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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Veganizing My Diet

A few years ago, a title like this would have scared the bajesus me. Hardly anyone I knew was vegan, and the restrictions seemed so massive and all-encompassing, that following suit in any sort of fashion seemed downright preposterous!

Even after I became the more Studdly version of myself, lean meat was still a regular part of my diet and included in nearly every meal.

In the last year though, I've become vastly more educated on the science of nutrition. That doesn't mean that I'm 100% healthy. I still have a massive sweet tooth and LOVE dessert. I also enjoy meat, but only indulge on some weekend meals. My diet IS about 93 % healthy though (Yes, EXACTLY 93% :)

I avoid refined flour, sugar, simple carbohydrates, and saturated and trans fats.

Let me be clear though that I'm certainly not a vegan, nor am I a vegetarian. I've simply "veganized" my diet such that about 80% of my diet is vegan. So why did I make this change?

Here's some factual stuff. There's a famous study called The China Study that was conducted by Dr. Colin Campbell, a nutritional biochemistry professor at Cornell, that definitively shows that meat and refined flour should be avoided. Not only does avoiding consumption of these foods extend your life 10 years (according to his studies), but it also improves the quality of your life drastically reducing the occurrence of ailments such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and strokes. Furthermore, hormone levels remain at a more constant equilibrium thus elevating things like mood and energy.

Dr. Campbell further discovered that there was a direct correlation between consumption of animal protein and things like cancer, stroke, and heart disease. Plant proteins on the other hand had no similar effect. There were more findings, but I'd rather not bore you with the scientific details. This Post from Ty's site has a lot of details.

I also have some issues with animal rights, however, it would be hypocritical of me to talk about that since I still eat meat. I do however avoid things like Rodeo's (which, after attending, am TOTALLY against) and horse racing.

Surprisingly though, the change wasn't very difficult at all!

First of all, it wasn't a sudden change. I gradually started shifting towards vegan cuisine, almost my accident. My old roommate Frederico, who by the way is the most disciplined person I know when it comes to diet, had a really positive influence on me as I tried the different "100% healthy" recipes he made. I soon started scheming (because as you know, I am quite the schemer), put my mad scientist hat on, and went into the lab to develop my own healthy concoctions!

I'm also someone who doesn't really need a lot of variety, diet wise. I find a few foods I can easily make, and eat those pretty much every day. I've had a big salad (and when I say big, I'm talking so massive that I've tested the limits of vegetable poisoning and it's not possible!) everyday for dinner (except on the weekend) for the last two weeks, yet I'm still looking forward to my salad tonight! And yes, there are a LOT more great vegan dinners than just salad, but it's easy and tasty so I eat it a lot.

I eat the same cereal most mornings (Nature's Path - Flax Plus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch! Best Cereal EVER!) and actually like Soy Milk better than regular. Lunch is nearly always Two Morningstar garden burger patties, an apple, a banana, and sugar-snap-peas.

Since I weight train regularly, I make sure to infuse every meal with protein. Legumes and soy are good sources.

So living healthy has required minimal effort. I just phased out certain foods I like, and phased in other foods I like...easy for me since I'm not a picky eater at all and like almost everything (gee, I wonder why I got chubby in the first place?).

I haven't abandoned meat or dairy completely since A) I like the taste, B) I don't like being picky, C) A steak dinner followed up by a huge bowl of ice-cream is amazing, and D) I like keeping my body adaptable to anything. Also, I think the effect of animal proteins is probably greater when I do eat them since it's not regularly in my system.

I've found a happy, healthy diet medium. Nothing is "off-limits," but I've established a healthy diet routine that makes it easy for me to be healthy without even thinking!

Most people are too stubborn to change, but I definitely recommend trying this dietary shift if you want to be on the path of Lifetime Awesomeness!

2 comments:

Bill Riddell said...

My diet is still improving and becoming a little more vegan-like. My meat intake is limited to the best organic/free range chicken I can find (free of hormones, raised locally in good conditions) and fish (need to find a better source though).
Like you I don't really feel the need for a varied diet and I really only have a handful of basic meals that I eat week in week out. I've kicked most of the sugar and other nasties to the curb and certainly feel the benefits.

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