Commitment to Healthy Eating

Getting Started

plant based pantryAfter all, if cantaloupe is low calorie – why not eat it the whole melon? If beans are high calorie – why eat them at all? Maybe you should never have potatoes – they are a comfort food – and shouldn’t dieting be difficult? Calorie counts can skew your relationship with food and years of dieting can really screw up your ability to believe that there is a solution that works.

Today (April 2010), I met Vanessa at the library. Vanessa has lost 40 lbs by adopting this lifestyle and argues you do not need to count calories at all.

She lost her weight eating as much as she wanted, and eating whenever she was hungry.  I don’t doubt her honesty, but it is just hard to get my head around. She just wants me to succeed. I appreciated her support. However, Vanessa had always been vegetarian and had an obsession with cheese. Cheese is notably high density when it comes to calories. If you eat 8 oz of cheese a day that is about 900-1000 calories. It isn’t hard for a cheese lover, who doesn’t eat meat, to eat even more than that. Eat 2 oz at breakfast, 3 oz at lunch and dinner and that is 8 oz. If you eat it as snack food, it is easy to eat 4 more ounces in one snacking session. While most people who have obesity problems have more than one food that they over eat on – it is possible to have one food or food group that is the culprit.

After years of yo-yo dieting, it is hard to fathom that there is a lifestyle that could permanently solve my weight problems – and make me healthier. But, I am working on getting my head out of diet mode into just eating right.

 

fridge (2)

Why I am Obese?

During the last 5 years with my struggle against obesity if you were to look at my cupboards, I would pass most ‘diet police’ scrutiny. I did not purchase packaged foods. I do not keep things in the house that lay me open to temptation – I for the most part eat a clean diet.

There were no chips, processed cereals, sweet treats, or packaged prepared foods in my home – hadn’t been for 4 years now.

However, when I tried going vegan it only lasted a few months. I did go back to eating meat. It started with me deciding I would eat meat once a week and escalated to me eating meat 7 days a week. I kidded myself into believing that because I ate lots of veggies – it really didn’t matter.

Motivated

I had strong reasons for needing to lose weight. And even, over and above the weight loss potential the plant based eating lifestyle can prevent heart disease, cancer and diabetes. All of these are issues I need to take seriously. I am not getting any younger – last year was a milestone year for me – and many of my peers are now getting these serious health issues and I don’t want to be next. Moreover, although musculo-skelatal disorders which plague me, may or may not resolve on this diet, I believed my back and knees will be better if they don’t have to carry an extra 100 lbs.

Goodbye Animal Fat

So, I needed to get the meat and seafood out of my freezer.  The photos on this page show pretty much what my fridge and pantry has looked like for several years now – except for the freezer – which for the past six months was home to short ribs (my absolute favorite), steaks, chicken thighs (my preference – better than chicken breast IMHO), wild sockeye salmon, and yes, baby back ribs. Unfortunately, I prefer the fattest types of meat and not only that I have historically added tonnes of sugary sauces. That is how I got fat in the first place.

I live alone and have a BIG fridge.  I have use the entire top of my fridge as vegetable storage. I have a system. Each time I shop, I move everything that is left from my previous shopping trip to the two bins at the bottom. Then, I put the most perishable stuff at the top. Every time I prepare food, I check what is in the bins, and focus on using it..an then use from top down in the fridge. This helps me prevent food wastage.

Now my freezer is home to pre-made oil free sauces, veggies, and vegan soups. Right now, I have more than 23 different types of veggies in my house and more than 25 kinds of beans, legumes, grains, and seeds.  (And, then non-vegans think vegans are deprived?!?!) While I no longer follow a vegan diet, having followed it for a while did change my shopping patterns and helped me broaden my food selections, selecting veggies more often and at least one vegan day a week.

When is Vegan not Good Enough?

While I did lose weight when I went vegan before, I did it by counting calories and restricting myself. The reason why I did not lose weight without counting calories is because although I had eliminated animal fat, I was consuming massive amounts of olive oil (good for you right – NOT). Inspired by cooking shows, olive oil goes on top of everything. I would make a nice salad with quinoa, roasted peppers, black olives, and loads of other veggies but then I would add olive oil, cider vinegar and lots of sugar – (have to have balance, right ?!?!).

Dr. John McDougall, says “the fat you eat is the fat you wear”. So goodbye olive oil, coconut oil, and grape seed oil. It is time for change.

Animal fat is just plane bad for you – it needs to be consumed in moderation. However, it didn’t take me long to discover that Dr. John McDougall’s approach to eating was yet another diet. It doesn’t work if you consume too many nuts and ultimately if you follow his diet and curb the fats and sugars in your diet – he does not allow any added sugar – it ultimately boils down to restricting calories. So, no matter what eating regime you follow you must have a clear understanding that excessive sugar and excessive fat are the two main ways of running up your caloric intake and will result in weight gain.