Hooray, the vegetarian 100 days challenge is over! Can you believe it, 100 days had gone so fast?
In this final week, I’ll share some of my important lessons learned, challenges, the unexpected discovery through this diet and why you should challenge yourself to fight food cravings.
First, thank you to those of you who have been following my blog thread of the vegetarian 100 days challenge.
Just a friendly reminder why I started it in the first place here is week 1.
- FEELING GROSS OUT when smelling raw meat
- PERSONAL CHALLENGE
- DETOX THE BODY
FIRST MEAL AFTER THE CHALLENGE WAS OVER:
Can you guess the first thing I ate the day after the vegetarian 100 days challenge was done? If you’ve been following my blog, you already know. FISH!
Mom made sour pumpkins flowers and young vines (Kabocha) with fish. It’s one of the simplest dish and considered to be poor people food in Cambodia. Here in America, there is no Kabocha flowers and vines are being sold at the market. When they do, it’s rare and tend to be expensive. Growing them ourselves serves the pleasure to our eyes and the taste buds.
When people find out we grow them, the expression we get is, “Wow, I cannot believe you grow them. I’ve been craving for it for years. Please let me have some.”
It’s been three days now since I’m done the challenge. I’m not comfortable eating meat. It feels strange.
To my surprise, I had full energy while eating on vegetable only. I didn’t expect it. I thought I would be so tired. I thought the meat is the main fuel to my energy and body.
Up to 90 days into the challenge, I gained weight a few pounds due to eating too much sweets and eating too often than I usually did.
During the last week of the challenge, I didn’t feel hungry. So I ate less. I lost all the weight and am back to the same weight when I began the challenge.
My body feels light and cleansed.
Do you love foods?
Are you a strong mind with strong will person?
Have you put your mind to test when it comes to food?
I thought I’ve a strong mind before starting the challenge. I’m one of those people who will persevere and persistent to overcome challenges in order to reach my end goals.
Having said that, going through the vegetarian challenge, I’d put myself up against the toughest challenge I’ve ever done in a long time.
Ninety percent of the people I talked with said they couldn’t be a vegetarian, not even for one day.
I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn’t realize the level of difficulty until I was in mist of it all. These I found to be the major challenges:
1. Mind controlling – Can you control your craving for food or anything desires for that matter?
If you can control food craving, it shows that you have stronger ability and stamina to overcome barriers/challenges in many areas.
The mind is extremely hard to control, especially when adapting to a new habit. It persistently resists the changes/challenges. It’s like a child. If you continue to give a child a candy every single time that child wants a candy, she/he won’t stop until she gets her way. The first five times or so when you tell her she can’t have a candy, she’ll show defiance attitude. Until she finally gets the message that no matter how hard she cries, she won’t it.
I find the mind works similarly. It’s SUPER difficult. It’s doable if you persist.
2. Social gathering/events – There were too many events which involved with eating that I had to attend. When you are the minority at a social gathering who don’t eat meat, it can be a really test for your endurance. You might feel out of place.
The temptation to give up and join other carnivores’ peers was real. Even worse when there were my favorite foods were all over the places. All I could do was smell and looked at them. Do you have any idea how torturing that is?
3. Food Craving – I had craving for Cambodian fish dishes. My Mom is an old school cook. We are spoiled to have fresh, gourmet and authentic Cambodian meal daily. During the first 60 days, I’d a really tough time keeping my hands off her cooking.
Some programs or people claim it takes 21 days to break a habit. 21 days were not even scratch the surface for me when it comes to food. It was more like 21 times 3 at least. The key is for you to understand and know yourself.
It takes you longer that so and so said so, they are not YOU. We are built and wire differently.
4. Unsatisfying meal – In the beginning, each vegetarian meal I ate, I didn’t feel satisfied. I got hungry two hours after I ate. So I ate at least 5 times a day than I normally ate, 3 times a day. That annoyed the heck out of me.
On top of that, I began to eat more sweets. I noticed I started to have sweet-tooth which led to gaining a few pounds. Gaining the weight was not my concern because I want to gain healthy weight. There’s more about the weight later.
As you may know sugar and meat are two major coperates contribute to the long term diseases such as diabetes and heart related diseases. So I cut out eating too much sugar.
5. When you have number 1 through 5 combined, the real challenge begins.
WHICH DESIRE IS THE STRONGEST AND MOST POWERFUL HUMAN DRIVE?
You might say sexuality is the strongest and the most powerful human drive. You are not alone.
Here is an except from a must read book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill:
“THE meaning of the word “transmute” is, in simple language, “the changing, or transferring of one element, or form of energy, into another.”
The emotion of sex brings into being a state of mind.
Because of ignorance on the subject, this state of mind is generally associated with the physical, and because of improper influences, to which most people have been subjected, in acquiring knowledge of sex, things essentially physical have highly biased the mind.
The emotion of sex has back of it the possibility of three constructive potentialities, they are:–
1. The perpetuation of mankind.
2. The maintenance of health, (as a therapeutic agency, it has no equal).
3. The transformation of mediocrity into genius through transmutation.
Sex transmutation is simple and easily explained. It means the switching of the mind from thoughts of physical expression, to thoughts of some other nature.
Sex desire is the most powerful of human desires.”
Craving for food is the most powerful of human desires in personally experiences. First, you must eat before you can do anything else.
Pumpkin flowers (Kabocha) and vines from our backyard.
Are you still not convinced?
Imagine you are lost in a desert. It’s extremely hot during day and cold at night. There is no body around, except you. You’ve not eaten or had a drop of water for seven days. You can be dead at any given time.
All of sudden, there is a beautiful woman of your dream (or a handsome man of your dream) appears right in front of you. She offers two options. Once you make your decision, it’s permanent. You can only choose one of the following two choices:
1. You get to have her, nothing else. You still won’t get food and drinks. You can be dead at any time.
2. You get food and water; the beauty queen is excluded.
What is your decision?
EXPECTED THE UNEXPECTED:
First, because I always like seafood, I thought I would be craving for it. It turned out, I didn’t miss it. I missed fish dishes prepared in Cambodian styles more than any kind of foods.
I didn’t have craving for red or white meat. Fried chicken was the only thing I thought of if anything at all.
Second, at first, I didn’t want to share this thinking that you might think it’s voodoo stuff. Let me be clear with you that it’s NOT.
A few years back, I met a Buddhist vegetarian lady. Every time I met her, she always told me not to eat too much meat. It’s best if I don’t eat meat at all. She said before they slutter the animals to be sold for our meals, the animals are very scar and fearful. So when you eat meat, you could feel nervous, warm, anger among others inside of you.
I can picture the animals are running for their lives when eating meat.
Can you imagine if you are being hunted for someone else meal? You would be running for your life and scare to death too, right?
Her voice has always been on my head when I eat meat. So when I’m doing the challenge, I didn’t have to think of the animals.
I believe I’m a calm person generally, and my friends told me so too. However, as the time went on during the challenge, I have this feeling of totally at peace and calmness. I experienced this a long time ago, but it wasn’t frequently.
Everything seems to be in alignment and in the perfect harmony moment. My mine is clear, focus and sharp. I believe it’s the combination of a lot of things I’ve been practicing daily for over many years. Then doing the vegetarian challenge could push it to the next level.
Have you felt that calmness feeling? Some people told me it’s the enlightenment. I don’t know how it feels like, so I can’t say that it is.
Could it be because I’m paying attention more to my own emotions now than before?
Or is it because I was able to control my ranging mind craving for food?
I do not know what it is exactly and how to explain the feelings to you. If you’ve experienced it, then you’d understand me. There were few people I shared this info with and they knew exactly.
Last of unexpected experience is that I thought vegetables are so plain and boring without any flavor. Normally, I like vegetables more than meat. I was under the impression that meat is the ultimate flavor enhancer all these years. Fresh home grown vegetables is amazingly flavorful.
The mind is not something anyone can be easily mess around with.
Bad habits are easily be adapted, but they are very difficult to break once they attaches to us. Or it’s more like we’re attached to IT.
Do we control our mind or our mind control us?
During the first 60 days of the challenge, I struggled to control my mind. Here is an example. French fried is one of my favorites junk food. When I see French fried, I say to myself, I’m just going to have a few pieces. Then, just one more piece, oh just another…until they are gone!
If you’re a French fried junkie, you know what I’m talking about, right?
Who do we blame? Do we blame our mind, ourselves or the person who offer fries to us?
Just like a healthy onion which consists of many layers, our mind is similar. However, unlike the onion which we cut in half and get to the core, we cannot get straight to our mind.
No, there’s no cheating or short cut when it comes to the mind controlling. You need to pill the outer layer first before getting to the core – The mind. Understanding yourself is the key.
The complexity to understand the mind cannot be easily understand. But it’s simple once you’re decluttered so many layers of clutters which we accumulated over our life time.
You can be trained to achieve almost anything in your life. How long does it take? It’s depending on you how deep you want to get in touch with your mind.
Just like when you want to learn something new or when you train a child, there are disciplinary and rules to follow. Break down bad habits before developing a new good one. Determination and persistent until you’re successfully achieve your goals.
You should be prepared to be a tough teacher and obedient student. If you break or skip any rules, then the consequences can range from failure to reach your goals to disappointment of emotions, blame, regrets and so on.
Will you allow your mind to be trained by you?
Did I achieve what I was set to achieve? Yes, I did and more…
Knowing what I know now that it was so difficult before I could gain the control of my temptations for food craving, would I still do the challenge?
Yes! The next time around will be easier because I know some of the mind game.
I’m glad to complete challenge. I wanted to test my tolerate craving for food combined with the state of mind.
The challenge gives me a chance to experience food craving when I’ve so many options to choose for my next meal. As it was oppose to during a time when I was starving as I shared some stories in my first book.
Both challenges tested my mental state at its highest that I won’t know otherwise. This time around, I get in touch and understand my emotions and mind better.
It serves as a good reminder that I need to apply my simple yet powerful SBCIA strategy.
Not every person knows, however, that over indulgence in anything may become a habit as destructive and as detrimental to the livelihood as narcotics.
Food is a form of narcotics and poisons.
It might be just a small bite. But every bite adds up. Just like a grain of rice…Grain by grain amounts to tons of rice.
You have the power to choose what you consume daily. Choose wisely. Having good health, you are rich!
WHAT IS NEXT?
Have you reached your achievement or milestone at any given time in your life? You say to yourself, “I cannot believe it that I made it! Yes, I did it!”
In away, I’m glad that it’s done and over with. Now I can have a closure to that chapter and move on to the next great things in life.
I’ll be eating less meat, in moderation.
You might want to read the rest of my The Vegetarian 100 days challenge weekly post if you haven’t read them yet. In the search field on this blog, type “week 1”, “week 2” or whatever week you want to read. You should get the result for your search and click on it to read.
What is the one habit that you’ve been wanted to adopt, but you haven’t done it yet?
Do not wait as you may not have the time to do anything later.
Now is a good time to change while you can and have the control over it.