In June, we hit 5 for a plant diet. Our diet is not called vegan, but I refer to it as a plant-based diet, because we consume lime honey for immunity (roughly from mid-September to mid-May, depending on whether May is May or closer to November). There are two most popular varieties of plant-based diet - vegetarian and vegan. Vegetarians do not eat meat, but eat cow's milk, eggs and cheese. The vegan diet rejects not only meat, but also animal products such as eggs, cheese, cow's milk and honey. 100% vegan diet is based on plants. These two diets are often confused. More than once in the restaurant I saw the inscription that something is vegan, and the composition of the product contained eggs or milk.
I rejected meat in junior high school for the first time after watching a program on TVN about how animals are treated for slaughter. Even then it seemed to me not only cruel, but also not very ... tasty. However, it was difficult to persevere in the family home, where meat was the main point of dinners. It was also a time when few people had heard about the vegetable diet, and finding a vegetable substitute for meat was a challenge.
I took the second and last approach in June 2014, exactly 2 months before our wedding. Our decision to switch to a plant-based diet was quite quick - I gave up eating meat overnight, but gradually gave up eating eggs and fish (I didn't eat both too often, so I had no problem rejecting them completely). Much earlier, at the instigation of a dermatologist, I replaced cow's milk with vegetable substitutes (I recommend almond and oat milk in particular). You probably wonder how it was with Piotr? Well, Piotrek occasionally ate meat, especially with his parents, who find it difficult to understand why we are actually on a vegetable diet and do not eat meat.
How do I feel after 5 years on a plant diet?
Since I went on a plant-based diet, I stopped having stomach problems. Earlier, after eating a meal, my stomach ached very often. I visited several doctors who couldn't tell me what was wrong with me. It was enough to change my diet to make my body function normally. Of course, I didn't see the results right away. Initially, my body began to cleanse - acne lesions appeared on the face. I also noticed that my metabolism accelerated significantly. I also stopped feeling "heaviness" after eating a meal. During the cleansing phase, I drank a lot of water to speed up the process.
When I ate meat or dairy products, I always found that I had iron deficiencies (I've been dealing with this for as long as I can remember). Currently, my blood tests, which I do regularly due to hypothyroidism (by the way of TSH, FT3 and FT4 tests also do morphology) are perfect. Regular iron deficiencies are a thing of the past.
I will refute one of the myths that I often hear - you lose weight on a vegan diet. This is not entirely true, because if someone looks at me from the side, it may look like this. However, I would like to remind you that my current figure and weight was made up of several elements - diet change, diagnosis of hypothyroidism and treatment of the disease, as well as a fixed apparatus (for more than 3 for months I ate only mush, which made me lose a lot of weight). You can, but don't have to lose weight while on a vegan diet. It all depends on what you eat. You can eat healthy, but you can also use substitutes, which often have a lot of chemistry.
What do I eat on a vegetable diet - sample meals
The myth that I face most often when I am on a vegetable diet is that a man will not eat vegetables alone. Yes, that's true. Being on a plant diet, you need to ensure a properly balanced diet. There must be a vegetable protein (we find them in tofu, tempehu or pods), which replaces animal protein. Interestingly, soy chops, which are considered by people completely ignorant of the vegetable diet as one of the most common meals of vegetarians and vegans, I have eaten only a few times during these 5 years.
Breakfast is the biggest challenge for me. I don't like sweet dishes (I have to have a day for them, I prefer to eat then raspberry and coconut chia pudding), but in Poland porridge, jams and possibly scrambled eggs reign. The first ones tempt me on average (porridge I often make to Piotr), while scrambled eggs are not an option. I often just eat fresh vegetables for breakfast, sandwich with sunflower paste or pumpkin seed pate, avocado toast or turkey (this is vegan scrambled egg with tofu). You can add tomatoes, mushrooms and fresh chives to it. The secret lies in the black salt (kala namak), which gives an egg flavor and yeast flakes (inactive yeast).
Dinners are a much nicer topic for me. I love spaghetti with smoked tofu, soup with shiitake mushrooms or baked vegetables - eggplant, potatoes, asparagus, baked Sweet Potatoes, and sometimes I just mix together two types of potatoes (sweet potatoes and regular potatoes), feather-chopped onions and yellow peppers. Season with spices to taste and bake. I serve baked vegetables with a mix of lettuce, corn and cherry tomatoes, as well as vegan mayonnaise and garlic sauce (2 spoons of Hellman's vegan mayonnaise mixed with a tablespoon of dry soy yogurt, a clove of finely chopped garlic and fresh dill). This sauce works not only with baked vegetables, but is also a delicious addition to pizza.
In fact, any recipe can be vegan. The question is how much time do you want to spend in the kitchen - you can make vegan de volaille, but it takes a while, and you can also focus on simple and fast, yet tasty dishes. I belong to the second group, although I love to check out the Facebook group "What Polish Vegans Eat", where you can find a lot of vegan inspiration (there is a very talented girl on the group who makes beautiful vegan cakes).
Availability of plant substitutes
Today it is much easier to get vegan substitutes than a few years ago. Some 3-4 years ago, when I asked about plant milk in a cafe, the waitress looked at me as an alien. Today, no one is surprised that someone drinks coffee with soy or almond milk. Recently, I learned from one of our IG Observers that there is soy milk even at McCafe! Even after arriving in Olsztyn, I checked it and I could actually drink quite a good coffee with soy milk.
In the Tri-City it was difficult to find tasty, vegan eateries (now it's much better), so for a long time we did not eat out. When they opened Faloviec (Avocado) in Przymorze (ul. Obrońców Wybrzeża 2), it was a godsend for us. We lived nearby at that time, besides, the rich menu of this place was something completely new to us. I was particularly delighted with the cakes I missed so much (I don't like sweets like bars, cakes etc. but I like cakes since I was a child). Chocolate tart in Falovec is something that you have to try when you are in Gdansk!
Warsaw is a paradise in terms of vegan places. I am not a fan of burgers, so we are not friends, but Vege Bistro (ul. Kopernika 25), Wolo Kury (ul. Chmielna 23) and Lokal De La Krem (ul. Hoża 27A) are my favorite places I like return. I can't fail to mention the best vegan ice cream I've ever had. You will find them in Vegestacja (ul. Poznańska 26). Recently, we were also ordered by our friend at breakfast in Veganda (Zbawiciela Square), where Piotr ate avocado toast and I was tempted by French toast (the portion was huge, so Piotrek had to help me). The food was very tasty, but the coffee at El Krepel cannot be matched.
There are also more and more vegan options in stores. But remember to be reasonable and read the roster. Just because something is vegan doesn't mean it's healthy. In veg alternatives you can often find plenty of preservatives and other interesting enhancers.
What is worth remembering on a plant diet?
A must on the plant-based diet is vitamin supplementation. B12. Interestingly, not only herbivores need to supplement this vitamin, but also carnivores should reach for it. I read recently that deficiencies of this vitamin can contribute to Alzheimer's disease! There are even studies that supplementation with this vitamin slows down the development of this disease, which is why it should be mandatory for older people.
I have been supplementing Wimin for several days - supplements dedicated to women. I chose the PMS version because I learned that the composition contains an herb (immaculate) that has a positive effect on the functioning of the thyroid gland (note I suffer from hypothyroidism). In addition, we will also find Ashwagandha, saffron, and vitamins such as B12, C, E and others. Earlier, I supplemented Bodymax plus with ginseng for several years. For supplements WIMIN PMS I decided mainly because they are 100% vegan, as well as natural (in stores you will find plenty of chemical supplements that are much less effective and in addition can burden the liver). Since I'm on a plant diet (which is considered one of the healthiest), I wouldn't want to stuff myself with chemical supplements. The packaging is also very convenient - one sachet is a portion of vitamins for the whole day. Previous supplements I took were in a glass (quite heavy) jar. I would definitely not take this version on holiday to Italy for fear that the jar might break during the flight.
Apparently, most can be vegan, but I miss the taste of feta very much. I tried vegan options (tofu feta from Jadłonomia recipe, buy feta), but this is not totally it. I am very curious what flavors are you missing on the plant diet? Let me know in the comments.