How did this happen??? Just a short 9 months ago I was enjoying the most delicious dinner with my husband. It was our anniversary, we were at our favorite restaurant, eating our favorite meal. Filet mignon with scallops, sauteed mushrooms, asparagus, baked potato with butter and sour cream, and for dessert creme brûlée. We've eaten at this restaurant several times, always for our anniversary. I had no idea this would be the last time. Weird.
I knew it was coming. Fred started with the documentaries again, sent me articles, youtube videos, then later grilled me to see if I had watched/read what he sent me. Plant-based lifestyle. I just kind of watched it like a deer in headlights until it finally ran me over. I admit I have been reluctant to get out of the way. Kind of like this guy:
Honestly, giving up meat months ago was incredibly easier than I ever thought it would be. I do not miss it. I don't even get cravings. I've found veggie burgers and portabello mushrooms to be excellent substitutes for burgers. Tofu is great in a stir-fry with lots of veggies. And are you ready for this? I don't even miss bacon... I know, right?
Giving up seafood still smarts a bit. I don't really like to talk about it.
So, why give up dairy and go all out plant-based-crazy?
After everything Fred and I have researched, we believe it is the healthiest lifestyle for us. Remember, cancer has played a very big role in Fred's family. I was diagnosed with PCOS years ago. We both (finally) made the decision to take control of our health and do everything in our power to avoid serious illness. Research shows that a plant-based diet gives you everything your body needs plus the ability to better prevent/fight cancer and other serious illnesses.
Here's a few of the sources we researched: The China Study, Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, Gerson Therapy, Vegucated, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, Forks Over Knives, Food Inc., Dying to Have Known, NutritionFacts.org, Dr. Burzynski, ultra runner Scott Jurek, and even Dr. Oz!
There's been probably one hundred or more books, articles, and videos that we have also checked into. Hundreds more that we haven't. There is so much information out there, it's quite overwhelming.
Is it for everyone?
I think my opinion is pretty clear. However, I also think everyone needs to do their own research and figure out what works best for them. My own father has watched the transformation we have made, (Fred is down almost 60 lbs now) and yet he will likely never give up meat. I've heard so many friends say the same thing. Fred and I once said it too. When I stop and think about it, I'm still really shocked that we have done it. You really have to wrap your mind around it all first.
Fred asked me a while back, when we first embarked on this journey, "Who do you know who is really healthy, fit, in every way?" I thought for a second and two people came to mind right away. He continued his question with, "What do they do?" Well, huh... when put like that it kind of simplified things for me. Both of the people I thought of are women who are not only in excellent physical condition but do or have done physique competition. One of them is vegan. The other, when getting competition-ready, eats a pretty clean diet with white fish as the only meat consumed. They are also both fitness coaches/trainers. Then Fred said, "That's what we need to do if that's what we want." That conversation has always stuck with me.
Now, here we are, taking on a plant-based lifestyle. I'm actually very excited. I think easing into it the way we have has been very beneficial for me. While running with Danyelle and Heidi on Sunday morning, I told them that I was giving it serious thought. They both said why not try it for a month and see how it goes and then another month and so on. With a lot of things I'm kind of an 'all in' kind of girl. What they suggested made sense though. I know Fred is in this for the loooong haul but I can take it a step at a time. So, when I got home from my run I decided to take their advice and go for it. Yes, I've even given up the half & half in my coffee. (GASP!) We did find a creamer made from coconut milk that is actually really good.
Fred and I are trying to learn as much as we can as quickly as we can. We've found a lot of great recipes that we are excited to try out. Nut cheese... yeah, I laughed too. Definitely needs a better name. You can just imagine the jokes going on in my kitchen about Fred making nut cheese.
So far we are sticking with the basics while learning the rest. Oatmeal, beans, rice, tofu, lots of veggies of course, fruit, and nuts. I was surprised to learn there are a ton of foods the you never think of as being 'vegan' mainly because they are not healthy. Yes, you can eat a vegan diet and still eat crap. We are trying to keep it clean and plant-based for the most part but it's good to know that I can binge on some oreos every once in a while without straying from the vegan path. Oh, and I've already 'googled' vegan cake recipes. :)
We have discussed events like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Obviously, we would never expect anyone to cater to our needs while preparing these meals. We will most likely enjoy the feast on those days and then go back to our usual way of eating. We've both gone back and forth on whether we will eat turkey... I really just have no desire to eat meat but Thanksgiving turkey is like the king of all meat for me. It's so good Adam Sandler wrote a song about it! Right now though, it just doesn't even sound good, but it's also become a matter of I just don't eat that anymore. We'll see how I feel when I'm at my sister-in-law's house in Ohio, smelling all that yummy goodness roasting. Likely, I will eat the mashed potatoes even though they have butter and everything else but the turkey will not make it onto my plate this year.
Are you up for the challenge?
Do you think you could hang in there with me for a month and stick to a vegan diet? I will be happy to share recipes, tips, ideas and help you stay motivated! Leave me a comment or message me your thoughts!
Peace, Love, Happiness!