The Aftermath of the Whole Foods 28-day Challenge

salmon over fresh greens

A big focus of my life and my blog for more than a month was the Whole Foods 28-Day Challenge. For those 28 days, I went without meat, dairy, oil, and refined sugar. Except for a few small lapses, I was true to the diet.

It was incredible at first. I lost three pounds in the first week. I felt better, leaner, and I stopped craving sugar. On the downside, I was tired. Not I-have-2-boys-and-don’t-get-enough-sleep tired, but exhausted tired. I would start nodding off at 9 p.m. instead of my usual 11. On days I exercised, it would start falling asleep at 8.

Once the diet was over, I had decided I would work oil, fish, and eggs back into my diet. I wanted to keep up with most of the dietary guidelines and slowly add just a few foods. One thing I promised myself was to not jump feet first off the vegan wagon. A strange turn of events landed me in New York the week after I ended the diet and not only did I jump off the wagon I jumped into a vat of beef.

I went crazy. I started out saying I would be vegetarian instead of vegan so I could have a grilled cheese with roasted tomato mayo from the 48 Lounge. I would show you a picture, but I ate it too fast!

Country Pate at Gramercy Tavern

It went downhill from there. My friend and I went to the Gramercy Tavern and ordered a dinner of meat. Really. Other than the hint of greens, our meal was all meat. And it was fantastic. We had sweetbreads, pate, a fish cake, and the world’s richest meatballs.

Sweetbreads at Gramercy Tavern

This lapse into carnivorism, didn’t wreak havoc on my stomach like I imagined it would. I actually felt great. That’s probably because I wasn’t eating enough protein during my vegan diet, not because I was a vegan.

The rest of June and most of July was not great nutritionally. The part where I felt great after eating meat only lasted a few days. Then I felt like I did before the diet, a little bloated, a little thirsty (amazing how you your tolerance for sodium changes when you eat out less and have less processed food). And the three pounds I lost? They’re back.

I think I really need to go back and embrace the idea of the diet. I need to cook more at home. Go out less. Don’t cover meat with cheese and potato as seen in the picture below. And really think about what I’m eating.

What I think I need to do is make parts of the 28-Day Challenge a lifelong challenge.

Meatballs with Fontina and Potato Puree
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Comments: 3

  1. Marcela August 2, 2011 at 9:08 pm Reply

    You inspire me after hearing about your 28 day challenge!

  2. Donna September 10, 2011 at 3:07 pm Reply

    As you know, my husband and I tried the vegan experiment after you. While he lost a ton of weight and feels great, I have ballooned up at alarming speed.

    I think we just discovered that he does better with less animal protein… and I’m allergic to carbs. I lost all that weight all those years ago with low-carb, low-cal, low-fat regimen.

    Gearing up to move me off of veganism, while he stays with it. Your tale gives me some pause — I’m afraid of going carnivore crazy!

  3. Yvonne Condes September 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm Reply

    Donna, I think I was listening to my body and it was telling me that I need protein from a source other than beans. I’m not sure which way to go next. It’s odd, but I didn’t have any back pain while I was vegan, but I was starving and had trouble losing weight. Now that I’m back on meat, I still haven’t lost any weight. Don’t know what solution is for me!

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