The Minimalist Vegan Diet And Active Lifestyle That Helps Me Stay Fit

” You become what you think. You are what you eat.” ~ Barbara Cartland

I had just laughed out loud, when a friend of mine, not very long ago, had shared this quote with me, because the reality was too harsh for me to accept. I loved eating potatoes, so did I look like one? Yikes!

And today, I can’t agree more, only for the fact that, it very clearly and directly emphasizes the control that we can have on our body and mind, only if we intend to. Having said that, shouldn’t this control, just make things work in our favor seamlessly?

I know what you are  thinking – “Hey, it isn’t that simple or easy.”

But, you know what, having been there at some point, I can tell you for sure, it isn’t as complex or difficult either. If you do it, for the right reasons, the conviction to do so, is far higher, and the results that come along in the process can be absolutely overwhelming and unimaginably delightful.

CONVICTION – That’s precisely what has made all the difference in my life. I wasn’t ever chasing weight-loss. If being overweight had been my concern ever, I would have been a fit girl all my life.

So what really triggered the change ?

Nothing fancy here. No thrilling stories to tell. I was just curious and so I made myself aware of why what, and how was I consuming, what I was consuming- not just food but everything – my complete lifestyle. After a lot of research, I just grew deeply concerned about my carbon footprint. Though it worried me to hell, yet I wasn’t really sure if I could really bring about those changes in my life. 

After sitting on the fence with a conflicted mind and heart for about 2 months, I decided to live more compassionately and mindfully. I let go of my casual attitude towards everything that needed some serious attention to be paid to- my health, my extravagant lifestyle and most importantly my carbon footprint. None of it was making me happier anyways.  

May be happiness just comes from being able to give back

I adapted to a sustainable lifestyle by becoming a vegan and a minimalist when I understood what I could give back to the world by doing so in my own little way. This determination naturally manifested into my diet and fitness routine.

Today marks the 180th day of this new life that I had embraced to just be happy. And here I am, living the most beautiful time of my life being the best ( fittest and happiest) version of myself at age 36. 

Why am i telling you all this and not jumping to the diet plan ? 

Because there isn’t any such plan. By the end of this post, if you are expecting a magical solution to your weight loss problems – A crash diet plan, which will help you lose all the extra weight, at all the wrong places on your body,  and make you slim and fit, PLEASE STOP READING FURTHER. Because this article isn’t anything about that. Infact, it’s about bringing in a change that is truly holistic in nature and encompasses through every aspect of our life, and doesnt limit itself to just diet. 

Let me put some things into perspective

A drastic dietary change without the support of a healthy lifestyle will never fetch any sustainable or long-term results. Having said that, though it has just been 6 months, that I have embarked on this journey, it’s never a bad idea to share the experience that I have gathered, with all those of you,  who are willing to make a change in their ways of living, right? 

And that’s why, I have put together everything that has and is helping me to stay fit and happy. Enjoy the ride. Hope you find it helpful. 

Vegan Food 

Being a Vegan, my diet today consists mostly of plants and unprocessed foods. I eat a lot of vegetables. I am particularly very fond of spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts and anything green. They may not taste all that great all the time, but they surely make me feel outstanding at all times. I also eat a handful of nuts, and seeds on most days.

My ideal meal looks something like this – 

  1. One  bowl of raw salad ( with or without vegan salad dressing )/ steamed vegetables ( with salt and vegan butter) / stir-fry vegetables in olive or sunflower oil  (with or without stir fry sauce). I pick up my ingredients from these – broccoli, brussel sprouts, skinned potatoes, onions, lettuce, carrot, beans, cauliflower, zucchini, lentil sprouts, yellow and red bell pepper, cucumber, black chickpeas and seeds ( sesame, pumpkin, chia, sunflower, flax etc)
  2. One serving of  plain white Basmati rice or 2 wheat flour breads( chapatis) with a preparation of lentils ( black, red or yellow) and any curry made with ( soybean chunks, spinach, mixed vegetables, chickpeas, red kidney beans, peas etc)
  3. A handful of nuts – almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts etc.

Food, that the body doesn’t need 

Veganism  helps me to, keep off, of  all kinds of animal products ( yes, dairy and eggs too – no cakes, milkshakes, butter, unless there are vegan alternatives. ) In addition to this, there are quite a few foods I’ve drastically reduced or completely eliminated from my diet-  bread, pasta, sugar, gluten.

Have you ever seen any other animal consuming any processed food? Or, having breastmilk of other mammals? 

Animals derive their nutrition from plants.  Then how does it make any sense for us human, to derive our nutrition from animals by drinking the milk that’s meant for their offsprings or killing them to eat their meat? Sounds illogical right? Or That’s enough a reason for us to start thinking about what we consume( often mindlessly)

I ate fish, chicken, meat, and eggs since birth because I was born in a Bong family. Though I loved the taste of it and always relished eating it, I never cared enough to know about the source of it. It never really got onto me that I was eating dead animals, or drinking the milk of cows who were artificially impregnated, and killed once they couldn’t produce any further milk. My heart cringes, even at the thought of this. I am sure yours too, while you reading it now. So you can imagine how painful it would be for them. 

Now, when I know what is the source of my food, I don’t want to become the cause of killing or hurting more animals so that they become food on my plate. It’s just plain inhuman. 

Isn’t this enough a reason for us to start thinking about what we consume, that too, more often than not, quite mindlessly)?

If you want to know more facts about the dairy and the poultry industry, do read this article, written by Shivya Nath – one of the top travel bloggers in India. This article changed my life. And I can never thank her enough for putting it all out there for others to become aware and take conscious decisions on how they are impacting the environment by making wrong lifestyle choices.

Also read: Turning Vegan – Making a Sustainable Lifestyle Choice To Reduce Carbon Footprint

You might be wondering, how does one then get enough protein, calcium, iron? 

Do read this to know more about Vegan nutrition. You will be surprised to know, how vegan alternatives aren’t alternatives , but are the actual food, meant for us.

Intermittent Fasting

No, it’s not a fad. This has real and numerous health benefits, weight loss being just one of them. I eat two meals a day with light snacks in between, all consumed within an eight-hour window, usually, around 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. I fast during the remaining sixteen hours (8 p.m. to 12 pm), consuming only water, herbal tea, or black coffee during those times. I skip breakfast every day. This is much easier than you may imagine. If you want to lose weight, particularly fat, and boost your metabolism, then intermittent fasting will make a drastic difference in your life. It works on simple mechanics, of the body accessing and breaking down the stored fats which are converted into energy, during the fasting period.

Do I feel hungry, during the fasting hours ? 

Yes, of course, I do. But more often than not it’s my mind speaking on behalf of my body ( if you know what I am saying ;))

Intermittent Fasting Routine has just simplified the way I  look at food. Food is not a source of entertainment, but a need. And it’s a serious matter. No, that doesn’t imply, that I love my food any lesser.  In fact, I am happy to call myself a Vegan foodie who, very mindfully eats 2 healthy and tasty meals a day.This restricted routine, helps me keep the late night bingeing on unhealthy food at bay, choose the best of what is available to eat to keep up with the nutrition, and also squeeze in all that tastes great and makes me feel good as well. 

What to expect in the first week of Intermittent Fasting ?

Getting on a fasting routine may have a few side effects with your sugar levels going down and your body adapting to it. I  particularly had several bouts of very abrupt emotional outbursts in the first week, which actually drove me nuts :). And it did happen again whenever I took a long break from the routine during my travels. But once I settle back in, it works wonders for me. 

Click here, to learn more about Intermittent Fasting.

Water, Liquids, and Juice

Quoting Joshua Fields Millburn ( He inspired me to live as a minimalist and take up intermittent fasting routine) from  ” The Minimalists” here – ” I drink roughly half my body weight in ounces of water each day. I weigh 165-ish pounds, so I drink 80–90 ounces of water per day.” That’s exactly how much water we need to drink.

Click here, to know, how drinking water through the day can help you stay fit in a variety of ways. 

I don’t particularly drink a lot of vegetables or fruit( they have very high levels of sugar)  juices unless I am traveling, but you can choose to have it, with less or no sugar.

Did you know that fruit juices are loaded with sugar ? Click here to know more.

I drink black coffee, green tea or Indian chai made with almond milk ( It doesn’t taste as bad as it may sound. At least not having the breastmilk of another mammal, is a lot more satisfying feeling than the taste of the tea itself.)

Supplements

Taking supplements to compensate for the nutrition is quite normal. However, I haven’t done that yet. I don’t take any supplements for which I consult my GP and get my blood work done every 90 days to keep my overall health under check.  Unless there is a particular nutrient deficiency or you think your food otherwise may not be sufficient for all the nutrition you need, you may consider this option, only after consulting a doctor or a nutritionist.

The medication I am on currently are for high TSH( hypothyroidism- have it since last 12 years), iron, magnesium ( i had slight leg cramps issue a few months back) and vitamin D( because we don’t get enough sun exposure in winters on this part of the world). 

Exercise

I try to exercise( in any form) almost every day, whether it’s a mild or a brisk walk, stretching, yoga, running or just dancing with my little one. Even if you do any form of exercise, atleast for 30 minutes,  just thrice a week, it’s sufficient. Being a stay at home mum, it’s nearly impossible for me to put in a lot of effort into maintaining an exercise routine. So, I just do whatever seems possible and follow the fitness hacks – walking, climbing stairs, meditating, deep breathing, stretching as much as, whenever and wherever possible.

But of all that I do, running is the most rewarding and is also the most effective form of exercise for weight loss. In fact, training for a timed race can really go a long way in helping you to stay fit. 

How can running help you lose weight ?

Sleep

They say, with a sustainable diet and exercise, your body needs lesser sleep. I am yet to reach there. In fact, I am struggling quite a bit to improve on my sleep( i deliberately keep myself awake once my daughter goes to bed to work or read). And it’s a habit that I need to break, like, right now :).

Just remember one thing, however bad your sleep is, maintaining a sleep deficit is absolutely unhealthy. So, understand the needs of your body. Take rest when it’s most needed. Infact, if taken lightly, it would undo all the effort that you take for weight loss. Read more.

Does this diet and lifestyle, sound way too serious and  boring to you ? 

Well, the truth is that these basic needs of humans, which are just needs, over the centuries, have been rechristened as cool and entertaining. No, it’s not. Being healthy is the prime most requirement of the body and mind, and the first step in the right direction towards living a meaningful life. 

Does that mean whatever I have shared will also work for you? Yes and No.

You can find that yourself by testing it out completely or parts of it, and see what aspects work for you. See how those changes make you feel, and then adjust accordingly. What has worked for me, may or may not work for you.

If you research well, you may stumble upon many articles which talk about the negatives of IF. And that’s why, you must always experiment and see how does any kind of change make you feel, alongside consulting your GP to keep your vitals under check under all circumstances. 

This article is not intended, to persuade anyone to follow my lifestyle. What I share here is completely based on my personal experience. There are no fixed formulae to weight loss or to stay fit. Everyone is different and so are their bodies.

What’s more important is that we become more aware of our physical existence – body functioning and the impact of our consumption on the environment. It’s important that we give it the respect, time and resources that it truly deserves.

In the end, what matters is – how you feel. And you deserve to feel not just okay, but outstanding. Any lifestyle change that you make, it should just help you get closer to this goal, one step at a time. 

Did you find this article helpful? Do you want to recieve more such stories in your inbox ? Do subscribe to this blog. Its free 🙂

If you have any further queries, regarding any of the aspects discussed above, please feel free to drop a comment here, or DM me at tanushree.h.m@gmail.com

If you want to know how I am doing some super simple stuffs to reduce my carbon foot print. Read it here

If you want to know more about the minimalistic way of living. You can read it here.

If you are interested to know more about us, you can read here.

Follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Flickr to see more of our travel experiences in and around Europe.

Please leave a comment about what you feel about the above post. Would love to hear back from you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.