Hello, lovely readers!
Apologies for the lack of HH28 update last week- I suppose I didn’t update because I didn’t feel I had anything to report. Not in a negative sense; in fact, quite the opposite! The challenge has felt so natural and easy to me that it doesn’t even feel challenging anymore. It’s just the way I live my life now, and I couldn’t be happier about it!
I’ve lost a further 4lb during the challenge (2lb in week 2, and a further 2lb in week 3) and, because the scales can be unreliable at times, I took my measurements, too, and I’ve lost a total of 5.5 inches from my chest, waist, hips, and thighs. Not bad going, really! Weight loss wasn’t my primary motivator for undertaking the challenge- I just wanted to be generally healthier, and stimulate my immune system after a prolonged illness- but I did gain some weight following the big break-up of 2012, and I’m very pleased to find that going plant-based has helped to address that issue. If I were to be completely honest, I don’t think I expected much from the challenge in terms of weight loss, since most of the people who experience substantial weight loss from going plant-based are former omnivores, and I’ve already been vegan for over 15 years. It’s been quite a pleasant surprise!
I’ve noticed other, more random benefits, too: my teeth are much whiter and in better condition, my nails appear to be stronger, and I’ve been able to substantially reduce the pain medication I take for endometriosis without the side-effects which usually accompany a reduction in my medication. Last week, I had a little bit of an endometriosis flare-up, which usually happens in week 3 of my cycle (sorry if that’s TMI!), but the pain I experienced was massively reduced, and I’m pretty sure it only occured at all because I ate so much wheat last week, and wheat, along with caffeine, has always been a dietary trigger for my endometriosis pain. I’ve eliminated caffeine almost completely- since day 1 of the challenge, I’ve allowed myself one cup of green tea every day, as green tea has many health properties and relatively little caffeine compared to coffee or normal tea, but other than my daily cup of green tea, no caffeine passes my lips these days, and I’ve definitely noticed a huge positive impact upon my endometriosis symptoms as a result.
Today marks the beginning of week 4 of the challenge, and I intend to go out with a bang! I’m going to minimise my wheat intake this week, to determine how easily I can manage a plant-based diet without week, and based on my food intake over the past few weeks, I’ve developed a rough formula for my meals to provide what seems to be the optimal diet for my health, and my weight loss. I’ll be following this formula after the challenge is over, as I can’t imagine ever returning to a non plant-based diet. The formula is as follows:
Lunch: Protein (eg beans) + starch + veggies
Dinner: Starch + veggies
Snacks: Fruit, raw veggies
This seems to be the pattern I’ve naturally fallen into, and I’m really enjoying it, so long may it continue! I think that the only non ‘whole’ food I might adopt into my diet following the end of the challenge is wheat-free pasta, as I want to continue to eat pasta without fuelling my endometriosis pain. Wheat-free bread is full of ingredients I can’t pronounce, and tastes awful to boot, so I think I’ll skip bread altogether, and have the occasional corn tortilla instead.
I’ll be posting a review of the challenge in its entirety when I finish week 4, and I’m really excited to share my plant-based life beyond the HH28 challenge. Watch this space!