The title of this blog post is a bit misleading. I’ve actually gone more than 30 days without eating veggies (more like 60 days), but that’s neither here nor there.
If you would have told me several years or even several months ago that the human body could survive just fine without vegetables, I would have vigorously debated the issue. After all, we need the fiber in veggies to poop. Not only that, without veggies or fruit, how will we get enough vitamin C?
Why Did I Drop Veggies for 30 Days?
I did it because I could. I’m a grown woman and can choose to modify my way of eating any way I want at any time. The real reason is that I decided to up the keto equation. I’ve been pretty much keto for the past year or so and have been reading about folks who took keto to a whole new level. Actually, they call themselves carnivores or zero carb eaters. Some folks call it a diet, but I prefer to call it a way of eating.
Quite some time ago I gave up processed foods, sugar, grains, bread and pasta. Having done that, giving up veggies wasn’t too difficult. I decided to try it for 30 days to see how my body would react. I was pleasantly surprised. Here are a few things I noticed after a few weeks of being veggie free (caveat: I did eat onions and mushrooms):
- No more stomach bloating
- No digestive distress
- Even better sleep (this from a person who does not have sleep problems)
- Mental clarity
- A sense of calm. Fewer things irritated me.
- Flatter stomach (I don’t own a scale so I can’t say if I’ve lost weight)
- Increased Energy
What Did I Eat?
I had a wonderful array of steaks, burgers, meatloaf, meatballs, chicken, pork, goat, liver, bacon, farm-fresh eggs, salmon, mackerel, shrimp, scallops, assorted cheeses, and on occasion, nuts. I also had plenty of butter and coconut oil. On those occasions when I wanted something “bready,” I made pancakes or bread using ground almonds as flour. I also made lasagna using thinly sliced ham instead of pasta noodles. With such meals, I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. I’m also fortunate in that I’ve got plenty of sustainable farms in my area so I can get grass fed/grass finished meats.
My only concern with dropping veggies was what it would do to my gut flora. By dropping veggies, I’m sure my microbiome changed. As such, early in my veggie-less journey, I prepared a batch of fermented sauerkraut to consume when I resumed eating vegetables. I had a small serving along with my first veggie meal of string beans and chicken. All was well.
What Did I Drink?
I drank what I always drink.
- Wine – My favorite is Bonterra Chardonnay.
The Vitamin C Issue
From what I’ve read, the molecular structure of vitamin C is very similar to the molecular structure of glucose. As such, when eating the usual standard American sugary diet, glucose seems to get the upper hand when it comes to vitamin C vs. glucose absorption. As a result, the body doesn’t absorb as much vitamin C. Succinctly stated: “elevated glucose restricts vitamin C from entering cells…” Source: The Paleo Mom.com – 5 Nutrients You’re Deficient in if You Eat Too Much Sugar.
Going Back to No Veggies
While I do enjoy vegetables, I think I enjoy what not eating them does for me more than what eating them does. When I didn’t eat vegetables I did not suffer from excess gas, stomach bloat, (next is rather graphic), watery or explosive stools. My digestion improved and so did my bathroom visits. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need vegetables in order to poop.
I’ve found that eating meals of meat and fat kept me satiated. As a result, I ate fewer meals. Some days I ate only one meal a day. Often I would go 24 hours between meals because I wasn’t hungry. Since I pretty much cook from scratch 99% of the time, this freed up quite a bit of time in my day.
Given the opportunity to eat anything I want, I find that I naturally gravitate towards veggie-less meals. Don’t get me wrong, I do eat veggies on occasion (after all I do have an organic garden), but my vegetable consumption has dropped significantly. I’m not what some would call a “carnivore” or a “zero carber.” I still use herbs, seasonings and items such as tomato paste and hot sauce (hard to make lasagna without it). I’d rather not put a label on my dietary preferences. I just know that lately, my meals are meat dominant rather than vegetable dominant.
Don’t Do It
I’m writing this post to share my experience with very low carb eating. I’m a mature woman in good health. I don’t have high blood pressure, diabetes or any other chronic illness. I decided to give this way of eating a try. What works for me may not work for you, so please do not misconstrue this post as encouragement to do what I did. Use it anecdotally when doing your dietary research.