IF YOU THINK THAT A VEGAN, PLANT-BASED, WHOLE GRAIN, DIET IS OUT OF WHAT YOU EVER COULD, EVER WOULD, OR EVEN SHOULD DO— PLEASE READ ON. AT LEAST THE NEXT PARAGRAPH OR TWO?
I just want to show you that this is possible, for anyone. And, no you do NOT need to give up meat, dairy, sweets, or anything else that you love … all of our goals and journeys are different, the point is simply getting healthier. I had shared this in an earlier blog but this is my diet before (we’re talking a year ago at least) and after (now). This was a slow process (for me, again everyone’s goals and journeys are different):
- Before: 5-7 cans of diet coke per day and no water at all most days, fast food (whether drive through burger meals, take out chinese/mexican, deli, pizza, etc) about 12 times per week, microwavable meals otherwise (frozen burritos, sugary cereals, cheeze its, taquitos, pizza rolls), virtually no fruits or veggies (fruit on occasion maybe, avoided veggies at all costs even picking out each single pea and carrot in the fried rice at panda express), alcohol 1-3 nights per week (often enough to black out and make stupid choices). BTW no exercise at all.
- After: Diet coke only as a treat once a week or so (eventually I’ll cut this out too), 3-8 glasses of water per day, fruits and vegetables (raw, cooked, and/or juiced) every day, no alcohol (90 days now, eventually I may bring it back in at moderation but for now I’m happy without), only whole grains (unless eating out at rest. and it’s not an option, this is maybe once a week or every other week), no microwaving (unless pre-prepping something for cooking, or maybe for rolled oats for breakfast), and newly meat and dairy free. BTW walking 15 min at the least daily, some days up to an hour or more.
- Results (so far): Loss of 50 pounds (working on the next 40 now), I don’t seem to get sick as often (can’t remember the last time), hair feels softer and less frizzy (always been a problem of mine), I am waking at an earlier time feeling rested since I am able to fall asleep at night now, not as moody as I used to be, much more energy to focus on my puppy and getting other things in my life done, more positive outlook on life, and much more.
I didn’t want the point of this blog to be ‘look, look, look what I can do!’ It’s just look at where I was (can you relate?) and where I am now. I never thought that I could be where I am right now. I never even wanted to be where I am right now. I, personally, took this long and slow. There are different ways to approach this, here are a few ideas:
Slow and gradual (the way I did it). Start off changing one little thing at a time. My process went kind of like this (over a year or so):
- Starting eating breakfast everyday and packing my lunch for work (ate whatever I like but counted calories so that each meal was about 300-400 calories leaving a big chunk for dinner), then started cooking dinners (again whatever I liked, but counted calories)
- Started limiting my fast food intake to once or twice a week.
- Started swapping refined white breads or rice, for whole wheat options. Also started introducing salad to my meals.
- Started cutting out red meat.
- Started drinking 4-8 glasses of water everyday, and started limiting soda.
- Cut out alcohol and other drugs.
- Cut out soda, except for as a treat (when friends were drinking alcohol).
- Started adding in veggies to my meals everyday (mostly frozen ones).
- Started adding in fruits and veggies daily.
- Cut out chicken and seafood, so now I was meat free.
- Cut out dairy, except for eggs.
- Cut out eggs.
- Started juicing daily (to get my greens in)
Getting healthier through swaps only, don’t change what you already do– just choose some healthier options:
- Drink almond milk instead of regular milk.
- Buy fresh fruits and veggies instead of canned.
- Buy dry beans and rice, instead of canned or quick cooking.
- Try cooking with low to no oil (put onions in pan to cook first and they will have their own juices to help the process).
- Use avocado instead of mayonnaise as a spread.
- Use hummus as a chip or cracker dip, instead of ranch or onion sour cream/milk based dips.
- Choose whole grains (for cereal, rolled oats/oatmeal, breads, tortillas, pita, chips) instead of refined.
- Choose organic (I will write a blog soon more about this, but you will get more nutritional bang for your buck, I promise).
- Not a swap, but I recommend adding fruits and veggies if you don’t eat them already. Limit sugar. And do what you are comfortable with in terms of meat and dairy.
Jump right in! For those of you who prefer to just immerse yourself in whatever you are doing as quickly as possible.
- Google ‘clean eating challenge’, or ‘get healthy challenge’, to find blogs, websites, or books describing programs to jump right in to whatever sort of lifestyle diet you are thinking of. Often they guide you to trying the diet for one week up to 30 days (I highly recommend 30 days). What do you have to lose in trying?
- Take a look at my swaps above and try them … starting tomorrow. For at least a week. See how you feel afterwards.
- Be careful. I know none of us like to talk to the doc before we change our eating habits but a lot of changes all at once can be tough on your body so it recommended. I didn’t have a lot of ‘detox’ effects (some here and there) because I took it slow. If you jump right in, your stomach and body may take a week to catch up with you. From there you would feel awesome.