An Update: 3 Months Post My Fully Plant-Based (Vegan) Diet

Somi Igbene PhD ANutrJuly 8, 2019

It’s been over three months since I stopped eating an entirely plant-based/vegan diet. Where does the time go? Many of you have been asking about my health since changing my diet. It has been a steep learning curve, but I’m glad to say that I am doing a lot better. My current eating pattern is not exactly what I thought it would be. Keep reading if you’d like to know more details.

As you may already know, I gave up my entirely plant-based diet earlier this year after months of agonising digestive distress.  Shortly after making the announcement, I re-introduced eggs and seafood into my diet. At the same time, I reduced the number of vegetables, grains and legumes I was eating. Within a few weeks, I noticed a significant improvement with my digestion. I was no longer as bloated as I’d been after meals, the light-headedness and dizzy spells I was getting a few hours after eating went away.

I hated the smell and taste of eggs the first few times I ate them, but I got used to it pretty quickly. Fish was no problem at all. In fact, I couldn’t believe how much I’d missed salmon. I’ve been eating it at least two times a week ever since.

My family and I travelled to Nigeria in April for the Easter holidays. During that time, I let my extended family know I was no longer eating a vegan diet, and out of excitement, they cooked traditional delicacies, all of which included various types of red meat and poultry. I  wasn’t very keen on re-introducing meat and poultry at that time, but after a lot of persuasion, I eventually gave in. It was strange, but I didn’t find it awful even after such a long time. It was quite the opposite if I’m 100% transparent. I guess I’m not the frugivore or herbivore many vegans want me to believe that I am.

Between April and most of June, I continued to eat a mostly plant-based diet with the occasional addition of animal foods except for dairy. I am lactose intolerant, and dairy products, in general, gives me cystic acne. Despite eating much smaller quantities, I noticed that during the weeks when I ate more vegan, my digestive issues and light-headedness returned with a vengeance. I was also craving more starch or sugary-foods, no matter how satisfied I was. This was very strange/worrying for me because I don’t typically have a sweet tooth.

I knew exactly what was going on, and after speaking with my doctor and doing some simple tests, it turns out that the light-headedness, sugar cravings and mood swings were down to dysregulated blood glucose levels. How crazy is that? I’m not sure how I’ve gone from being healthy to almost becoming pre-diabetic. Well, I do. I ate a high sugar diet for three years!  It doesn’t matter that my diet was based on whole foods. Whole grains, starchy vegetables, legumes are still converted to glucose. Too much of those foods can still cause insulin resistance the same way that refined sugar does. What is happening to me now may not happen to you, so please don’t get scared if you’re reading this. We all have different tolerances to food; it just so happens that my body was not cut out for long-term veganism. Lesson learned!

My Current Diet

Towards the end of June and after my tests, I decided to remove all grains, starchy vegetables and legumes from diet. I began to only eat leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, lots of non-starchy vegetables, poultry, fish and eggs. The first week of doing this was a total nightmare. My energy levels were zero, I couldn’t exercise as much as I usually would, my mood was terrible and I was downright miserable! The week after, however, something miraculous happened. All my sugar cravings disappeared, and my energy levels and mood were much better. My digestion is proper once again. I mean, it is not perfect. I get digestive discomfort when I eat eggs (I suspect I have an egg intolerance), otherwise I’m fine.

I prefer not to put my current eating pattern into a category because I’m done with the labels. Right now, I’m all about restoring my health. That dietary pattern will not be vegan, vegetarian, paleo, macrobiotic, omnivore, carnivore, or whatever other labels exist these days. It will merely be Somi’s diet. I cannot tell you precisely what you should eat; I can only advise that you choose whole foods mostly, listen to your body and eat whatever makes you feel your best.

I’m at the early stages of Somi’s diet. I’ll report back in September with updates. In the meantime, stay tuned for more recipes and other fitness & lifestyle updates.

Thanks so much for reading.


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