Every once in a while, you meet someone, you go somewhere, you read something...and it changes you. Not in the way that all experiences shape who we are and what we do, but I mean it causes a profound shift in what or how you think. It's happened to me before with books, Wayne Dyer's You'll see it When You Believe It was one, and now-The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD.
I'm into science. As anyone who goes to my classes knows, I talk about how it applies to what we do all the time. Even if it goes against the grain; and in fitness, science and fun don't always intersect, I will side with science every time. That is my disclaimer for what I am about to say.
I am following a vegan diet.
To some it might sound extreme or radical. Even a few weeks ago it sounded a little unnecessarily restrictive even to me. That was before I started reading The China Study. Speaking of science, this book compiles hundreds of research studies to summarize the most appropriate diet to prevent disease (heart disease, cancer, autoimmune, brain disease, stroke) and maintain a healthy weight. It's not too surprising-he recommends a plant-based diet. Duh, we all know we need to eat more fruits and vegetables. The more shocking thing about the research that's presented is not just how preventive a plant-based diet can be, but how harmful consumption of animal protein is. The take away from the cancer section-milk causes cancer. (Don't tell the dairy farmers, or the USDA for that matter. They don't care.)
I'm not saying I'm commiting to a vegan diet forever, or that I will be 100% vegan. I don't want to turn into a fanatic. I can't imagine never eating sushi again so that will definitely be happening from time to time, and I won't stress if I realize something I've ordered has butter in/on it (any more than I already do, that is). But the evidence presented in this book is so overwhelming that my desire to eat anything animal is completely gone. I also have to say, I've been eating around 80% vegetarian for a few months already so it's not a huge leap from there.
I'm going to be blogging about it as I go, so after 1 week here are my observations so far.
1. I am less hungry. You'd think cutting animals out of my diet would leave me starving all the time with nothing to eat, but I've been eating until I'm full and feeling less hungry after several hours than before. Where I used meat I've been substituting beans, quinoa, tofu or another grain and it's working out just fine.
2. My bowels are CLEAN. Therefore my stomach is flat. It's a win-win as far as I'm concerned.
3. I'm discovering and re-discovering vegetarian/vegan recipes. You can make almost anything vegan but some recipes lend themselves more than others. Since I like to cook it's a new adventure trying to find new recipes that are already vegan or easily adaptable. Japanese Sweet Potato Curry Soup last night was AMAZING.
4. I lost weight. Without even trying. 'Nuff said.
5. Overall, I feel fantastic. Maybe it's placebo effect, but I feel energetic and light.
It can't all be positive, I suppose.
1. Eating out can be a challenge. I went to dinner at an Italian place Saturday, and since I'm gluten intolerant that didn't leave me many options. I spent a fortune on veggie side dishes, then ran straight to wallgreens and bought sweet potato chips because I was still starving. No more Italian.
2. Like any investment, you have to do a little extra work. I already cook a lot, but I'll definitely be eating more at home. I ended up buying a food processor and juicer so some of the really yummy, really expensive things that I've been buying at Whole Foods, I'll just make myself. ($18 for nut butter? seriously?)
I'm sure things will get interesting or difficult and I'll definitely write about it when it happens. Ok, now go eat a salad!