I recently started thinking and reading and studying up on the plant based diet for this reason: I am addicted food. Some of you will not understand this (because you're not addicted to food) - but it's true. There are certain foods (cheese, bread, pasta, candy, cookies - basically anything processed) that once I start, I do not want to stop eating. Even if I'm totally stuffed, my body demands more and more and more to the point of distraction. Food is on my mind at all times, which means my brain is always multitasking. I'll be working on a project, concentrating hard, but the food devil is still there on my shoulder rattling a box of Good N Plenty in my ear.
I have tried everything over the years to change my relationship to food, and I lost about 20 pounds this year by religiously counting calories and running 50+ miles per week. But I realized that this was only substituting one obsessive behavior for another; it wasn't sustainable. I was still eating processed foods - just in smaller amounts. (Hence: always hungry). I ended up gaining half the weight back.
I am really hesitant to write about this because I am very much at the beginning of this shift in lifestyle - but I wanted to put it out there in case anyone else has had a similar experience, and because so far - even after just 10 days on a whole foods, plant-based diet - I am experiencing something completely different than anything I've experienced before.
1. I'm only hungry when I should be. This is the first time IN MY LIFE that I haven't felt hungry all the time. I eat fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds - mostly raw, with some organic soups here and there - and I get full, and then I don't think about food again until I'm actually hungry.
2. I don't crave sugar and bread. This is huge. I take my kids to the bakery, and I don't want to smash my head through the glass and Hoover up all of the lemon squares. (So there's a safety benefit too). I do crave fruit, and I will require an anti-depression sun lamp when pomegranate season comes to an end.
3. I just feel good. Lighter, less puffy, more calm (ask Larry about the Christmas tree lights and the episode of Cake Boss that happened in our kitchen), and more energetic. I've chucked the scale, and I'm not concerned with my weight, because I know I'm feeding my body the best foods for it. I trust it will balance itself out as soon as it can trust me not to electrocute it with a brick of cheese.
While those three things are all the reason I need to shift toward a plant-based diet - I still wanted to put the diet into a more global context. I felt bad that I didn't feel bad about the animals. For some reason, even after watching documentaries like Food Inc. and reading books like Eating Animals, I wasn't moved to stop eating ham or eggs. The rational part of my brain understood that the practices of factory farming are morally repugnant , but the social part of my brain was like people's gotta eat and this is how we do, yo.
This morning, I watched Vegucated, a documentary (free for Amazon Prime members, btw) that differs from the others not in content, but in tone. In place of smug superiority, Vegucated offers understanding, kindness, and a thoughtful, friendly presentation of information. Some of the content is painfully disturbing - but the maker of the film understands that I am smart enough to watch someone castrate a cow with no anesthesia and know it's wrong. I don't need the Psycho soundtrack playing in the background.
One thing that really stuck with me from the film: We adopted a carnivorous diet because it was evolutionarily advantageous to do so. It is no longer evolutionarily advantageous to eat factory farmed meat. It's killing us. It's destroying the environment. And we have access to plant based foods year round. All the more reason, right?
I am not interested in debating the subject or trying to convince people who don't want to change. If you are passionate about tasty tasty animals, I can't condemn you - because I don't know what that feels like. I just noticed some very positive and immediate changes that I wanted to share - and sort of test the waters to see if anyone in this blog audience is interested in hearing more as I continue down this path.
Who knows. A month from now, I may be blogging with my head in a box of macaroni and cheese. But wouldn't it be awesome if this were not a phase? If I kept feeling good and normal and not wishing the walls were made of cannoli?
It would be so GREAT.
Okay. So to make it even MORE fun (I know you were having a blast already) - how about we document this little journey with photos?
On the left, me - 10 days ago - puffy and bloated (and holding a Darth Vader doll).
On the right, me - this morning - no makeup, no filters, no fear. :)