Monday, June 11, 2012

Our adventures eating plants

On 2/20/2012 we watched a documentary called "Forks over Knives." It was your typical "Modern food is making you sick and fat" type documentary, but something about it clicked.  I don't know that I'm completely convinced by some of their suppositions and premises, but the overall theme of it was eat a whole foods, plant based diet to become healthier.  If you would like to watch it, it was an interesting watch and they state their reasons and conclusions.  To make a long story short, though, I told Tracey "If you want to try that I'm on board."   I'm one of, if not the pickiest eater that I know.  This was no small statement for me, but with Olive being born and me turning 30 soon I wanted to make a choice for a healthy lifestyle so I could be around for her as long as possible.  I don't smoke and don't drink that much.  In fact, we rarely keep beer in the house, I just don't drink it.  It isn't for any type of moral choice or reason, I just don't find the occasion to drink beer that often, it's not something i consume on a "just because" basis.

The next day Tracey went out and bought a bunch of stuff for vegetarian dinners and we established two ground rules. 1) If she makes it, I'll try it. 2) We're not gonna be "those people" who refuse to eat what someone else cooked for them because they're vegetarian.  I understand that some people have been vegetarian for so long that their bodies can't process meat anymore.  I'm not saying that if you refuse someone else's cooking your a bad person or anything like that.  For us, we just wanted to live our life our way and still be able to hang with other people and the foods they ate.  The way it's ended up working out is that 7-10 meals at the house every week are vegetarian guaranteed. That includes Dinner M-F and Lunch and Dinner on the weekends.  Sometimes we get some fast food or go out, sometimes we cook some chicken or fish.  The point is we have changed our diet and our lifestyle to have our meals based around the plants that are in them, not the meats.  When we do eat meat, it doesn't feel like "cheating" because we're not on a diet.  We've changed our lifestyle to be vegetarian with occasional meat.

It's been almost 4 months now since we switched.  I've been keeping all of this in for that 4 months because for one thing, if it didn't work, if we went back to our old ways I didn't want to be a public failure.  Being a private failure is good enough for me.  Also,  I wanted to have a long term perspective on it.  Now, I didn't do what documentaries do and get a checkup with a bunch of blood work before I started to give out comparative numbers.  I didn't do that because this is a lifestyle choice, not a let me show you how awesome it is choice.  The reason I'm speaking about it now, really is because people lately have been telling me how I look great and have lost a lot of weight.  They want to know what I do and how much I exercise, etc.

I really just want to tell everyone my story and what has worked for me, where I'm at and where I want to be.  I don't really have a master plan, I'm just seeing where this all takes me.  So here are the numbers I do have.  I started weighing myself daily (mostly) on 2/21.  I weighed 195 then,  I weigh 175 now.  In 16 weeks, I've lost 20 lbs or about 1.25 lbs a week on average.  I think the on average part of that statement is the important part. Some days are "better" than others and some weeks are "better" than others.  I've found the important part for me is don't stress about the numbers.  If you know you're eating right the numbers will follow.  If you have a few days where you don't eat all that well, then get back on track, the numbers will follow.  It's important to look at your personal goals, whether that be lbs or inches on a macro (long term) level.  My 35 jeans were starting to get tight on me, my 34's now fall off my ass.  My goal was never to lose weight or get slimmer, it has always been to get healthier. Losing weight has just been a happy byproduct of that because I was overweight and storing a lot of extra fat.

I had gone to the doctor at the end of march for some allergy and sinus issues and my BP at the time was 125/85.  Not terrible, not great either, but given this was 5 weeks after we started this plant based foods thing it made me wonder where i was at.  I went back 6 weeks later for a second sinus infection (my sinuses suck) and my BP was 121/81 and that was literally 15 minutes after drinking a giant soda from Wendy's (yah I know terrible if you're going to get measured).  Even so, that's real close to normal, so I'll take it as a win.  I'm going back for a full workup around my 30th birthday because, it's just time to get that sort of thing done and doing it around your birthday makes it easier to remember. I'm interested to see the results.

This lifestyle might be for you and it might not, but at least give it a look see if it interests you.  I see so many people trying to lose weight by cutting things out of their life completely and that seems to me to be an extremist view of the world.  It's almost a level of obsession and fanaticism.  I think anything in moderation is ok (edible food wise, i wouldn't recommend low levels of cyanide in moderation).  I've seen people starve themselves or deprive themselves of the things they love.  Look, if your solution to losing weight is "go hungry" 1) don't focus on "losing weight" focus on being healthier 2) "go hungry" doesn't sound healthy.  Tracey and I are full every day at dinner because plants are filling and yummy.  I still have Whataburger on occasion   Hell, today I had some Wendy's 'cause I just forgot to bring lunch to work.  I'm not stressed about it, because I know it's a blip on the radar.  I can moderately indulge in my guilty pleasure foods and it's no big deal because my lifestyle as a whole is healthy.  These aren't slip-ups or cheating or even scheduled "cheat days."  I just go about my life and eat what I want, but what i want to eat is usually vegetarian.

I'd like to take a moment  to thank my wife, Tracey.  She does most (99.99999%) of the cooking at the house.  She feeds our family and without here I wouldn't have the time or the energy to make this change.  It's been great so far and I hope she knows how much I appreciate her and her culinary efforts.


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