I briefly, and quite frankly out of nowhere, mentioned in my last post that I have adopted a plant based, whole foods diet. Meaning, I’m eating food only derived from plants. Vegetables, fruit, tubers, legumes, seeds, and nuts. I am not consuming anything that comes from an animal. Meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. So, in other words it is a vegan diet.
However, it is not a “junk food vegan diet.” More whole foods. I am minimizing my intake of processed foods and I’m decreasing my use of oil. So, I will still occasionally have food that is minimally processed (if it is vegan) and a little organic extra virgin olive oil here and there. A girl has to have some treats.
Over the past few years my diet has evolved drastically. Before I began running and competing in triathlons, 2012 and first few months of 2013, I was consuming more than my share of fast food, processed crap, and desserts. It still had a pretty well-rounded diet for the standard American. I ate vegetables and fruit, but I could have had more. Once I made the commitment to race in my first sprint triathlon I began cutting down on desserts (ice cream especially), bread, fried food, snacky junk food, and eating out. I began eating consciously, recognizing when I was full and taking a deeper look into what I was putting into my body. I started loading up on more veggies and fruits and I was drinking a heck of a lot more water and I began drinking green tea as well. Every morning I would prepare my food for a full day at work. With the high demands of training, I needed to be fueled well.
At first, it was so hard. I would have cravings for different fast food joints, but I would resist those cravings and opt to have a well-balanced home cooked meal instead. I knew those types of foods did not make me feel good, my body was not a happy camper afterwards, so it became easier to say no. By the time triathlon seasoned ended I dropped 20 pounds and was in great shape.
Rolling into 2014 I continued to refine my diet to a more whole food approach. And unknowingly I was slowly reducing the amount of meat and dairy I was consuming. I tended to not cook meat because I did not enjoy to. There were too many complications. You needed to be aware of cross contamination, if it was cooked all the way through, but not overcooked, and just handling the meat grossed me out. I only ate meat if it was prepared for me, but then I soon saw myself not wanting any altogether, but had some anyways to be polite. What I was craving however was vegetables, all the vegetables. I was always excited to load my plate with veggies. I’m huge on sweet potatoes too. My body just felt so good after consuming these high vibrational foods. I was left feeling full and satisfied, but not overloaded, sleepy, or lethargic.
At first, I have to admit, I was concerned that I wasn’t eating enough meat or dairy. I thought I needed these foods for my protein and calcium. Yeah, completely wrong there. There are so many plant based foods that provide protein and calcium, but from a young age, society tells you different. We are bombarded with campaigns for milk and millions of commercials and ads telling us what products to buy. We have been brainwashed.
The thought of completely eliminating food from animals was creeping into my mind the past few months. I slowly kept leaning into the idea. However, I was questioning would I be able to go on without milk, eggs, and my beloved greek yogurt (despite the uncomfortable bloating I got after eating it)? No more ice cream or cookies? No more juicy burgers!? I am the burger girl! I was still holding on to these foods because I had an emotional attachment to them. They are what I know, what I am comfortable with. However, there are many alternatives, which are both healthy for me and better for the world. And in reality, I rarely have burgers anymore. There are more than enough vegan sweets and treats out there as well, if ever the craving strikes.
So, I began researching, and while this idea of going vegan was rolling around in my head, I was introduced to Rich Roll’s podcast. This recommendation really could not have come at a better time. After listening to a few of his podcast interviews and learning his story, it solidified my decision to go plant based. I of course then watched Forks Over Knives and bought a slew of books all exemplifying the benefits of this diet. It all began to click in my mind; there really is no other option for me.
I still have a ton to learn and I am eager to. Life is a journey and we are always progressing forward. I am moving forward at a pace I am comfortable, but I find myself becoming more aware and conscious of all the products I use and the effect they have on the environment and animals. For example, I have begun eliminating personal care products that are not animal friendly. Before I chose to go vegan I honestly was just not aware of what I was buying and the effect my choices had.
In summary, I am plant based because it is what makes me feel the best, there have also been many studies and findings that this type of diet is extremely healthy and it has the power to reverse diseases, but I have also chosen to live my life this way because I want to show compassion for this earth and the animals that also inhabit it.
A quick mention on alcohol, this is not something I consume. I eliminated this well over a year ago and it was really the best decision I made. Drinking never had any benefit in my life. It always left me feeling blah, for lack of a better word.
It has been about two and a half weeks since becoming plant based and I am loving the change. I am very new to this lifestyle so I am excited to learn more, but I have been cooking up some great dishes and I have many more that I want to create.
I never thought I would make this decision, but it has already made a positive impact in my life and I am truly grateful.