At the end of July I decided to radically change my diet. Well, maybe not that radically. I began eating a whole foods plant based diet after having been a vegetarian for more than 20 years. So while my current diet may seem extreme to some, for me it was a natural progression.
Most people ask the same thing, “What does whole food plant based mean?” That’s easy… it means exactly what it sounds like! No meat, eggs, dairy, or processed food. In addition, the use of salt, sugar, and oil is limited and for some removed entirely. Everything else is up for grabs: fruit, veggies, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. I know, I know…you think it’s restrictive. I promise it’s not. However, eating like this requires preparation, forethought, and creativity. In short, you must become mindful of what you’re going to put in your body and prepare accordingly. And really, isn’t that the way we should be eating anyway?
There is so much great information on plant based eating on the web and presented better than I ever could, so if you’re interested in this way of eating, I’ll put some links at the end of this post and let you peruse the sites on your own. However, I am going to share my results after four months and some introspection.
So, in four months of eating a whole foods plant based diet, this is what I’ve got:
- I lost 14 pounds (before chemo started)
- I sleep better
- Hot flashes subsided*
- Bloating gone
- Sugar cravings disappeared (after about 2.5 weeks)
- Started craving fruit and veggies
- Cooking and prepping more
- Trying new and unusual dishes more often
- Less intimidated asking waiters for help with menus
- Found a new love for potatoes and rice
- Eat as much as I want, when I want
- No calorie counting or guilt with meals
* When I first gave up dairy and eggs, my hot flashes were out of control. I realized that the amount of estrogen I was getting from those products was interfering with my hormone levels. After about 3 weeks the hot flashes began subsiding. And now, I rarely get them at all.
The only downside to the experience is that I have an eating buddy that’s had to adjust to my changing choice of restaurants and comfort foods. It makes her sad that we are not sharing plates of cheesy risotto balls and tiramisu. But she’s adjusting and I found a local place that make amazing vegan chocolate cake…so there’s hope.
All and all, it’s been a good experience and a change that I can live with. If you’re interested in learning more, visit these sites!