I thought when I went vegan that it would be the hardest ‘diet’ I had ever attempted, but much to my surprise, it has been one of the easiest changes to make in life thus far. If you know me, you know that my love of meat was not small. I really didn’t like chicken, so giving that up wasn’t exactly something I feared, but medium-rare steak, any and all seafood, and bacon (oh my dear sweet bacon), those were the things I feared not eating most. Not to mention the nearly nightly snack with my hubby of red wine and a couple ounces of fine cheese and olives. Also, lest I forget, the creamy goodness of ice cream of every flavor. But somehow, what resonated with me was that if I was going to do this, I needed to commit to it. Something I just simply hadn’t been able to do with any other change in diet before. I was hell-bent that I would stick to this for at least the 12 weeks mentioned in the book that started this ball rolling to begin with, and my diet has evolved in the last couple of months to become less about sticking to the idea of 80/10/10 and more about what WHOLE nutrition really looks like for me.
Typically, I share a bit of information with a new recipe I’ve created or tried, but I think it’s really important to consider the food from the aspect of what is whole nutrition? The thing is, whether you started on this path we share because of your love of animals, or like me, your desire to be thinner, eventually it is only organic that you find yourself considering what nutrition is. I mean, if you care about the well-being of the animals, surely you care about yours as well! I personally found that the more I learned about the other reasons for becoming vegan, the more I understood the responsibility I had to maintain it, and that being vegan was more than my waistline or thinner legs, and had a ripple effect that truly would impact my family, animals of all kinds, the earth, and my quality of life. Say what?!??!! Oh yeah, that old saying “you are what you eat” pretty damn true. I mean, of course we all know this, but when we’re stuffing dos Big Macs down our gullet with a Super-size me fry and a Big Glug of ‘diet’ death, we don’t slow down to breath, much less consider whether we want to be that Big Mac! But think about it, how are you feeling today? This was the driving factor for me once I peeled my now-open eyes away from the rights movement, the size in my pants, and the scale.
So while I am an accountant who happens to just be a super-duper science geek, so not even close to being capable of giving health advice (read that as a disclaimer; I am not responsible for you!), I have stumbled upon some info that may just make you stop and consider too. First, most vegans, even baby vegans, know that there are simply some nutrients we struggle to get, but just how this affects you is something you’ll have to figure out. Here’s what I do, and maybe it will give you some pause. I’ve started taking multi-vitamins religiously every day! I take a B-12 supplement with my dinner every day! I have a smoothie every day for breakfast that has a super-food shake in it! I use Cron-O-Meter to measure my nutrient intake daily! I spent hours reading about food ratios (proteins, fats, carbs) to figure out what mine should be! I find a way to exercise intensely for 45-60 minutes at least 5 days a week!
Now, is this what you should do? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s what is working for me. And here’s why… 1. The multi helps me fill in gaps I miss in foods, because face it, no matter how clean we eat, there are always days where we miss a little something. This just helps ensure that what I’m missing is less than it would be otherwise, and gives me a little boost in health. 2. Every vegan should take B-12. As you can see, I am capable with monitoring my nutrients to avoid being low in what it takes to be beyond healthy, but B-12 is the one nutrient I simply am unable to get without the supplement, so down it goes! 3. My smoothie was started out of an ease of access, and once I started on the trail of true nutrition realized its also an easy way to slip in a ton of extra nutrients to fuel my body. Look for a complete review of 3 major brands of meal super-food powders in the upcoming week or so. Maybe my effort in trying them out can help you too! 4. Cron-O-Meter is the single most important tool I’ve used to date. Why? Because it allows me to put all my food in in a matter of minutes and see exactly what my whole nutrition looks like. If you aren’t familiar with it, then comment on this post or email me and I’ll explain more detail how it can help you too. 5. While I think people who are able to do the 8/1/1 ratio or more LFRV versions of the vegan diet are great, it simply doesn’t work for me. I work out so hard and am lacking in very specific areas of my diet that I’ve found I am able to lose the excess weight, feel best, and work out with the most energy when my ratio is 30% proteins, 50% carbs, & 20% fats.
That being said, I try not to focus too hard on this and instead use that and the energy monitoring to give me guidelines, it’s the nutrients I watch most closely. 6. There are some really great vegans out there who explain that exercise is not needed to lose weight, but that doesn’t mean you should do it! Not only is it excellent to help with weight management, I feel better when I’ve really pushed my body. My muscles have tone, I feel younger, I never get sick, and it’s what our bodies have evolved to do; move!
Okay, so since today my post is basically a diatribe of what’s been changing in my life, I won’t leave you totally hanging. I’ve tried a few recipes these past few days from a couple other bloggers whom I totally admire and adore. I won’t post their recipes here, because that’s just not nice, but I will link you to them so you can enjoy the gloriousness of their genius! Mushroom Stuffed Phyllo I followed this recipe exactly except I used a power green blend of kale, spinach, and chard! Avocado Coconut Ice Cream I followed this recipe almost as written, but sub’d soy milk for anything dairy and added cocoa nibs to it for more texture. I’ll be playing round with this idea to come up with a perfected ice cream that’s healthy in the coming weeks!