Hi guys! So being that the blog is so new, I am just bursting at the seams with things I want to share. I’m trying to pace myself a bit, but it’s hard! I was trying to think of the questions or comments that I get from most people regarding our lifestyle. One of the most common things that comes up is the question of weight loss.
People want to lose weight. Or, at least they say they do. Sadly, our society has been brainwashed into thinking that its all about calories in vs. calories out, eating less carbs and more lean protein, reducing fat and eating things that are sugar free. You see it everywhere you look in the grocery store…
– Sugar free
– Low fat
– Reduced fat
– Lower sodium
– Low carb
– Meatless (yep, those fake meats are mostly not good for you)
It gives us a sense that we can eat those foods, lose weight and be healthier. If you have ever taken the time to compare a box of regular Oreo Cookies to Reduced Fat Oreo Cookies (Oreos are vegan BTW) you will see that the lower fat version only has 3 less calories than the regular version. However, we will pick up the reduced fat version without even looking at the label thinking that we just made a smarter choice for our treat. When Nabisco came out with SnackWell’s, a line of no-fat and low-fat cookies and crackers, people went crazy and emptied the store shelves, people thought they could eat them until they magically whittled down into a supermodel. Six months later and several pounds heavier, the low-fat fanatics finally realized that these cookies had about only 30 percent fewer calories than regular cookies. See what happens…we trick ourselves into thinking that we can eat these diet versions of “food” and lose weight. What actually ends up happening is we lose a few pounds only to gain it back, plus some, or we ended up gaining weight and feeling depressed, hopeless and sick.
My weight has been high, where it is today, and several places in between. There has been a span of about 15 years from my heaviest at somewhere around 175 pounds (I’m not sure because I never cared and didn’t weigh myself) to the 128 pounds that I weighed this morning. Let me be clear…the number on the scale means NOTHING! This is just to give some examples. Those numbers also include when I was pregnant. I weighed less at 9 months than I did at my heaviest.
At my heaviest between 2002-2005, I was fat and “happy”. I drank a lot wine, ate a lot of meat, didn’t exercise, ate all the carbs I wanted (sourdough bread, bagels, baked potatoes) and was fine with how I looked. The relationship that I was in was comfortable and my partner didn’t care.
When I met my husband in 2006 I was on the Atkins diet, terrified of carbs, fruit, and anything that wasn’t sugar free. I lost a lot of initial weight on Atkins and thought it was the greatest thing in the world because I didn’t have to exercise and I lost 25 lbs in less than 3 months. It stopped there. I was ecstatic because I was no longer a size 14, but a size 8. That was it for me. I could avoid carbs forever, I thought that was my only choice.
After meeting my now husband, I slowly started eating carbs again. I had a bowl of cereal one night and thought it tasted better than any cereal I had ever had. Next it was potatoes, again, best thing ever. Before I knew it I was back to eating sandwiches, bananas, oranges, and all the things I had been avoiding for 2 years. Whats funny is I actually started losing weight again. I was shocked.
Then fast forward, my weight stayed pretty much around 140 or so pounds for awhile. I was working out regularly, mainly cardio, walks with my hunny, etc. I became pregnant with our son in 2011 and was around 137 lbs. During my pregnancy I ate meat, dairy and eggs, gained appx 25lbs . After he was born it took me about 6 months to lose all of it and I was right around 137-141 depending on the day and the amount of indulging I was doing.
Changing to a vegetarian (dairy & eggs still included) lifestyle happened in March of 2013. I lost a few pounds, maybe 5 or so. That was pretty much it. I wasn’t doing it for weight loss, but instead to help my husband get his cholesterol down and adapt a more environmentally friendly and cruelty free life. I honestly didn’t think I would ever be under 135, and that was fine considering where I had started. I actually just accepted that I was at my “best” and that was good enough (again).
Today I feel better than I ever have! My energy is awesome, my health is incredible, my moods and ability to focus are consistently better and I am exercising approximately 30 minutes a day, at home, no more than 4-5 times a week. The body that I have today is more toned than ever and I’m not spending hours in the gym. Is it perfect? Far from it, but I have found balance and confidence. I’m more comfortable in my own skin than I was pre-pregnancy.
So what do we eat?? The million dollar question. It’s actually easier to say what we don’t eat.
-Any animal products. This includes meat of any kind, fish, eggs, dairy and gelatin. There is no exception for me on these foods, except cookies…sometimes I just have to eat the cookie.
-Packaged, processed foods. This includes fake meat (with a couple exceptions, because I’m not perfect, I will do a separate post of the brands that I find acceptable).
-Juice (even 100% juice, its all sugar and no fiber, the whole point of eating fruit), soda and sports drinks. I rarely use my juicer, all my veggies and fruits go into my Vitamix. I get to keep all the fiber and nutrients that way.
-Foods cooked in oil. Fat should come from avocados, nuts and seeds. Occasionally I will use organic flax oil to make a salad dressing but this is very rare. Again, don’t call me a hypocrite if you catch me eating a french fry occasionally. Sometimes its unavoidable 🙂
Other than that we eat everything else. You will always find cooked brown rice, quinoa, and beans of all varieties in my refrigerator. All fruits and veggies-Bananas, apples, grapefruit, blueberries, strawberries (I purchase berries frozen from Costco, buying fresh out of season is not tasty and super expensive) kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, corn, lots of lemons and limes for flavor, cilantro, parsley, lentils, beans, raw oats, unsweetened almond milk, maple syrup, etc. We eat tofu occasionally, mostly tempeh, some edamame (always organic on soy products) but we seriously get all of our nourishment from eating mostly plants and grains.
Maybe the list above seems a little daunting, trying to make meals. If you follow me on Instagram you will always see something bright, colorful, appetizing and down right tasty! From pizza to gyros, enchiladas to lasagna, it’s all good. Ask my husband. He would have never bought into this and stayed with it for 3 years if we were eating “rabbit food”.
Here is the another bonus…I EAT MORE CARBS THAN EVER!!! I love when people say that carbs make them fat. I can promise you that unless you have a thyroid or blood sugar issue carbs will not make you fat AS LONG AS YOU EAT THE RIGHT ONES. Carbs will actually help you lose weight if you do it correctly (it’s simple too).
Remember, this is a journey. It takes time to put weight on. This is not going to make you lose 25 pounds in 3 months (unless it does, than GREAT!) but if you stick with it you will lose weight, be healthy and make a tremendous positive impact on the plant, animals and your overall well being. There are a ton of great books and resources on how to transition to eating Whole Foods Plant Based. It might take eliminating a couple of things at a time. The key is not to wake up and do this cold turkey (unless you are ready, then go for it!) most people need to make small changes so they don’t feel overwhelmed and give up. This is a lifestyle change not a diet. It takes time to get used to and feel comfortable.
We have been programmed our whole lives to think that we won’t be healthy without meat and dairy. Our own doctors aren’t even educated on this. I challenge you to ask your doctor how many hours of nutritional studies they had in medical school. I’m willing to bet it was pretty insignificant. They sure know how to write prescriptions though. Sadly, we haven’t gotten to the place where diet and exercise are prescribed as treatment for things like high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, etc. It’s all about medications, then medications to help balance the medications…vicious cycle. I doubt if you only end up getting prescribed just one. Don’t get me wrong, there are medications that have a place in this world, but diet change should be the first thing prescribed for the above alignments. Sadly, our country is so controlled by greed that we are basically lied to so that big industries can continue to profit, regardless of the countless studies and new information that is coming out…Take this excerpt:
“The pervasive, overriding influence of the meat and dairy lobby at the USDA is so powerful that it is understood that guidelines cannot talk negatively about specific foods,” says Walter Willett, chair of the Harvard School of Public Health’s nutrition department. “Thus, they cannot say that we should eat less red meat, cheese, or butter; instead the guidelines talk abstractly about eating less SOFAS, which only dietitians know means less solid fat and added sugar. (Only) deep in the text of the guidelines, in a footnote, does it say that solid fat is found in meat and dairy products.”
There you have it, just one example. Please take the time to educate yourself, even if you still chose to eat meat and dairy. We are sheep, we do what they tell us to do, and it’s slowly killing us. There are several great Netflix documentaries on this subject, I would start with Plant Pure Nation, then I would watch Fed Up.
How do you start this journey to weight loss, health and feeling amazing? Here is what I would recommend:
-Go to the doctor and get your labs. Have a baseline, know your cholesterol and other markers so that you can measure your internal results.
-Watch Forks over Knives on Netflix or YouTube. There are several other great documentaries to watch, start with that, follow up with the Engine 2 Diet
-Check out http://www.engine2diet.com There are great resources on how to transition slowly or immediately to a whole foods plant based diet. It is also a great place for recipes, a meal plan, shopping guide and other really useful tools.
-Throw away all your “diet” foods. If it says reduced fat, sugar free or diet than get rid of it!
-Get ready to embark on a journey. This is for life, it will be hard at times, frustrating and annoying to people who aren’t on the journey with you. That’s okay. Anything worth having is not easy to obtain. Take one meal at a time. There will be set backs, but it gets easier and easier. I promise. In one week you will feel so different, think about a month or even a year…
Be on the journey to the best version of you, EVER.