Last month, I told you about my generally crunchy lifestyle. When I say crunchy, I just mean I live a health conscious and natural life. Some family and friends think my crunchy quirks are weird but all of them just want to know why I live the way I do. So here we go…
I started eating a whole foods, plant-based diet a year ago this month. (Yay veg-anniversary!) My best friend is vegan and had been for some time, I was a vegetarian for a year before I had my second child, so I had been exposed to veggie based food before. I made the complete 180 in my life because I realized I had gained 50 lbs since before my last child was born, and I was weighing more, two months after delivery, than when I was still pregnant. When I looked at the scale, it really just hit me. I had been feeling ugly as a postpartum mom. We’ve all been there, (if not, you go girl!) we just had this miracle, that we grew in our bellies. We made a human, it’s amazing, I will never regret that, no matter the stretch marks, skin flab, greasy hair, no shower, milk-stained shirts, not to mention no sleep. It had all just kinda hit me when I saw the scale. So I realized I needed to make a change.
I watched Forks Over Knives on Netflix and I realized that it wasn’t just my weight, I was completely unhealthy. I was eating chicken tenders, mac and cheese, french fries, candy bars, any and every junk food you can think of. I probably was watching that documentary with a Carmello bar in my hand. I was barely eating vegetables, and just like most Americans, I was eating veggies all the wrong way. Fried veggies are not healthy, just because they’re veggies, Y’all. I want to also say, Oreo’s are totally accidentally vegan. I do indulge occasionally, but my diet, what I am discussing in this post is a whole foods plant-based diet. This means my nutrients are coming from as close to whole plant foods that I can get.
If you haven’t seen Forks Over Knives, watch it. It focuses on health concerns of the Standard American Diet and highlights research done over years and years.
A year after my realization, I am down 40lbs, healthy, feeling so much better. I can stay awake all day, I was always ready for a nap by 11 am before a whole foods plant-based diet. I eat veggies, beans, grains, fruits. I do not eat animal products. I am eating to live, not living to eat. Before this change, my life almost revolved around food. I was craving sweets every night, I needed chocolate every night. I had acne. I couldn’t say no to extra cheese, I loved it. That was what got my husband to try plant-based, he felt like junk food was an addiction for him. He was getting cravings for sweets at the same time every night just like I was. He had gained weight during my pregnancy too and wasn’t feeling good about himself either. After some research, we realized we were, in fact, addicted to junk food. Sugar is extremely addictive, as is cheese. We literally had withdrawal symptoms when we cut sugar and cheese. We had headaches and felt so exhausted the first week, although I hear this can last two or so weeks. That is so scary to me.
We are spending $9,237 per citizen, per year for healthcare in the US. We don’t have the best health outcomes either. So, being a researcher at heart, I wanted to figure this out. Why are we so unhealthy, while spending money on “healthcare”?
Maybe it’s the Standard American Diet.
We constantly have commercials, advertisements, billboards, everywhere we have people telling us to eat these foods, they are delicious. They suck us in with promises of good flavor and don’t remind us that, the juicy cheeseburger will take 30 minutes off your life… Consider that when you read the same study analyzes a diet with daily fruits and veggies adds 2 hours a day to your life.
People tell me they would rather eat what they want and be happy than live longer. Well to that I always say, what kind of life do you want to live? I would love to be that 95-year-old lady that still takes care of herself and lives with her husband that still mows the lawn. Studies have shown that a plant-based diet decreases your risk for Alzheimer’s and Dementia. I don’t know what my future holds, but I want to do the best option I’m given to prevent these diseases. I am sure anyone that reads this has been touched by these awful diseases and understand the devastation they cause the people diagnosed and their entire families.
People tell me they believe “everything in moderation” is the way to go. They believe I’m too extreme with a complete plant-based diet. To that I always say, I feel like it’s extreme to have your chest cut open, heart exposed, veins harvested from your leg and be used in place of the arteries to your heart muscle that you’ve destroyed by eating the standard American diet. Bypass surgery is extreme, necessary when your heart muscle isn’t getting the blood it needs, but extreme. In the US, we perform Coronary Bypass surgery more than 200,000 times a year. Evidence has shown a healthy, balanced plant-based diet can decrease your risk for heart disease.
I know I want to spend my life happy, just like everyone. I feel like what I eat now, do now, can help me stay feeling good for the rest of my life. I don’t want to be a slave to my food, eating it when I crave it. I do enjoy my food. My husband always says he wouldn’t eat it if it didn’t taste good.
I just covered the health reasons I have gone plant-based, although there are plenty of ethical reasons too. If you are interested in the vast amount of evidence of animal cruelty in the meat and dairy industry, please watch Earthlings on YouTube. But heads up, it’s difficult to watch, but don’t remain ignorant of how we get meat and dairy products. If I’m gonna eat it, I should be able to handle it, but I couldn’t. The ends don’t justify the means for me. I can get all my necessary nutrients and calories from plants so I will continue to do so, and encourage others to eat more plants for their health and wellness!
I really encourage you to click the links in this article, I have linked some awesome research. But then again, I love research! Thanks for reading!