February 6, 2018

Food journey check in

So, it's been 3 months since changing up the way I eat and I still don't quite know what to call this new food journey of mine. I am buying as many vegan things as I can but I'm not vegan. I still consume seafood because I can't seem to part with Korean dishes that use fish oil as an ingredient. I am still looking for an alternative to fish oil and I am sure there is information out there online but I just haven't been diligent enough to find it.

I haven't consumed meat but I have still been consuming dairy products on the rarest of rare occasions. A couple of months ago, during that time of the month (you ladies know what I mean), I caved and ordered Papa John's because I have always craved junk food around that time of the month. In the past it was always Burger King (gross.. I know.. but hey.. my body was screaming Burger King!) but since I didn't want to eat meat, I settled on Papa John's. Well, I'm happy to say that I've been junk food free and I haven't even craved junk food during that time of the month like I used to. The only habit I can't seem to kick is my love for iced tea and soda, although I do have to say that my consumption for those beverages have decreased dramatically.

Despite all this, I am not sure about what the bigger positive effects has been in changing up my diet (although I guess if I think about it, the not craving junk food seems pretty big and is definitely a surprising change).

To be honest though, I feel like I have been more uncomfortable than great.

For one, I have frequent headaches.

And two, I sometimes have trouble with digestion.

I read up on it and it says that the body is going through a cleanse. I'm not quite sure if that's all that true because I am still consuming animal products in the form of fish. For some reason, relating headaches and such to the body detoxing seems really not fact based and just something to say to someone to make them believe that what is happening is actually a good thing (sorry! I don't mean to sound like I'm hatin!). I don't doubt that I am consuming healthier foods, but I guess I was looking for more concrete reasons why there are certain side effects I'm feeling (is it because I'm not getting enough protein, or not taking B12 vitamins or fiber, etc.).

But, this doesn't mean that I plan on going back to eating meat. 

A couple of nights ago, Yangkyu and I were watching a Korean TV show that is all about going on travel on the cheap. The first destination was Japan and then Bangkok. They were showcasing all this food, all this meat! And while Yangkyu was legit drooling, it made me a little slightly nauseous. 

I have tried to go meatless in the past and it was a complete failure. I was miserable. And I pondered every second, "Why am I living like this? Why am I torturing myself? I should eat what I want to eat!"

I am not sure what is different now. Perhaps I'm more stronger mentally. That I have more willpower. Or maybe I just have a stronger conviction to live closely to the values that are important to me. But I have to say that giving up on meat hasn't been hard. It hasn't been torturous. I don't feel like I'm missing our and I don't feel miserable. Sometimes when we drive by a Korean BBQ place near our home I'll say, "Oh that smells good!" But it pretty much ends there. 

I don't ask Yangkyu to make the same changes in the way he eats. When I pack his lunch and breakfast, I'll cook with eggs and meat. When we eat out, he is more than welcome to eat meat or dairy or anything he pleases. When we do take out at home, it's the same thing. He gets what he wants, and I get what I want. When we cook at home though we eat mostly what I prepare (although sometimes I will add chicken or eggs to his food). Yangkyu is ok with eating the way I eat for dinner on most nights because for one he respects my food decisions but he is also curious about food and is willing to try just about anything. 

There are a few things that I learned these past three months that have helped make this transition a positive one.

  • Eat what you love -- I have to be honest with you. I hate kale and I hate beans and I like my tofu a certain way. I know these are pretty big among vegan eaters but if you don't like it, don't force yourself to eat it and like it. Instead, find something you love. I really enjoy eating broccoli, cauliflower and avocado. So I make sure to keep them in my stock. 
  • Don't be so hard on yourself -- I am known to be strict when it comes to labeling. I can't stand activists who say they are for social justice and then choose to stay at hotels that are not unionized. I can't stand religious people who say they are religious and yet show off brand bags and live a lifestyle that is so completely opposite of how their religious icon would've lived. If you say you are something, then you live like that. Otherwise, you are not what you say you are. That was the mentality I had when I was switching over to my new diet. If I say I'm going to do something, then do it or don't do it at all. I was super tough on myself. While I do try my hardest 99% of the time there is that 1% when I do consume dairy products. Usually it's because I didn't plan my meal times well and found myself terribly hungry. When this happens, I give myself the ok. You don't want to starve yourself. You don't want to put unnecessary stress on yourself. So if it happens,  that's ok. Just do better next time (but also have the awareness that you can't always give yourself frequent passes. You still have to be serious.).
  • Don't be so hard on yourself, but do give yourself that hard boundary to never cross -- For me, it's meat. Whatever situation I may find myself in, I told myself that I will never ever consume meat. And aside from the day in December when I had jja jang myun after a full day of basically going hungry, I haven't had meat or meat based broth.
  • Plan well -- The times I find myself in a pinch is mainly when I haven't planned well. That is, I don't eat on time and find myself caught in-between running errands or being busy and I'll end up eating out and eating something meatless but not dairy free. If I stick to my meal times, eat mostly at home or do enough research to find eateries that cater to my needs, I don't find myself slipping up and cutting corners.
  • Don't force your partner/family to go on the journey with you if he/she doesn't want to but ask them to be supportive -- Like I mentioned above, I don't force Yangkyu to eat the way I eat. But he's a good sport in that he will eat anything that I prepare for him for dinner. But I will sometimes add meat and dairy to his food or if he wants it, he'll either ask or add it himself. On days when I don't make him breakfast and lunch to take to work, he'll eat out and eat whatever he wants. We've found a way to make this work for the both us because we both respect each other's choices and we're not jerks about it (no opinionated viewpoints, grade school level jokes or condescending remarks from either side).

I am not sure how and where this journey will take me. So far it's been a positive one (aside from the weird headaches and digestive issues). I'll be checking in again to let you all know where I am a few weeks from now.

Thanks for reading!


  1. It's great that this diet change has resulted in you not craving junk food anymore. I think you hit the nail on the head with not being so hard on yourself, but also having boundary that doesn't get crossed. This can apply no matter what type of diet one follows. We're flexitarian and we try to be very choosy when we do eat meat and try to make sure it's grassfed and/or organic.

  2. So awesome Jane!! Totally agree about not worrying about what others around you are eating either (especially those closest). I know Ben eats meat sometimes and was a huge dairy consumer (milk was his weakness) but in the past few months he decided to just give it up. He said, seeing how easy it was for me, made him want to give it a go (which is amazing!) but if at any moment he wants to go back that will be a-okay too :) I hope your headaches get better!!

  3. I think your tips are great and very positive. I think we are too hard on ourselves when it comes to food. I don't eat red meat, but I do eat chicken and fish at times. You really have to eat what you love or it won't work, we punish ourselves too much and then we binge eat and then feel even worse. Do you drink enough water or other fluids? I used to get headaches if I wasn't drinking enough when I changed my diet. Or sometimes I was just plain hungry, haha!! x

  4. I think you're doing great, Jane! Thank you for your honesty about this food journey. I'm always leery about these articles that talk only about how easy it was to do so and so, and how everything has been positive. For sure, eating healthier is always better, but as you said, the beginning will have its ups and downs.
    Thanks as well for sharing all these tips. It's so important to not be so hard on yourself.:)

  5. I was just talking to my parents about this yesterday - they've been vegetarian for almost three decades now. You do have to find out what works for your body and your lifestyle and it's a constant trial and error. Keep on keeping on - you're keeping track of the right things. If you start to feel bad, your body may be telling you you need something that you're not getting. A dietitian or nutritionist wouldn't be terrible to consult either

  6. I imagine it's quite a heavy change to do, but even more so to go back. Interesting what you said about not actually feeling so good with all the change, and the clense. Be interested to hear what youre feeling like a month or so down the road.

    Buckets & Spades


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