Have you ever thought about changing up your diet, but there's so many different versions that you don't know which one to try? Well, one time while on social media, I stumbled upon a particular type of diet that really peaked my interest.

The Plant-Based Diet

The Plant-Based Diet is based on consuming whole grains and plant-based foods. This excludes animal products including meat, dairy, and eggs and promotes the intake of whole grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruits. While this diet is similar to a vegan diet, it also stipulates that one should avoid processed and artificially-made foods with added fats and sugars. The Plant-Based diets focuses on natural foods derived from plants, and as someone who wants to be healthier, I thought this sounded like a diet that would help me to do so. That's when I decided to try the Plant-Based Diet for a whole month.

Over the past year, I have actually tried the Plant-Based diet several times, only spanning 1-2 weeks, however. I have been successful in the past in sticking with the diet for this short amount of time, so now I wanted to up the stakes and try it for a whole month. I started the diet on October 1, 2018, and so far, I have been able to stick to it.

What I Ate

For the first week, it was difficult to figure out what I wanted to eat in a day while being plant-based. The second week became a lot easier once I got into a routine. My daily meals consisted of oatmeal energy bars for breakfast, smoothies for snack, all-natural peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on whole grain wheat bread for lunch, and a variety of salads or burrito bowls for dinner. My meals generally followed this pattern but there was still variation between each day. Even while I was on my diet, I was still able to have food that I enjoyed by simply modifying meals to fit the diet. For example, instead of having a burrito bowl with loads of cheese and sour cream, I would substitute the sour cream for hummus or guacamole and go without the cheese. Substitutions like these made eating food more enjoyable even though I wasn't able to have meat or dairy.

Pros and Cons

Now that I have almost completed a whole month, there are some noticeable positives and negatives to this type of diet. Some positives are that I, personally, have felt truly healthy and lighter since I am not eating the heavier foods that would make me really full and weigh me down. I have also learned from this diet that I can eat only plant-based foods and still be full and satisfied. Also, since I am able to have my own eating habits at college, it has been easier to strictly follow this diet. With that being said, some negatives to this diet are that it is very hard to have the self-control to limit yourself to certain foods while others around you are not limiting themselves. For example, the weekends were especially difficult when friends or family would want to go get dessert, and I would decide not to have any because it didn't follow my diet. Additionally, another negative of this diet is that it requires lots of fresh produce and whole grains, and while the dining halls on campus provide very good vegan options, it is difficult and expensive to get certain foods and ingredients that fit this diet. 

The Verdict 

After this month, this diet has really opened my eyes to the Plant-Based lifestyle, and while I enjoyed it and felt much healthier, I think I will definitely enjoy going back to being able to have meat and dairy. However, after seeing how my body has improved because of this diet, I feel I will be much more conscious of my choices of the foods that I eat. After trying out this diet, I would definitely recommend it to others who want to get healthier and learn how their body can be changed based on the foods they eat. I only have 5 more days left on the diet, but it certainly has been a month to remember.