WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I SWITCHED TO A WHOLE FOOD PLANT BASED DIET?
Short answer: I lost 28 pounds in 2 months!
Long answer: Let me wind the clock back 35 years when I didn’t really care what I ate and would happily munch on any food. Meat pies were a favourite until that fateful day I bought one from a local café and ended up in hospital with food poisoning. It was a life changing experience.
Up until then my tummy and I had been fairly good friends with just the odd fall out – mostly over dairy products and too much lactose swilling around my system. But that pie was a game changer. If you have never had food poisoning I can honestly say it was a “near death” experience.
When I had recovered I just couldn’t face eating another meat pie again – ever. In fact I gave up eating “red meat” after that. A month later “white meat” followed, then fish and seafood. After 3 months anything that could walk, swim or fly and had eyes was off the menu. I became vegetarian.
Now at the time my decision was a personal choice after that bad meat pie experience and was probably more psychological than anything else. I just couldn’t face the thought of eating cadavers. I gave no thought to the ethical/environmental issues of livestock farming, no thought to over-fishing our seas, no thought to the use of pesticides. And no thought to a “balanced diet”. I just cut out “meat” but ate just about everything else and that included eggs and dairy products – especially cheese.
And because I never thought about it I ate too much vegetarian “junk” food. It’s easy to do. Cakes, cheese and onion pasties, savoury biscuits, sweet biscuits, chocolate puddings, all the cheeses, chutneys, jams, pastries, the list is endless. And so it goes… the weight piled on and two years ago I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In short – my body just couldn’t cope with the abuse I gave it.
That was the wake up call. I was obese and ill with a life threatening disease.
I needed a major change of lifestyle. I wasn’t going to lose a third of my body weight by wishing, I was going to have to do some serious work. I started to research the three key areas that, if I got them working in harmony, would have the most dramatic effect on my health and wellbeing…
I continue to research these three key cornerstones of my lifestyle, each day applying principles learnt and noting what works best.
And so it was with my nutrition and diet. I researched the nutrients the body needed for health and well being and, in particular, what was best to stop the progressive nature of my diabetes. I then applied what I learnt to what I ate: my diet.
The first thing I cut from my diet was sugar. It has no nutritional value, is high in calories and was raising my blood sugar levels. By reading labels and eliminating all processed foods containing sugar, I lost 42 pounds over 6 months. My weight loss then flat lined. My body’s natural “set point” kicked in. I didn’t gain any more weight, but nor did I lose any more.
It stayed that way for over 6 months.
It was time for another look at what I was eating. I was still eating diary. I was still eating cheese. I was still eating fat. So out went the diary products. No more eggs, no more cheese, no more cream, no more yoghurt, no more mascarpone. It hurt! In came diary-free yoghurt.
Then there was all that oil I was eating. Granted it was “healthy” extra virgin olive oil, but oil is oil, is fat. That too was out. In came oil-free salad dressings and vinaigrettes. Sautéing in vegetable stock. And roasting after first tossing lightly in a spoonful of vegetable stock, adding freshly ground salt and black pepper and sprinkling with herbs.
Daily “greens” were added to the menu, sprinkled with a little nutritional yeast and organic hulled hemp seeds. Brown flax seeds and chia seeds were added to my morning porridge along with fresh blueberries, raspberries, fresh coconut shavings and a few dried prunes and dates. Lunch was fresh fruit.
I snacked on seeds, nuts and berries, dried fruit and sugar-snap peas. Never once did I go hungry. And in two months I lost 28 pounds. Then over the next 2 months I lost a further 14 pounds.
My weight has stabilised now and reached another natural “set-point”. It fluctuates a few pounds but remains constant around the 177 pounds mark.
For me switching to a whole food plant based diet has worked. I get all the protein, vitamins, minerals, nutrients and fibre my body needs from plants, and plants alone – no animals. I have low cholesterol at 3.8, normal blood pressure 130/70, no headaches, normal BMI at 26.1, my HB A1C is 28 (4.7%), and this morning’s blood sugar reading is 4.9. I feel better, look better and have more energy. I sleep well and feel less stressed.
I am, quite simply, healthier. Try a WFPB diet and you will be too.
After all what have you got to lose? Apart from a few pounds.
P.S. Learn more about plant based nutrition and brilliant recipes. Take a look at Forks Over Knives