Because I'm Terrible at Scrapbooks

The Health Evolution Part Three: Herbivore… or Something Like It

It has been a while since I settled in and shared some more about how I moved from gym junkie that make a few changes and started to eat less crap, to gym junkie that continued to make changes to my diet, and finally to where I am today. I thought now was a good time to get back to it and share a little more.

Last year I was buying 66 eggs a week.

66 eggs a week people

How INSANE does that sound, right!?!

Pretty much every week the person checking us out at the store would make a joke about the eggs.

BECAUSE REALLY, WHO IN THE WORLD IS BUYING 4 CARTONS OF EGGS UNLESS THEY ARE THE DUGGAR FAMILY?!

I would have five scrambled egg whites for breakfast as well as one whole egg. So I was averaging about 42 eggs a week just for breakfast. That did not count any other eggs I would consume cooking, if I ate them hard boiled, etc. So on a weekly basis I was eating at least 42 eggs- at least.

I was also going through ridiculous amounts of canned tuna and various other types of protein.

But can we please go back to the fact that every freaking week for a year I would buy 62 eggs?!

Looking back now I feel sort of embarrassed typing that.

Not that it’s “bad” I guess… but it just seems so...crazy.

I had my head so deep in the sand, and all I could think about was protein, protein, protein.

Oh geez… this post could easily be broken into about ten separate ones, but I realize that would probably make you all want to drown yourselves in egg yolks! For that reason we will power through and sort of glaze over some of the deep details for now. I’m sure at some point we will revisit these topics again one day. No need to try to cram everything into one post. Besides, my mind is going in a million directions as I recall last year, so I am most certain to miss something.

Anyway, in my part two post I mentioned I got totally serious about my diet last year. I had the working out part down pat, however to see results so much of it comes down to diet. And I was tired of putting in the work and not seeing any results, so I committed to the diet part in 2011.

And it was a good year.

While I do think I probably harmed my body in some ways during that time, I am most definitely thankful for the time too in some ways. For one, it totally confirmed how important what you eat plays into how you look. And two, it taught me discipline, how to indulge with grace (something I plan to talk about later in a later post), and how to plan my meals and prepare then in advance to avoid pitfalls.

For that I am thankful.

However the amount of fat and cholesterol and protein I was getting was way too much for my body to handle, looking back.

Protein is rough to digest, and it can really take its toll on the body if you are overdoing it. I felt sluggish- but I looked good!

How silly.

I did still have somewhat of a balance, I suppose… but not nearly the balance I should have. I cut out most fruit in my diet and limited a lot of my carbs. I would still eat slow digesting healthy carbs sometimes, but they were much more limited than they are now.I found myself always craving carbs. I wanted them badly, and when I would indulge it was always bread related. I remember on at least two occasions last year literally buying an entire loaf of Orowheat Delightful Bread and consuming the entire loaf- THE ENTIRE LOAF- on a Sunday.

That is not normal! Even for a “cheat meal.”

I felt so embarrassed and did not want Will to know I had done it, because I realized how utterly “bad” I had just eaten. I hated living with food guilt.Especially binge food guilt.

How did I not see how much I was depriving myself?

I am being a little too hard on myself, I suppose. I really did clean up my diet so very much and did eat so much healthier than I ever did before. However, as you can see, some pretty big gaps existed.

Last Christmas Will and I took another trip to our beloved Minneapolis and Green Bay, where we spent past holidays as we flew in from Kuwait on route home. During the trip, I managed to eat clean almost the entire time, being sure to enjoy certain treats I really wanted. For example, on the last day of vacation not only did I have my own piece of Perkins’ peanut butter pie, but I also got one of their giant pumpkin muffins with some sort of delicious frosting and had it soon thereafter!

It was that day, as we flew back home, that I purchased a copy of Skinny Bitch. Yeah, yeah, I know. Rude title, but hey- that’s the name of the book and it really did have an instrumental role in changing what I ate.

I had no idea what the book was about when I bought it. I just knew it was a best seller and that many women were talking about it.

I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when I opened it up to see it was a book about not eating meat! And not only that- but not eating any animal products!

A vegan lifestyle. Are you granola eating hippies kidding me!?!

When I got to the “decomposing rotting flesh diet” chapter I totally rolled my eyes. While I am most definitely not an advocate of Atkins, I think we all know my hands were not clean on the mass protein consumption topic, yes?

The book seriously opened my eyes to so much. How little the government does to protect us from what we put in our mouths and in our family’s mouths, especially when it comes to animal products. How rampant disease and pesticides and chemical crap storms are in the majority of what we eat. Let’s not even get into the whole sugar and artificial sweeteners discussion! Americans eat some pretty scary stuff, people, and the FDA and big business could care less.Not only that, but some of the stories I read of how animals are treated were downright horrifying, even to the most carnivorous carnivores.

While there were certain elements of the book I did not agree with, overall I really appreciated the perspective they offered. Yes, even a carnivore like me appreciated the book. In fact, I appreciated it so much that I decided to take a 30 day vegan challenge.

Yes, on January 1st I parted ways with all my 62 eggs. And I have not purchased a single carton since (unless I needed some for Will- and as you can imagine, I only bought a dozen as opposed to three million).

I know a lot of people that slowly transition into a vegan diet. There are many people that are vegetarians for years before they take the plunge into veganism. However, for the most part I dived right in. The only thing I did not part ways with (and still have not yet parted ways with… which maybe we will discuss down the road) is my protein powder. Yeah, yeah I know- how can I justify having that in my diet but no other products? Yeah I hear you. But I’m not a granola eating hippie, I am a health conscious person that made the decision to eliminate most animal products from my diet. Plus I do not have to justify what I eat to anyone, so there! haha

The 30 day challenge came so easily for me. By now I was a pro at meal planning, so I mapped out a vegan friendly meal plan. The 30 days came and went and it was not much of a challenge at all.

So I decided to take another 30 day challenge. Sixty days of no meat or animal products! I also began to read and research more and really open my eyes to the pros and cons of any decision I would make. I also purchased Food Revolution, another instrumental book in further confirming my decision to make the transition to a primarily plant-based diet.

And at the end of my 60 days, I just continued onward and at that point I had begun to really embrace a primarily vegan diet. It came so easy.

I began to eat again. Like really eat. To enjoy food and not to stress about getting enough protein or whether I “could” or “couldn’t” have that piece of fruit, of if something was “bad.” I just ate. And was filled, and felt so much better. So much more satisfied. So much healthier. Trust me, I still had slip-ups along the way, and I always make sure I take time to indulge so I don’t go crazy. However, I noticed my days of eating entire loaves of bread or half a pan of brownies in an afternoon were vastly minimized. I was eating real food, eating it often, and satisfying my desires in a much healthier way. My food guilt was virtually nonexistent.

I finally realized I am not Ava Cowan or Nicole Wilkins or so many of the other beautiful, strong women I look up to who devote their entire lives to training for bodybuilding competitions. While I could certainly use those girls for inspiration, I could not use them as my benchmark. I had to use myself as the measuring stick. 

I have absolutely never been a fan of the scale. I never, ever weigh myself. Ever. No really guys- EVER. I know the scale is a polarizing topic. So many women weigh regularly, while others never do. I just had to decide a long time ago that weight is a number. I am most certainly heavier than I was numbers wise than the day I got married. However I am still the same clothing size. See? Just a number. There is so much more that goes into body composition than just a number on the scale.

We are so much more than that, and are worth so much more than that.

I never weighed myself before I made the transition to veganism (though I sure would have loved to have taken my cholesterol!), but I do know my clothes started to fit better and that I had more energy than I ever did eating a million eggs a week (and yes, I realize that was extreme and that most people do not do that).

While I can’t believe the whole freaking loaf of bread incident didn’t lead me to this conclusion, I also realized I am a volume eater. I like having lots to eat, plus I am hungry a lot because of intense workouts. This lifestyle is a great fit for me because I can fill up on copious amounts of low calorie, water and fiber rich foods for so much less than other snacks. I finally allowed myself to just freaking eat. And to enjoy it, and not to stress about what was “bad” and “good.”

I do, however, still count my calories. However I do not have to get to a certain number each day. I count to make sure I do not overdo it, and as a volume eater that can be easy sometimes! The beautiful thing about this change is that I feel so much more satiated. Three hundred calories of berries or fiber-rich veggies go so much farther than a three hundred calorie coffee shop muffin (if you can even find one for that).

I think what I find the most interesting was that I was able to maintain my same muscle throughout the process. yes, I realize the whey is a contributing factor, but it is not the only factor. That was the biggest concern for me when I decided to adopt this lifestyle- how would it fit into my weight lifting passion?

And the answer is, totally fine.

In fact, in most ways it has been better because it has allowed me to eat more for less.I am sure I will discuss weight training and a vegan diet at some point down the road, but not today.

I just feel a lot more liberty in my decision. I have more freedom to eat what I want, and have found it works really well for me. Yes, I realize a primarily vegan diet may not be the ideal choice for everyone, but it is a good one for me.

So if you are wondering how Will has fared? Will has been super supportive, mainly because I have not forced this decision on him. He is supportive of me and where we go out to eat, for example, because they may offer a healthier option. He is also supportive of me when family has asked why I have decided to follow this path, always complimenting my dedication and commitment to health. I do hope in time Will is more open to making healthier food choices, but he is just not there yet.

One good thing, however, is that he has been eating much healthier dinners since I cook for both of us. I still make us the same meals, only once or twice a week I will add meat to whatever Will has, while I will go meatless. That was a compromise we struck, and Will has been fine with the meatless meals a few times a week.

I am still trying to modify recipes and try different things in hopes that he will like them better, but let’s be honest- a lot of time “fake food” does taste better to someone that is not used to a palate of wholesome foods. For example, yesterday I made a cleaned up version of peanut butter pie that had no added sugars, and Will absolutely hated it. Baby steps I suppose! I have, however, continued to make him his usual favorite indulgences but substitute the oil and eggs for other healthier options. That alone is a bit of a victory! I realize not everyone is going to be as passionate about health as I am, and so I am fine with the small steps Will has agreed to in tolerance of my lifestyle.

I think I am going to knock his socks off in a couple weeks, though! He is convinced there is no such thing as a good vegan baked good item. So I am going to treat him to Green Goodies to give him hope that they do in fact exist. smile

I will be sure to let you all know how it goes.

So there, that’s how I got to where I am today. I would challenge each of you to make a tiny change and just do a Meatless Monday meal each week. I bet you won’t even miss the meat for that one meal. And if you do? There are some pretty great fake meat options out there now that help alleviate the need to have meat at each meal.

Thanks for listening. It felt good to get this out there and admit that food has been a struggle in my life and how good it feels not to have it power over me.

If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them!

Alright, that’s all for now (haha, as if I wrote just a few paragraphs). Now I have to plan my Texas Fair survival guide!

Have a good rest of the weekend.

And Boomer! smile

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About

brittny I'm B-Love. Lover of God, my husband Will, my doggies, OU football, weight training, plyometrics healthy eating (mostly!), peanut butter, and all things health related. Buckle up and get ready for my constant embarrassing moments, health and fitness tips,and my effort to rely on Christ while living life in the real world. Follow me on Feedly! Sign up for monthly emails at blove@theblovelife.com!


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