I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog, therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.
Last week I told you all about the personal reasons that got me re-evaluating the way I eat, although I was absolutely sure I was doing everything right- my body was telling me otherwise.
So I listened- and decided that being precise might be the key to understanding the situation.
In case you are asking yourself what the big deal is -I need to say that because I’ve been vegan for more than 9 years now, I’ve grown accustomed to feeling invincible.
Yes, I am aware of how this sounds, but being vegan in a mostly carnivore society- and mainly- in a carnivore home is definitely a challenge- when the reasons to become vegan are not dislike of meat and poultry and cheese and fish- on the contrary- I loved all of these- but the choice I made to watch Gary Yurofski’s film that changed my life totally- I simply couldn’t ignore the facts anymore, the connection between the animals I love and the food I love was made, and that was that. but I told myself that it was true that hamburgers and steaks were gone- but! “vegans are always super healthy and fit, and don’t need to battle with mundane carnivore problems such as that wretched midlife midsection overload”.
Turns out that as far as I was concerned- only the part about bidding farewell to burgers and steaks was right.
Since my retirement at 50- and until now- just celebrated 54- I packed around 12 pounds- all of them mysteriously gathering around my waist, making me heavier and slouchier and more tired and less able to be as quick and light and sporty as I used to be.
So I searched the web and found a site called “forks over knives” -that promotes whole foods and plant-based nutrition, and then read more of what Dr. Neal Barnard -a true expert in my opinion has to tell us about the proper way to fuel our bodies, and started drawing charts.
Because I am a huge believer in facts first. that’s why.
Even if someone is considered an expert- I will check the facts myself.
I have free time, and I believe that my health is an important enough subject for me to do the search. so I did. and I am writing down the results so you can ride free.
But as always- do your own research too! never ever take anybody’s word for anything before checking it yourself to see if it’s true and if it fits you and your lifestyle and goals.
In my charts, I wrote all the essential information I needed to compare different sorts of plant-based protein and whole grains, as I decided to take Dr. Barnard’s advice to focus on the veggies and fruits as my baseline-meaning I will have an extensive and colorful raw salad every day- and add a cup of cooked protein or a cup of whole grains to every salad I will make. to this, I will add my staple oatmeal breakfast and an assortment of fruits as a healthy raw snack in between.
The goal was to eat enough calories so I could reach around 30 grams of protein a day, the same amount of fiber -since fiber is almost as important as protein for our bodies, and try- for the initial period -to lower the fat content of my food to 25 grams, so I can try to regain my former energy and lightness of move.
The other decision I made was to make sure this was not going to be a fast thus un- sustainable change, that may result in some pounds shed but will make me hate every minute of the journey resulting in nothing in the long run.
I decided I was trying to find the ultimate way for me to make changes that will last for a long time– because everything was so yummy and made me feel so good and healthy.
Add to this my intermittent fasting method- which is a method I use constantly and I know for sure that if it wasn’t for the intermittent fasting -I would be in for at least double the work to be done.
I wasn’t sure this goal could be achieved, because I was always told you need to choose- between raising your children calmly and succeeding at work, between having fun and achieving, and between enjoying your food and staying fit and healthy.
So for the past 4.5 months, I’ve been on this journey, and I want to tell you that at first, it wasn’t easy.
I eliminated all external oils and sugars -including olive oil, nuts, and dates, stopped “drinking my calories” -meaning making a smoothy I gulped without actually realizing it, and made sure I knew what exactly I was eating- and what nutrients it consisted- so my food choices were balanced and nutritious.
My body needed to adapt to the changes, and my taste buds needed time to adjust, but I seem to have adjusted, and finally, I am just rolling with my new habits and relaxing.
It also took some time to go back to writing everything I ate in my Fitbit food journal, but-
I am a creature of habit. most days I eat the same breakfast (oat-flax-chia porridge with banana), have the same fruits for a snack, and eat a huge fresh salad with a cup of cooked legume or a cup of grains. I finish everything with a cut apple sprinkled with some cinnamon.
What I make sure to change every day is the type of legume and grain I eat, and the salad veggie choices.
This is why the charts mentioned above were so important- because I needed to make sure all the optional meals were more or less at the same level of nutrition, so as not to start a riot between days.
here is the main chart I use:
|1 cup of cooked Food||calories||protein||Fiber||vitamins||cost||easy cooking?|
|green/red lentils||230||18 grams(!)||15.6||iron, B, zinc||super cheap||easy- soak then steam for 15 minutes|
|red beans||225||15||13||thiamin. B. manganese||cheap||a bit of a hassle-soak overnight then cook for 2 hours|
|chickpeas||269||14.5||12||vitamin A, C, iron. and calcium.||cheap||a bit of a hassle-soak overnight then cook for 2 hours|
|1/3 block tofu+1 cup green peas||225||20(!)||7.6||a lot||medium cost||easy- cut and stir fry -no oil needed|
|cooked spelt grains||250||11||7.5||iron. manganese, niacin||cheap||easy- soak for 30 minutes then steam|
|cooked quinoa||220||8||5||magnesium. zinc, folic acid, manganese||not cheap||easy easy easy-soak and steam shortly|
|cooked bulgur||165||6.2||9||B3. K, calcium, iron, potassium||cheap||about the easiest: even just soaking in hot water can be enough|
|cooked buckwheat||150||5.5||5.5||calcium. iron||cheap||like bulgur|
|cooked brown rice||240||5||5||iron, zinc, Mangan||not super cheap||can be a bit of a hassle- long cooking time|
|1 tbsp chia seeds||80||3||6||a lot!||I buy in bulk-relatively cheap- 3$ for 500 grams||soak the night before|
|1 tbsp ground flax seeds||37||2||2||omega 3!||cheap||hassle-free-can stand heating!|
This chart allows me to play with my designated lunch protein and the important thing I’ve learned is to be creative and as colorful as possible.
You can see my results concerning my fitness level. my relatively fast heart rate -which was on the incline from January to April-started to decline starting may- and dropped 11 beats per minute since then. (the slower your heart beats during rest time- the better your fitness level- according to Fitbit).
I also lost almost all the pounds I packed since retirement. though not all.
I consider the results encouraging.
see you next week-
Enjoy- the cooliflower.