I have chosen to go to a more plant-based diet. My attempt is to eliminate dairy, meat, and consume as little processed foods as possible. Meat won’t be an issue for me since I am already vegetarian (which for me means no red meat, white meat, or seafood- basically I don’t eat anything with a face). Why I choose to cut out meat and dairy has partly to do with the crap that’s put in it to preserve it for longer, partly because of the inhuman and unsanitary conditions that mass food production is processed it, and mainly because of the potential health benefits.
There are two main documentaries that inspired this change along with other research I have done.
In Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead the viewer follows Joe Cross’ story as a morbidly obese individual who seeks to change his life for the better. He, like me, has an autoimmune disease and he is told that if he continues to live how he has been he will certainly die. His journey is to only consume blended fruits and vegetables for 90 days while he (and a doctor) monitor how these changes transforms Joe’s health. Spoiler alert: He loses weight and gets healthier. I admit after watching this documentary I did go out and get a juicer which was definitely under used. His second documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2 sends a message more focused on making healthy life choices and eating “junk” food in moderation. I was particularly inspired by how so many people with fibromyalgia, ulcerative colitis, tendentious, etc. found relief or were even cured after doing a fruit and vegetable cleanse. There are similar findings in the documentary What the Health. This documentary promotes the healing effects of a plant-based diet as well but goes a step beyond and encourages viewers to cut out processed meat, eggs, and dairy because of the negative health correlations that the filmmakers had found in doing research on chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, their causes and treatment. Both are pretty interesting and worth a watch if only to make the viewer more conscious of what you are eating (both can be found on Netflix which is a bonus). I have also read research about patients who had fibromyalgia who ate 80% vegetable diet experienced less pain as well as research that indicated the same for fibromyalgia patients who increased their intake of magnesium (which is found in beans, nuts, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables).
None the less, do your own research. Talk to a naturopath, dietitian, doctor etc. Check out research (check to see who funded the research, how many people they surveyed, what their methods were, and possible limitations of research). Ultimately, I am doing this because it makes sense to me and it’s a choice I am making for myself.
My approach will be to decrease dairy and processed foods slowly over time but to drastically increase my vegetables intake right away. I still have a block of cheese and some frozen pizza’s I’ll have to get through. In looking back at my diet as a vegetarian it is shocking how little vegetables I actually consume. I am choosing to eat eggs for my diet as I have a local farmer that I get them from and I feel confident that the chickens are being treated well and aren’t being injected with growth hormones and all that. Maybe I should go visit them… Idea for a future blog perhaps?
One of the projects that are featured on What the Health is the website Plant Based on a Budget. I am lucky enough to have an income that gives me some wiggle room with my grocery choices. I know not everyone has this luxury and this website addresses that potential hurtle. So far I have found this website very helpful. I especially appreciate the meal plans and recipes with minimal effort because that is inevitably always where healthy eating falls apart for me. Planning and precooking is not my forte. With the help of this website I have crafted a first week meal plan, I’ve gone grocery shopping, I have even purchased a fancy new book to write my recipes in.
- Planning out my meals a week in advance
- Eating all the vegetables before they go bad
- Having emergency sweet treats for my sugar cravings
- Falling into (what I call) “Survival Mode” and being unable to plan for the future (blog to come about Survival Mode)
- Not getting enough calories
- Being overwhelmed by cooking, chopping and dishes
- Lack of variety in my diet
I think that’s it for now. Post on my first week on a Plant-Based diet to come!