Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012 - The Year of the Vegetarian?

Over the past few months Chris and I have managed to enact a lifestyle change.
It started the week after Thanksgiving when we both committed to a Raw Diet Cleanse. We agreed to eat only raw fruits and vegetables for as long as we could. After some research we decided that at least 7 days was required. We found some quick and easy raw recipes on which got us started. For me I had a headache on day 4 but suddenly on day 5 I had tons of energy and felt amazing. After 7 days we decided to allow cooked fruits and vegetables, but still no meat dairy or really any carbs. After 14 days I had lost 20 lbs, I was more clear headed, I was sleeping better, waking up easier and felt great.

Some friends recommended that we check out the documentary Forks Over Knives. We always try to be subjective when watching documentaries, keeping in mind that they have a natural bias etc, however we found the studies and evidence presented to be very persuading. They suggest that consuming a 'whole foods plant based diet' is not only healthier but can prevent and even reverse heart disease and cancer. That combined with the dietary changes we'd already made led us to decide to give the whole foods diet a chance.

So for Christmas Chris bought me the book by one of the scientists featured in Forks over Knives, Dr. Esselstyn, in it they outline the dietary 'Rules' and about half the book is recipes that fall within the Rules. However, we believe strongly in the 'moderation' philosophy and the Rules are pretty darn extreme.

We've been watching other documentaries as well such as Food Inc and Ingredients. All of which also have us thinking about where food comes from and the amount of energy used to get it to us and the hormones and pesticides used on our foods.

My brother and his wife took on a food experiment about a year ago and started a blog - - and I think over time we're growing more toward a slightly moderate version of their way of thinking. Stuff we've learned from them, combined with reading, documentaries and simply how we feel on our new diet has convinced us to make the following changes in our house going forward.

  •  Meat has been rare in our house for years, ever since I went back to a vegetarian diet, however going forward our house will be entirely vegetarian. On rare special occasions I will get meat for Chris from local sources only.
  • Carbs are now a treat, especially complex carbs like bread and pasta, when they make an appearance we stick to wheat or whole grain
  • Whenever possible leave fruits and veggies raw
  • No more milk or cream - we've both switched to Almond Milk
  • Cheese is now a rare treat - we thought about no dairy but yogurt and cottage cheese have stuck around

Because we've cut back so drastically on carbs and meat is gone, most of our meats are completely vegetables. We keep trail mix around for snacks, and have experimented with lots of new recipes and spices.

It's been fun in some ways though it can be challenging when I've worked a 10 hour day and just want something easy. But we're learning new tricks and recipes to fill the gaps we find.

I got my parents to watch ForksOverKnives and they surprised everyone and decided to cut out all meat and dairy as well. John and Laura only eat local, happy meat so now the whole family is basically vegetarian which makes it even more fun since we're all on the same adventure together.

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