Plant-strong eating rocks!!
One thing that I like about my new vegan lifestyle is that it has gotten SO much easier to continue my physical recovery (health & weight loss).
In Dr. Esselstyn's book one of the parts that really stuck out to me is the section where Ann Esselstyn shares that with this diet there is no "calorie counting" and no "portion-control" dieting techniques involved. (This is good because I don't do diets anymore!) Its very simple. If you start gaining weight--eat less starch. If you are losing weight too fast--eat more starch. And that is it. I didn't really buy that explanation until I started practicing a plant-based no-oil low-fat diet. I'm not 100% oil-free 100% of the time but I do my best and guess what? It really is as simple as Mrs. Esselstyn described!
Why is it simple?
I tried at first to work my vegan diet the way I worked my food plan before veganism: weighing and measuring my food, portioning things on my plate so half of the plate was veggies, 1/4 was protein (beans) & 1/4 was starch (grains). This worked solidly for me in the past--I lost 70 lbs doing it after all & I totally recommend it! But in my new food plan of low-fat plant-based eating, these tried and true methods never worked because I was hungry a few hours later AND with all the beans I was eating I began to have some unwanted GI side effects which caused me great embarrassment!!
So after discovering that the World Health Organization actually ONLY recommends protein as 8-10% of your diet (0.81g/kg body weight per day), I decided to stop stressing out about the balance of portions, reduce the excessive use of beans and just eat whatever no-oil, low-fat vegan food I can find. So far this has been working for me--mostly because I stay away from the processed vegan foods & I continue to maintain my sugar-free, gluten-free lifestyle with a strong preference for anti-inflammatory foods! I also make a conscious effort to eat a WIDE variety of colorful foods--particularly a lot of dark leafy greens. Its pretty hard to overeat because all the FIBER is exceptionally good at doing what it was designed to do: fill us up!! Its also pretty easy to eat reasonably because I'm avoiding all the "Standard American Diet" foods that were designed to addict us!
Weight Loss Without Effort
Obviously for me since I have an eating disorder, there is effort involved with regards to my emotional and spiritual stability BUT the mechanics of weight loss & physical recovery are SO much easier than the first 70lbs I lost without being a 100% vegan. I've literally effortlessly dropped 30 lbs in the last few months since starting a 100% plant-based diet with minimal fats.
I actually think I've dropped more than that because my husband kept coming up to me yesterday and telling me I need to buy new pants because I can fit my fist between my belly button and the waistband they are so big! I protested and say I just bought these pants 2 or 3 weeks ago--but I guess the weight keeps sliding off. So I'll head back to Goodwill or Salvation Army sometime this week (and YES I shop there because why the heck would I buy full-priced clothes when I have to keep buying new ones that fit?! Besides, you can find some gorgeous clothes there in perfect condition. I even get work clothes there and no one has any idea--at least until I just published it here! :-)) This need for smaller sized clothes has happened multiple times in the last few months.
As you know from my "Dear 268 Pound Me," I don't weigh myself often so I'll let you know in February or so where I am!! I still have more weight to lose to get to my healthy weight per medical science so for now, I'll keep doing what I'm doing!
I Eat A Lot
Of course, I work my 12 step compulsive eating recovery program to prevent binge & compulsive eating behaviors, but I do eat a TON of interesting, delicious food. When I share at work that I'm now vegan as well as the sugar-free, gluten-free from before, everyone looks at me like I have two heads and ask me what in the world I eat?! Um, Soups & Stews & Pasta & Pizza & Sandwiches & Dips & Rice & Casseroles & Curries! Oh yeah, I forgot! I also eat a TON of Fruits & Vegetables! Then I take off my little tupperware top and let people sample my lunch. Most common response: "What was that recipe again? That's SO good!" Seriously, you'd think eating fat-free plant-based foods would be tasteless or something (at least that is what I used to think!) but it actually tastes AMAZING if you use great recipes & great cookbooks!
We Save A LOT of money
People always say "isn't eating a vegan diet expensive?" Um, my answer is a resounding NO! My husband and I have saved SO much money since switching to a vegan diet. Just think about how much beans, rice, fruits and vegetables cost compared to meats & dairy products? If you eat 100% organic all the time than it can be expensive but we take advantage of frozen organic veggies which seem to be cheaper than fresh a lot of the time. We also can't eat 100% organic 100% of the time, mostly because we are on a tight budget (thank you my nightmare of student loans) and there aren't always organic options available where we live so we do the best we can! To combat the pesticides as best we can, we wash all our fruits & veggies with this organic vegetable wash called "Fit." Just water really doesn't remove any of those pesticides and soap tastes bad!
We also save money by buying dry beans in bulk from our local health food store & we don't eat a lot of nuts or tofu. We also don't eat any "faux" meats or things like vegan mayonnaise or vegan margarine etc. The processed items do tend to be more expensive so we stay away from them. We operate usually on a tight "cash only" envelope system so we can only spend so much on groceries each week! We cook and bring all of our lunches to work & fix our own snacks, etc. Planning our food in advance really keeps costs down too.
I Feel Good & Know That I'm Being Good To My Body
With every bite I put in my mouth, I know I'm helping reduce my risk of getting heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. With every bite I know that I'm making a conscious choice to live an active, productive life that doesn't end with frailty & a nursing home bound existence. With every bite I can feel my body get stronger & my energy levels rise. I don't drink caffeine at all but I have more energy with a plant-based diet than I have in YEARS! This way of eating is guaranteeing me health in a way no other diet can. And that feels good.
Ok! So that is why I'm a huge fan of plant-based eating! Do any of you have stories of your own experiences with a plant-based diet? I always love to hear some inspiration! :-)
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