I’ve been busy this week, consumed with yet another challenge. I joined a virtual group of 40 plus, started by friend Michelle Grandy, to eat a plant based diet for 21 days.
Vegan for three weeks.
“Why are you doing this?” people have been asking. “Because it’s healthy; I love a challenge; and just to see if I can do it” has been my answer.
I actually have another reason.
Several years ago, I read “The Power of Full Engagement” by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. Their book changed my perspective on how to get more done. Instead of looking at time management, squeezing more into each day, I now look for ways to increase my energy to boost performance.
According to Loehr and Schwartz, you increase energy by tapping into four energy sources:
- Physical – Getting the proper exercise, nutrition, and sleep. The key muscles fueling positive emotional energy are self-confidence, self-control, interpersonal effectiveness and empathy.
- Emotional – To perform at our best, we must access positive emotions. The key muscles fueling positive emotional energy are self-confidence, self-control, interpersonal effectiveness and empathy.
- Mental – Having appropriate focus and realistic optimism. The key supportive mental muscles include mental preparation, visualization, positive self-talk, effective time management and creativity.
- Spiritual – Understanding, your purpose. Why are you here? This is derived from a connection to deeply held values and a purpose beyond your self-interest.
“Energy, not time, is our most precious resource.”
Ever since reading “The Power of Full Engagement,” the first questions I ask my clients, whether they be entrepreneurs, Generation Y/Millennials, CEO’s, Generation X, sales professionals, Boomers, or high potentials, are:
- How much sleep do you get each night?
- What is your exercise routine?
- What are you stuffing down your pie hole?
If these three areas aren’t in balance, I don’t get care how good you are at what you do, you won’t be able to get much done.
The last few years, I’ve been eating what I would call, a Flexitarian diet. Translation? Consuming more fruits and vegetables. Meat is more of a condiment (can’t tell you the last time I had a steak.) Processed foods are kept to a minimum.
My transformation has been a slow and steady process. More like a tortoise vs. a rabbit.
My biggest concern was will a vegan lifestyle give me the energy I need to function on a day to basis. I’m a big boy. 6’5″, 260 lbs.
Then I learned former “Bad Boy,” 6’11” John Sally of the Detroit Pistons, went totally vegan shortly after hanging up his sneaks. If this lifestyle is good enough for Spider, I can try it for a few weeks.
Here are my Vegan thoughts in week one:
- Day one was a piece of cake. Pun intended. It’s easy for anyone, to do anything, for one day.
- Day two, I spent lots of time walking up and down the supermarket aisles wondering, “How will I survive on a plant based diet?”
- Day three I almost gave up. I ate something called a Quinoa Burger that was free of soy, wheat, nut, egg, dairy, and corn. It’s also free of taste!
- I was disillusioned. Lethargic. My thinking was cloudy.
- I discovered soy hot dogs! They’re delicious. I think I could survive for 21 days on these alone!
- The key to eating vegan is to instill layers of flavor.
- If the directions say to put the food in a toaster, other than a waffle, to cook it, that’s a red flag. Aforementioned Quinoa Burger.
- I miss eggs, salmon, yogurt, and tuna fish.
- Discovered I’m not a fan of vegan pizza. Never again.
- I miss Neapolitan pie.
- Day four I sensed the challenge was getting easier.
- Vegans are not weird. They’re intelligent and intentional about what they eat.
- I love my fruits and veggies. All of them!
- Sprout Burgers made of organic soy, millet, quinoa, and amaranth is a wonderful burger substitute. I top them with sauteed onions and mushrooms. (Five Guys, we have a date for lunch, June 24th.)
- I ate a vegan chocolate cupcake that was off the hook!
- There are lots of vegan foods to keep me full and content.
- Fell in love with Tofurky Gourmet Sausages. Try their Sweet Italian with Tomato and Basil with Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta and organic tomato sauce.
- Day seven, I’m highly certain, I’ll make it through week two.
Eating vegan has increased my energy.
Wish me luck as I head into week two.
What are your thoughts on going vegan?
Tell me in the comment section below.
Learn more about me here.
Steve Borek. I have to agree w Loehr and Schwartz’s book,“The Power of Full Engagement” that the key to optimum health is tapping into your energy source. Great blogging of week one consuming a plant based diet!
Michelle, thank you for encouraging me to start the journey. I’m pleasantly surprised what I’m finding about myself and the vegan lifestyle.
You are welcome. The vegan lifestyle is a choice one makes to consume a plant-based whole foods diet that has scientific proof that eating from the earth can and will, in fact, provide more energy and alertness, and reverse most diseases, among other things. I know it did for me.
I admire all of your challenges. I am more of a flexitarian as you describe. Eating vegan is a lot of work to do it right, and get all the protein… I admire the people who do it well. I also have some friends who do it poorly and it impacts their health.
I read that B12 is lacking in a vegan diet so they encourage supplements. I take New Chapter multi’s which has enough B12 and then some.
I’m not sure if this will be a permanent dietary change. I do know one thing. I’ll be eating even less meat than before .
Vegans absolutely must and should take two vitamins: B12 at 1000 mcg and vitamin D (especially if you are not directly in the sun for at least 15 minutes every day).
My multi includes 50mcg of B12 considered 833% of the Daily Value. http://www.newchapter.com/node/5966#supplement-facts
Great post. Lots of food for thought. 🙂 Looking forward to more insights about getting to optimum performance and which vegan goods to skip. Great challenge.
Want to join me Diane? ;-p Each day gets easier. Thanks for stopping by!
Way to go Steve! I’m not sure if I can ever go 21 days but I do a few 1-3 day cleanses a few times a month ever since I watched a few documentaries on the benefits of such a diet. My favorite being “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”.
I wasn’t sure I can do 21 in a row but I did.
This month I’m eating a vegetarian diet. I love eggs, greek yogurt, etc. For the past year I’ve moved over to almond and soy milk. My, diary intake is minimal.
I’m virtually meat free. Over the past year, I’ve become less of carnivore and more of a plant eater.
I mentioned the few documentaries that opened my eyes. “Earthlings” was horrific.
Love it Steve!!!! I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years. The benefits are tremendous. I would say one of the most important lessons learned from being a vegetarian is to become fully engaged in this lifestyle takes discipline. This is true of the 3 other sources you discuss as well. When we can be disciplined enough to make these things part of our daily routine, we can become fully engaged in anything we do. By the way, if you ever want some great veg recipes, let me know.
Steve, I didn’t know you were a vegetarian! Cool.
I wrote this post last year and have not adopted a full vegetarian lifestyle.
I’m currently flying the Paleo plane. I see myself adopting a flexitarian diet consisting mostly of fruits and vegetables and some meat.
Everything I’ve read says we need to cut grains from our diet. These foods encourage inflammation. Not a good thing.
Discipline, intention, etc. about what we want to create. I echo your remarks.
Sure! Feel free to send me some of your fave recipes.