I also failed to record body composition measures. I saw no change, unsurprisingly, and allowed my family members to check this themselves and self-report. They didn't seem comfortable doing circumference measurements, so I refrained from doing that. In my own HCLF challenge I will be sure to record all of these measures. :)
Below are my family's answers to some follow-up questions, with my comments in italics.
1. With the exception of whatever was agreed upon initially (i.e. eggs), how would you rate your confidence [1 being not at all confident, 10 being extremely confident] in your ability to independently follow a vegan diet? Take into account the purchase of convenience products and recipes.
Cameron: Probably a 6. I already don't cook, and could not find myself cooking anything vegan. I think I can give myself a 6 only because a vegan diet has many substitution products, so even making something like vegan grilled cheese wouldn't be hard to purchase for or cook.
I find this very encouraging! Honestly, going into this I did not expect that my dad would be the toughest to sway. Even so, they are all realizing their potential ability to make a lifestyle change!
2. What was your level of enjoyment of these foods on a scale of 1-10 [10 being extremely enjoyable]? What were your favorite meals/snacks?
Papa: 7 Hard to say what my favorite was. I liked most of them but not all.
Mama: 8 – chicken salad, Beast burger, homemade burger, tacos, quesadilla, Asian stir-fry, pita pockets
Cameron: 8. I really liked all of the meals cooked for me, but I still missed having real cheese. My favorite meal was probably the thai sweet potato pitas.
Kevin: 7, I had no problem with vegan lunches such as dates and fig bars, but the dinners were either great or they were lacking something, specifically the meat substitutes didn't compare to the real thing.
I didn't hit it out of the park with every meal. But as you can see, my mom and Cam really enjoyed almost everything! It really comes down to a matter of taste and preference. There is no question that it is possible to eat delicious food on a vegan diet.
3. What animal products did you miss most?
Papa: Some dishes you're just used to having an animal product. whether it was fish, beef or chicken
Mama: Tuna, salmon, steak & chicken
Kevin: I missed having meat in burgers and having pastries with butter and other dairy in them.
Sure, these are the things they missed, but they are also things they'd be willing to do without the majority of the time! It is the same as me saying that I miss eggs, greek yogurt, goat cheese, or brie. I fare just fine without them. :)
4. In returning to your regular diet, what changes might you want to/be willing to make? Would you be willing to limit your meat and dairy consumption from your original baseline values? If so, how many days or meals per week would you be willing to go without meat? Without dairy?
Papa: I can do this a few nights a week. I will have some dairy even on a limited basis.
Mama: 4 or 5 vegan dinners a week, interspersed with a couple of real meat dinners. I don’t consume much dairy at all (unless I take pills for it) so it’s already very limited.
Cameron: I could do 3 or 4 meals a week without meat or dairy easy. Just making meat and/or dairy an "every-other-day" sort of thing would be easy. I don't think I'd ever cut them out completely.
Kevin: I'd be fine with vegan for the most part depending on the meal since some things are better with the actual meat. When I'm out with friends however i would try to eat better depending on the offerings. I'll limit intake of dairy and meat but only when i'm allotted the days to do so unless customary traditions such as meet-ups at burger joints with friends dictates otherwise.
Yahoo!! See?! This is not an outrageous thing to ask of your family, friends, or significant other. I have never encountered someone who would not eat the food I made simply because it was without animal products. And in the week following the end of this challenge, my family has enjoyed more vegan and vegetarian meals.
5. Did you notice any changes in your weight, the way your clothes fit, your energy levels, your quality of sleep, focus/mental clarity, etc?
Papa: I did notice I dropped a little weight (≈ 3lbs) but no change in energy
Mama: I stayed on the low end of the 3-pound fluctuation I normally have, but think a lot of it has to do with increased exercise in the form of volunteer work I began in July, 7-8 hours per week. Clothing – no. Energy level – no. Quality of sleep – no. Focus/mental clarity – no.
Cameron: I didn't notice any changes in energy/fit of clothes/sleep/clarity. Those all seemed the same. I did lose some weight from the diet, which I attribute to suddenly being unable to gorge myself on candy all the time before dinner.
So it sounds as though there were some slight decreases in weight. Which is great! None of them felt deprived and this weight loss should be gradual.
6. Any parting thoughts not covered by these answers?
Mama: I was hungry more often and it seemed like I was consuming more calories than typical.
Regarding my mom's comment, it is definitely possible that she was taking in more calories. I would attribute her feeling more hungry to the fact that she sometimes limited her portions based on the fact that she thought the calories were higher. The beautiful thing about the vegan diet is that your can self-regulate without counting calories! As she said in question 5, her weight dropped to the low-end of her usual fluctuation and stayed there.
You can become more attune to what your body wants and needs. I tend to eat about 5 good-sized meals a day. I eat until I am full, but it doesn't leave me with the same heavy feeling as a meat and dairy-laden meal. The only reason I track my food in MyFitnessPal is for my macronutrient balance. Without that subtle reminder I would take in more fat than I currently want to.