We can all probably relate to feeling tired at work, sluggish in the morning, and lazy on the weekend, at some point in our lives, right? Well, I was feeling that way almost every day.
While I was a normal size, I knew I was starting to gain some weight from my lazy behavior and terrible, truly awful diet.
I, my friends, was your classic "unhealthy vegan."
Registered dietitian Whitney Stuart of Whitness Nutrition told me this isn't that unusual. She has vegan clients come in and act surprised when she says they don't eat enough vegetables.
"But I'm vegan!" they tell her. Well, you still have to eat vegetables, and whole grains, and fruits, if you want to benefit from your vegan diet.
I was not. And it was showing. My terrible diet coupled with my desk job left me bloated. I had time for exercise over my breaks or on the weekends, but wasn't actually doing it. I knew that a first step to changing my energy levels would be my diet, so I decided to switch to a whole-food, plant-based diet, which has been touted as one of the healthiest out there.
A whole-food, plant-based diet doesn't mean vegan, Stuart told me. It just means you should think about plants first in every meal, and make them at least half of your plate. Meat, dairy, eggs, and fish should be secondary to plants. I was content to sticking with my veganism, I just had to fine-tune it to actually benefit from it.
I never meant to lose weight, but I found I went from my post-college weight back down to my college weight (a weight I had been at most of my adult life, and considered comfortable for me.) At the end of six weeks, I'd dropped 10 pounds, and I have no intentions of going back to my old, processed and sugar filled diet.
Here's the emotional roller coaster I took cutting out sugar and processed foods:
Before my diet, I was addicted to processed white carbs and fake vegan cheeses. While they're delicious, vegan cheeses are mostly processed and shouldn't be consumed for three meals a day. I liked waking up to (vegan) quesadillas, having grilled cheese at lunch, and mac and cheese at dinner. Other times I'd have fake turkey with fake mayo on white bread.
White refined carbs, like white bread and white pasta, don't let your body know you're full, so you eat a lot more than you need. It also creates spikes and then drops in blood sugar, making you feel crappy later on.
My new diet rules were: no added sugar (natural sugar like apples were okay), no processed foods (think fake meats), and no refined carbs (white pasta, white rice, etc). And focus on veggies, fruits, and nuts — lots of them.
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August 11, 2017 at 11:05AM