Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I hope none of you got pranked by some lame April Fool’s joke 😉 Last night we celebrated my Dad’s birthday, so that was a good time. Saturday night I was solo, as hubby had hockey, so I finally got around to watching Forks Over Knives.
I knew it was a movie about living a vegan lifestyle, but I honestly thought the movie was going to be more about animal cruelty and what’s”really” in our food. I hate seeing that sort of stuff, so that’s why I put off seeing it for so long.
I was happy that it wasn’t about that at all! It was about research done all around the world about nutrition preventing disease. What they determined was, sticking to a plant based diet (vegan, as they recommend no dairy, eggs or fish either) is what can prevent or reverse diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes to name a few.
Cancer is a BIG concern for me, considering my otherwise healthy mother died of colorectal cancer at only 60 years old. My dad’s side of the family has high blood pressure and diabetes (but that was due to being overweight).
I have been vegetarian on and off throughout my life, so I’m no stranger to that lifestyle. I’ve been vegan too, as when I was a teenager, I had a lot of food intolerances, so it was for dietary reasons.
In more recent years, I’ve stuck to a higher protein diet (but very little red meat and pork), and that was primarily because it was introduced to me when I got more involved in fitness and competing. I must admit, when in contest prep mode, the amount of chicken and fish I was eating didn’t seem all that healthy to me. It was way more than I’ve ever consumed. Constipation almost became and issue, and I could just tell my body was so acidic. But you’re programed to think that you need the protein to get lean, but I’m now learning that its totally not the case. Given, if you are vegetarian or vegan, you have to watch your diet very closely to make sure you’re getting enough protein, and calories in general. There are quite a few vegan athletes and body builders out there, so it is possible, but I just never knew that might apply to me.
In the movie it talked about a low-fat plant based diet. I’m not sure I agree with that 100%. I still think people are much too afraid of fat. Naturally, a plant based diet will be naturally lower fat as you won’t get the saturated fat from animal products. But avoiding nuts and things like coconut oil? I don’t think those should be avoided. Fats are great for balancing blood sugar, and for the satiating effect. The low-fat approach has gotten society into big problems. Fat is generally replaced with sugar in various foods, and I firmly believe that a low-sugar lifestyle is a far better approach than low-fat.
Why I Stopped Being Vegetarian
The reason I opted out of the vegetarian lifestyle in my early 20’s was because I didn’t feel good on it. I think it was the kind of food I was eating. A lot more grains than normal, and a lot of the processed vegetarian meat products. I later realized I was sensitive to wheat, and all those products are filled with wheat gluten! I also don’t think I’m that good with soy. I need to test it out again. I could easily eliminate dairy, aside from whey, as I don’t have much of it anyway, and I use almond milk as an alternative. Eggs. I’m not sure I could be without them, especially if soy wasn’t agreeing with me. I could only eat so many beans, ya know?
I’ve also been doing a lot of reading on Paleo style of eating for close to a year now. Its heavily meat based, but with no grains or dairy. Cutting out all grains would be very tough for me, and I wouldn’t want to rely on red meat and pork. Red meat doesn’t digest well with me, and I always end up with stomach cramps during the night if I have it.
Brent and I did follow a grain-free diet for close to 2 weeks last year, and we both felt great on it. But then again, we pretty much stick to shrimp, fish, chicken & turkey only.
What’s the Answer?
For me, I’m not sure, and now seeing that movie really has me thinking! During this pregnancy, I’ve naturally been eating a plant-based diet as meat has been really turning me off. Eating more beans, I’m definitely noticing I’m even more regular with all the extra fiber, so that can’t be a bad thing!
In my mind, I’m always thinking about what my nutrition plan will be post-pregnancy to get back in shape. My focus is going to be getting lean, but not ultra-lean. Something I can maintain. Similar to how I looked here, or perhaps a touch leaner:
I’m planning on doing a similar method to Jamie Eason’s LiveFit trainer, and do weights only at first, with no cardio to get back my lost muscle (as I know I’m losing it daily not being able to workout with my pregnancy back issues).
What I’m not sure is….with a plant based diet, how much fruit can be included in a persons diet without hindering progress. I’ve pretty much had the belief that too much fruit is a no-no because of the sugar. Also, will I have to work that much harder to get the muscle and leanness that I want if I’m not consuming as much animal protein? I guess all I can do it try it!
BUT! Considering I won’t be competing again, I’m more concerned about health and how I feel, versus everything being about appearance. Being ultra low carb is not a realistic approach that’s maintainable for me. My brain needs proper amounts of carbs to function! Even though I felt great doing grain-free, I would have a really hard time sticking to it long term. What can I say, I love my oatmeal, and using oat-flour in my baking recipes.
I’m not saying I’ll be going off meat altogether, but I’m considering cutting it down— a lot. I guess I’ll be my own guinea pig and see how it goes.
Interestingly enough, I just read this article from Mercola with his point of view about the movie, and he makes some great points as well. We think the same in terms of low fat, and proteins such as free range eggs. To add more to the confusion, I’ve also read a lot on cancer growth related to sugar from Dr. Lustig. His video I watched on YouTube titled “Sugar – The Bitter Truth” got millions of views. So naturally that also has me wondering how many carbs are a good amount.
I think the moral of my rant is…the same approach won’t work for everyone, so you really have to experiment and do what works for you! Its an ever-evolving process.
QUESTION! I’d like to learn more from you! What’s your eating philosophy, and what made you come to that decision?