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Musings on a plant-based diet

I am a firm believer that knowledge equals power. When I jump on a bandwagon I obsessively research. I look into every avenue I possibly can. For example, I wanted to begin piano lessons last year (having not played since I was 8) and I researched teachers, I browsed teach-yourself books, I bought songs and books I hoped to “one day” be able to play. All the research was great, but when I signed up for classes, I started to realize I didn’t have the time to practice that it required to progress effectively.

What does all this mean? It means that research and being aware (no matter what area) are important aspects but unless you have a plan and actually take that knowledge and apply it, it’s just wasted. Right?

My latest research efforts have surrounded nutrition. Through months of trial and error I’m learning that my body responds better without wheat and without sugar. It’s actually quite shocking that I can eat very balanced one day but throw in, say, a bagel, and register a 1+ lb increase the next day. If I eat the same way the following day minus the bagel, the weight comes right off. However if I follow up the 2nd day with more wheat, the weight will increase again. This has been interesting to see I can pack on as much as 5lbs in a WEEK this way. Yikes?!

This weekend Ben and I were browsing Netflix and came across a nutrition documentary: Forks Over Knives

Now I know documentaries are notorious for being one-sided. We all know this. But the information provided just made sense to me. You know how someone explains something and it clicks, well that’s how I felt watching this.

The documentary advocated a whole foods, plant-based diet. By adopting this type of eating behavior, the researchers offered up a variety of health benefits from curing cancer to losing weight. There were so many interesting snippets of information that even Ben sat and watched the whole thing with me.

Our conclusions? It sounds like the way to go. I’ve been researching the heck out of this too (naturally). But here’s the question, how do we effectively go about this? I am a meat eater. I love meat. Quadruple that statement and you have Ben. We were both raised in families where meat was the “food” – as in:

“Mom, what’s for dinner?”

“Chicken” (or insert other meat item)

Everything else served was, well, everything else. The meat was the star of the show.

So… where am I going with all this? Right after watching  I looked at Ben and asked if he’d be willing to try replacing one meal a week with a vegetarian meal. He said he would. So now I’ve been scouring the Internet for possible recipes. The trick is finding ones that don’t contain:

A) wheat

B) sugar

C) meat

D) soy

Most vegetarians you’ll encounter rely a lot on soy and I’m still pretty leery about it. Why replace some highly processed items with others? Doesn’t make a lot of sense. Plus I’m not convinced soy is really that healthy. More research is needed!

Are you still with me after ALL of that? If so, wow and thanks 🙂

QUESTION: Have you ever explored vegetarianism or veganism? If so, did you notice any physical benefits? Do you know if you receive any benefits just by reducing your meat consumption but not eliminating it?

I’m sure we’ll all be curious to see how this pans out for me. Wish me luck!

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4 Responses

  1. I do not function well on a completely vegetarian diet. There is something about animal proteins that I do much better with – probably due to lifting. I think you can do pretty well with eggs and dairy to get in enough protein, but I get too much starch (and calories) with beans and lentils. I do eat vegetarian meals periodically and enjoy them. One of the best things about being an omnivore is that you can try meat, be vegetarian, vegan, primal or whatever!

    I have found that with all my experiments, my body had the biggest response to going grain free. Not just gluten free, but grain free.

    • I do worry about getting adequate protein – which is one of the main things I need to properly research before attempting. I am not looking to jump into soy, so I need to find acceptable alternatives.

      Your grain-free challenge and results were amazing!

  2. I ‘attempted’ to be a vegetarian while I was in college. I didn’t eat meat for months – but I was a horrible vegetarian. Sure, I didn’t eat meat, but I ate a bunch of processed foods and not enough fruits and veggies.

    My cousin is a vegetarian – borderline vegan. I get a lot of information from her.

    I could never become a vegetarian though. I love chicken and turkey WAY too much… and that is a huge part of my diet. I don’t eat red meat though.
    I do think that it would be good to have a few vegetarian meals throughout the week. Hopefully you can find some recipes that meet your criteria. My hubby is having a hard time just eating my healthy – non-processed meals, I could never reign him into eating no meat, even for one meal!

    • I hear you – I LOVE meat too. I am very lucky Ben is supportive on my constantly-changing health ideas. I honestly have no idea how to or if I could really eliminate meat forever but I am curious enough to try it out so I may do a couple of 30-day challenges and see how I feel.

      Ask your cousin for her best vegan non-soy recipes for me 😀

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