Newbie Vegan – What I Ate During Week 1 Without Meat and Dairy

It has been 13 days since starting this vegan challenge. In addition to cutting out meat and dairy, I have also cut out all refined sugars and soda, and I rarely eat gluten! Here’s a recap of what I’ve eaten and how I did this challenge last week.

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Overall, I’ve been doing well, but not perfect. After day three, I began feeling very dizzy and under-nourished. I realized that in order to maintain a vegan deit while being a restaurant manager with a varying schedule, I constantly need to have snacks that are high in protein and easily assessable, such as trail mix, granola, smoothies, and protein bars. Some of my go-tos are coconut milk yogurt and granola. I also immediately purchased some vitamins and protein powders from, my local Whole Foods Market, and Trader Joe’s.

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Since that initial dizziness,  I’ve been extremely mindful about making sure my body is getting the correct amount of iron, protein, and calcium while eating plant-based foods, so I made sure to do research. In researching what foods I should be eating, I came across a great website called “,” which has been a wonderful resource for me and is great for any new vegan eater! Here’s a helpful table which has helped me in meal planning and even gives the amount of iron found in certain foods!

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I have to say, I am absolutely shocked and amazed by how easy this has been and the changes I have already seen. I feel more awake and alert everyday; I’m sleeping better through the night without waking up numerous times. My skin is looking clearer and healthier everyday, and my hair and nails are growing much faster. I have even noticed a difference in the way my clothes are fitting!

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I was under the impression when starting this challenge that it would literally be a CHALLENGE, especially at cookouts or around family and friends that eat meat. But after the first week, I was no longer craving junk foods, nor did I have an interest in eating them at all. When originally thinking about how to do this challenge, I had planned on allowing myself one cheat day per week. But in the past 13 days, I haven’t wanted to eat those foods! I have even found a wonderful alternative to my occasional ice cream fix!

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What I’ve Been Eating

Everyday for breakfast/lunch (depending on the time I wake up) I make myself a smoothie with fresh, organic fruit, ALOHA protein powder or daily greens packet, kale, and flax seeds. Throughout the day I snack on hummus, veggies, pretzel chips, or dairy free yogurt and granola. And for dinner I have my pre prepped meals or great on-the-go packaged foods that work well for me and my busy schedule.


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So Delicious Dairy-Free Coconut Milk in Blueberry, Raspberry and Vanilla + Whole Foods Blueberry Fruit & Nut Granola 

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Daiya Fire-Roasted Vegetable Pizza

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Cucumber Tomato Salad

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Veggie Burger with a Side Salad 

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Family Dinner Meals

Veggie Stir-Fry with Veggie Sausage + Kale and Beet Stir-Fry 

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Dinner Out

Pasta with marinara sauce and fresh veggies from Bucca di Beppo in Florence, Kentucky. 

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With the health benefits I have already seen in the last two weeks, I could easily see this challenge transform into a lifelong lifestyle of clean eating! With a little courage and determination, I strongly believe anyone can achieve great health by enjoying, YES ENJOYING, the wonderful nutrition provided from our earth rather than the processed foods, genetically created with additives that cause us to crave more processed foods. It’s a vicious cycle that even I have fallen victim to. When your body starts getting the nutrition it needs, it begins to restructure itself and crave what it needs!

Do you have any thoughts about my challenge or any tips for completing it? Let’s chat in the comments!


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