, and I feel good about that.

#5
thetreshire

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Another former vegetarian here. I was a strict vegetarian with vegan leanings for about 10 years, since I was 15. Like one of the posters said above, ethically speaking, I would really, really rather be a vegetarian/vegan. But I do feel physically better eating this way, and I was convinced that supporting humanely raised meat is important. The biggest thing for me about the Whole30 was the mental clarity I have now. I just feel better, generally. And I'm not hungry all. the. time. like I used to be. I did a lot of reading before my Whole30--ISWF, of course, but also the Ethics of What We Eat, and other first-hand accounts around the internet. From ISWF and elsewhere (Nourising Traditions, any paleo-type people/books, etc), it's pretty clear that most of what I ate as a vegetarian was unhealthy, not simply just not ideal. That said, I do believe it is possible to be a vegetarian and do it right, but it's very, very difficult. Soak your beans, soak/sprout your grains, that kind of thing. But again, for optimal health--which I think is why we're here, for the most part--tempeh isn't going to cut it. At least that's what I've taken away from this. Good luck however you choose to proceed!

#6
erincita123

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Thank you, all, for the thoughtful responses!
This is not something I take lightly, and I do realize that it is a very personal choice...I'm not out to change anyone or contend that one way of eating is better. I honestly have never really imagined NOT being vegetarian or vegan, since it has been my way of living for so long. Through pregnancy, living overseas, training hard for marathons, etc etc.... I love vegan food. Problem is, I also love sugar. :(
My questioning now comes from a place of feeling like I still have emotional hang ups surrounding sugar/ sweets...and I have wondered if that is a result of eating insufficient protein. I don't know. But I don't like the constant cravings or the energy highs/ lows.

Would simply adding eggs ( a lot of eggs) do the trick in place of meat? I am allergic to fish and seafood so that is not even an option.
I guess I want the "straight poop" - I know food is very personal and fads come and go....I am not interested in a diet or quick fix. Nor am I interested in Crossfit/ Paleo, etc etc. I am interested in being as healthy and vibrant as possible & participating in my chosen sport at a very aggressive level (running). To that end, I wonder if I "should" try eating meat?? Or is that even necessary....
This is becoming a very long winded, all over the place post! Sorry about that! I appreciate all the responses.
Sounds like everyone here has gone from veg or vegan to eating meat... Really not sure if that is the path for me.
Thank you again for the comments!!!

#7
whitjm5

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Another former vegetarian here. ISFW didn't convert me, but it did help me slay my sugar dragon. Even Bob Harper, once vegan, has started eating a more Paleo diet (Google it, if you need confirmation).

#8
Kirsteen

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According to the book, vegetarians have more of a challenge with the nutritional requirements of W30 but it says you can still get a lot of the benefits that way. you could have eggs, organic pastured yoghurt and whey protein. If you must eat plant based protein sources she suggests tempeh, natto, organic edemame & tofu, avoid all grains and pseudo grains and remember you'll still need plenty of fat. You can download the vegetarian shopping list.

I'd obviously recommend eating ethically sourced meat if that sits right with you but if it doesn't, why not try it as a vegetarian. It's your body and only you can decide what you put into it. Why not experment and give it a try. If it works for you, gives you the results you want as a vegetarian, well and good, if it doesn't you can think again about whether or not to add meat. After all what's 30 days out of a lifetime? Good luck, however you decide to proceed.

#9
erincita123

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Thank you Kirsteen! Very good points. I think I'm going to go for it as a vegetarian 30 days, and see how I feel! I will report back! :)
I appreciate all the input!

#10
erincita123

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Starting tomorrow, November 5th!!
Should be an interesting and very worthwhile experiment...I am excited to get off the crazy hi/lo sugar roller coaster and feed my body kindly!! Thank you for the thoughts, everyone!
I will share my vegetarian whole 30 experience here :)

#11
Kirsteen

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Good for you. I'm really looking forward to hearing how you get on.

#12
TheresaMary

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Hi erinceta123 , how was day 1?????
I am on day 4
love Theresa x

#13
erincita123

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Not good!! :(
I did not prepare my food well, and my crazy work schedule and evening mom duties got in the way...I learned: not planning meals = failure.
Whew, ok. Starting over!!!

Tomorrow = Day 1.
Just baked 3 sweet potatoes for the rest of the week. Have tons of eggs, veggies, coconut milk, etc. I can do this!!!

Congrats Theresa on day #4!!! :)
Are you vegetarian as well? How are you feeling?

Thank goodness for this forum. I hate to say "I failed already!" but I appreciate the accountability factor. So much.

Onward!

:) Erin

#14
Kirsteen

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You haven't failed. You've just had a learning experience and started again :)

#15
Robin Strathdee

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Exactly! No failure, just a delayed start ;0) How are we - one week in, right?
- Robin

#16
erincita123

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Okay...trying this AGAIN. Tomorrow = a new day 1. :)

#17
ricks

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Hi erincita123,

How's it going? I hope you know that failing does not make you a failure, only quitting does and I don't sense any quitting in you. I completed my Whole30 about 2 weeks ago and my results amazed me. I was not a vegetarian when I started, however, I have been one at times in my life and I recently did some time on raw food only as well.

While I ate pretty healthy, I started the Whole30 mainly because I ALWAYS craved and ate sugar and carbs and wanted to rid myself of this for good. Due to these food choices, I was also always hungry. To my amazement....my sugar and processed carb addiction left before the 2nd day and has not returned once, no cravings, nothing. I can even scoop out the ice for others and have no interest even though 6 weeks ago I could and would eat it several times a day. Funny thing is...the thought of it even makes me grimace. I also now only eat 3 meals a day and feel full most of the time.

Here are several suggestions that helped me and might help you...

1) Try to find a day to make a bulk of your meals if you can. I took some time on Sunday to cook up lots of sweet potatoes, chili dishes, cut up veggies, etc. It is much easier to heat up during the week than full blown cook.

2) Try to find some dishes / items you can always have around in an emergency. I found some good sweet potatoes in a can and baby food sweet potatoes when time is short and I need some carbs for a meal. Nuts, good lunchmeat, boiled eggs, etc, will help you when time and energy is short or limited.

3) Lastly...try to remember what is was like when you first started your vegetarian or vegan ways. I know I struggled with thinking..."What the heck is there that I can eat". Yet you stayed with it and "over time" you had more ideas and recipes than you knew what to do with. I am sure the same will happen for you here. Just keep at it and keep trying because you can do this. You will figure it out.

Best Wishes,

Rick

#18
befabdaily

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I've got some good friends who are vegetarian plus fish. Their diet is about the closest I can imagine to what a vegetarian "Whole30" equivalent would be; they buy everything locally grown, home prepare almost all their food from whole ingredients. They don't eat added sugar, flour, or legumes; they do add small amounts of non-gluten whole grains (think corn in a salad or a little quinoa in your soup) and they do eat high-quality locally-sourced dairy. They seem to be thriving eating that way and have had similar outcomes re: weight loss and improved blood profiles as people report on Whole30.

I don't think you can be vegetarian and follow the Whole30, especially if you don't tolerate legumes because as-written that's one of the things you can eat, but you can come up with a set of rules for yourself in the same spirit.

#19
penotti

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Former vegetarian (but fish included,15 years) here with my 2 cents: went paleo over a year ago and pretty soon realized that this was going to be hard to stick to without the meat. Pretty much all the vegetarian options have either soy and/or grains in them.
Funny enough i started craving meat again and slowly started introducing it into my diet. After I got my blood results and the nutritionist telling me she was surprised "i was still functioning" I went on meat 100% and never looked back, or felt better.
Honestly, looking back I'm not really sure why I became a vegetarian in the first place, but I think it had something to do with being "healthier"
I'm not saying eating vegetarian is totally unhealthy, but after immensely improved blood work, tonnes of more energy, muscle & strength gain (I crossfit) I can assure you my vegetarian days are definitely over.

#20
jtota

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Hey former-ish vegan here. I'm in the middle of my first Whole 30 now. I went vegan over the last two years after meeting Tony Horton's vegan chef through facebook, and after reading and watching forks over knives. She taught me a lot about nutrition and I did several food centered cleanses (much like a whole 30) under her guidance. I was feeling pretty good after the last cleanse. My skin looked awesome, hair had grown about 2 inches and was thicker. I was eating all kinds of new stuff - quinoa, various beans, tempeh, kale, etc but I kept hearing about Paleo and was curious. Despite my vegan switch, I still looked like crap, I think due to all the wraps, oatmeal etc. I kept reading paleo success stories, so when I read ISWF I thought, I can try it for 30 days and see if it's for me. Anyway, I don't see how I could do the Whole30 as a vegan or even a vegetarian. I can only eat so many eggs. And I find the whole "some things are ok if your a vegan" thing confusing. Wouldn't that compromise the results? I wanna know once and for all if this really works - 100%.
I can say this, meat and eggs are a lot more expensive than beans and quinoa. And my vegan chef friend said this diet would not be sustainable long-term, but I did not believe her until last night when I about exploded with cravings. And it's not so much that I want to eat cake, I just want some beans in my chili :( .
I guess I have a few big concerns to work through. I went vegan for health reasons, and maybe I'm just brainwashed, but I just feel like eating so much meat long-term may be unhealthy. I mean I feel better, I think, but I am hungry despite eating alot. And I mean a lot. Also, my sinus congestion is back along with chronically itchy skin. I shall have to see if these things work them selves out in the next few weeks. And perhaps my grocery bill will even out too.

For those of you who were vegan and switched to paleo due to health reasons, do you feel like this is a better way to eat long term? Will/did you go back to a vegan/vegetarian diet after your whole30? Do you notice any changes in energy, exercise performance etc compared to your vegan days? I'm so curious to know. . .
Jtota
"I believe in you!"
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