Friday, December 16, 2011

Knowing Better

For about a week and a half now I've been on a basically vegetarian diet. What's really surprising to me is how much easier it's been than I expected. I tend to get it in my head that I need to do all this planning and preparation to make dietary changes. It really just takes awareness and determination, both of which are improved by the diet itself.

For years I've been learning about nutrition and how your body processes food, not just in a weight loss program capacity, but in a science and health research capacity. The more I learn the more I'm convinced that being completely or nearly vegetarian and even vegan is what's best for humans to maintain their health.

Because I know better, I thought that I'd continue to improve on my knowing better. I spent a bit of time researching foods that improve high cholesterol and found that what I've been eating is basically in line with multiple recommendations. Speaking of recommendations, a friend recommended "Forks Over Knives" on Netflix stream, and so do I. If you don't believe me, maybe you'll believe the research and results of doctors and patients who have reversed their diseases by diet alone.

The exact diseases they talk about in the documentary are the ones that have crippled my family. Hypertension, diabetes, cancer... these are things that could have been avoided with diet changes. It's sad to me how our culture and money motivated interests have planted (ha planted) the idea in our head that we need meat and dairy to be healthy and strong. I don't know about you, but I see an awful lot of people that eat meat that are far from healthy, myself being a prime example.

I feel like I'm doing pretty well, but I have a bit of room for improvement still. My primary cause for complaint is cookies. We are in full holiday mode and it's kind of impossible to avoid them. I've managed to do pretty well avoiding meat and fried food, but I've had some hiccups here and there.

You can see the difference with the two journals I've posted. I made a key to highlight what the different foods are so I'd have more of a visual on my eating habits. I think it's effective. More green and brown is better! They'll go to a readable size if you click on them.




Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pseudo Vegetarianism Day 3

I say pseudo because I really don't have the ethical conviction to be a true vegetarian. I'm not a fan of mass meat production so I've been trying to buy local when I can afford it, but seriously, I'm not going to join PETA anytime soon. I will say that I do like eating more toward the veggie side because I feel like it gives me really healthy manageable boundaries for my diet though.

For anyone who missed my facebook updates, I've been put on a diet by my doctor. I suppose I could choose to ignore her advice if I really wanted to, but I feel like I'd rather not be diabetic by 40.

I had a physical last month and my blood test showed that I have high cholesterol. When I've been on diets in the past, it has been both because I don't want to be fat because I feel like a whale (whale's are pretty, but definitely not sexy and not the most agile) and because I wanted to avoid health concerns later. These health concerns were always hypothetical before. Now that they're a current and present reality I feel a bit more motivated.

Here's a brief health lesson: LDL cholesterol (the kind I have too much of) is a sort of fatty putty that sticks to the inside of your arteries. When enough of it builds up, it can cause high blood pressure which leads to lots of things that aren't good such as heart attack, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, kidney failure... the list goes on. High cholesterol is the first of several steps that lead to high medical bills. HDL cholesterol is the good kind of cholesterol (it's found in things like avocados, nuts and fish) that actually helps break up bad LDL cholesterol in your arteries. I don't have very much of it.

What kind of mother would I be not only to be chubby and too low energy to play with my kid but to also be sick so she can't do anything with me and then to drain our finances with my medical costs which would deprive her of what I could give her otherwise? The answer is not good.

So now I've been instructed to cut out all meat (I didn't ask but I assume fish on occasion is okay), I'm supposed to switch anything white with the brown equivalent (bread, rice, sugar, etc...) and I'm supposed to cut out anything fried or processed. I've been advised to eat steel cut oats for breakfast every morning and to make quinoa a staple of my diet. She even told me the mandarine oranges (I was proud to have fruit in my food log) were too full of sugar and I should eat apples or bananas instead.

What really has me irritated about all of this is that I frickin know better. I've read a plethora of material on how your body processes food and what you need to eat to be healthy. I've been on several diets and am currently following (or not following) weight watchers. I could be a nutritionist with the amount of knowledge I have about food! So how the hell could I let myself get to this point?! It was shameful to have the phrase "yeah, I know better" uttered at every piece of advice my doctor gave me.

So far I've done really well on my eating program. I really like steel cut oats actually. I haven't had meat in three days. I think I'll make fish and/or chicken an allowable element of my meals on the weekends because that kind of structure really helps me. Today I tried the spicy anasazi bean burger at Burgerville. It was quite tasty I must say. I did cave and have waffle fries though. *slaps self on the hand*

I've begun to realize how incredibly addicted I've gotten to certain foods. I crave sweets in the evening really bad usually right after dinner. I catch myself rummaging around trying to avoid the smorgasbord of candy in jars around the family room. Tonight I ate a bag of those flavored almonds with dried fruit - sahale snacks. They are really yummy and healthier than candy but expensive! I allowed myself the fries today because I knew I'd end up doing something more destructive later if I denied myself everything cold turkey. I smelled fast food at the high school last night and it took a good amount of will power not to beeline to a McDonalds. How did I let it get this way? I had come so far in establishing healthier eating habits and here I am again craving donuts at 10pm. . . what I wouldn't do for a maple bar!

It's not going to be easy, but I feel like if I can do this now, I can do it for the long haul. I will reach my ultimate weight goal. I will be healthy and I will do anything to give my daughter the life I want her to have. Even if it means giving up red meat, sweets and french fries.