How I have decided to change the way I eat as a part of this journey, and hopefully for the rest of my life, would be considered pretty drastic and/or extreme by many. Quite frankly if you told me a year ago that I would be giving this a try I would have said you are crazy, that’s impossible, and not for the reasons some of you may be thinking.
I have no intention of starving myself, constantly counting calories, eliminating carbs or feeling hungry all the time. I have done all of that before and I was miserable! Sure I lost weight but most of the time I was what do they call it now…hangry (thats hungry+angry if you are not up with the lingo). Those methods just weren’t sustainable for me.
The most sustainable success I have had in the past and basically what kept me at a reasonable weight for the past few years prior to having my daughter was following a clean eating lifestyle for the majority of my meals and snacks. No calorie counting or starving, just eating when I was hungry and mostly fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats, low or non-fat dairy and cutting out the processed and junk food (90% of the time anyway). My main original resource for transitioning to a clean eating lifestyle was “The Eat-Clean Diet” books by Tosca Reno. One of the most interesting things I learned from Tosca’s books was that what your body looks like is 80% nutrition, 10% training and 10% genes. That blew my mind! It made me really see how important nutrition actually is in determining how I look and that if I wasn’t going to be moving my body on any given day for whatever reason I don’t need to feel so guilty about I just need to keep my eating on track.
Although successful in the past with this way of eating I am changing things up a bit. Seeing my life flash before my eyes during my illness (stay tuned for a blog post on this very soon) lit a big fire in me that I need to do more to really take care of my health. Not that I could have ever prevented what happened to me but being so sick and in the hospital SUCKED. I don’t ever want to be back there for something I could have possibly prevented if I had just changed the way I fuel my body.
So all that being said, the big change is that I have switched to a whole foods plant based diet. Still essentially a clean eating lifestyle but no longer consuming animal products or products that contain animal products (even lean or low fat). I did not come to this decision quickly or take it lightly. My husband and I did so much reading and research. We read books, articles and research studies, watched documentaries and followed people living this lifestyle on their blogs and youtube channels. For us personally we just kept coming to this same conclusion time after time, for the sake of our health we need to try to eliminate the animal products from our diets the majority of the time if not entirely.
For anyone interested in doing their own research on plant based diets and the benefits of eating this way some of the mainstream resources I found very helpful were:
- Dr. John McDougall (both his book “The Starch Solution” and his website which has tons of information and free recipes “www.drmcdougall.com”)
- Forks Over Knives (both a book and a documentary which I believe is on netflix)
- Dr. Joel Fuhrman (both his book “Eat to Live” and his website “www.drfuhrman.com”)
- Dr. Esselstyn (www.dresselstyn.com)
- Other documentaries “Hungry for Change” and “Food Matters”
I understand that not eating animal products is still a really hot button issue out there today for many people and for many reasons so please don’t feel like I am criticizing or judging anyone who doesn’t agree with me on this. I get that what we eat and why is a very personal choice that is our own to make. This has not been a super easy transition and I am sure it will present plenty more challenges on the road ahead for various reasons.
So to avoid making this just one massive brain dump of a post, since I have a lot more to say about this before I just leave it to mostly what I am eating, cooking and baking type posts when talking about my diet, I have decided to break it up into a few parts to keep it a bit more organized. In part 2 of this 3 part series I will talk more about the challenges and successes I have encountered so far on a plant based diet and what I predict might be some challenges in the future. Then finally in part 3 of 3 of the series I will talk more about the Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall, how I came across it, and why it really spoke to me as the more specific version of a plant based diet that I feel fits me personally and will be most sustainable for me over the long term.
So anyway please bare with me on this, stay tuned for more posts to come very shortly and I promise they won’t all be weightloss and diet related!
Until next time,