Plant Based Eating...Knowledge is Power

On Monday I promised to talk about the two documentaries I watched over the weekend as part of Tough Tuesday, however I ended up having a job interview yesterday followed by a long trip to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods and then class so needless to say here we are...

Bernard and I love to cozy up with Netflix on the weekends when it's too cold to want to be outdoors and this past weekend that's exactly what we did.  We watched two documentaries that I would daresay are life changing.  I am all about whole living, whole foods, and moderation but now after I've been given all this knowledge I feel like it may be time to tweak my philosophy.

The Films

The first documentary we watched was Forks over Knives and as mentioned in the title it is about a plant based diet with little to no meat.  We've all been taught that lean protein is best and that our bodies need meat in order to grow muscle and maintain healthy.  After watching this film I can honestly say that I think we've been lied to and really need to think back to how our ancestors lived.  Back in the day we were all hunter/gatherers and lived on the land through eating wild leaves and berries and rarely ate meat because it was hard to come by in comparison to foraging the land for plants.  Even in the early days of agriculture things were different from present day.  Sure we ate meat, but not anywhere times the amount that we do now or even close to the amount in the 1950s.  I found this documentary to be life changing and want to start implementing the concept a little at a time.  The movie also featured people who reversed cancer, beat diabetes, and lowered their cholesterol levels dramatically by adopting this lifestyle because they used food as medicine to treat their sickness or ailment.

The second film that we watched was Hungry for Change which capitalizes on America's obsession with processed food.  The documentary also makes note that when we exam the way other people across the globe consume food we should be ashamed of ourselves.  Other countries are consuming foods that have a low caloric intake with a high nutrient payoff, while Americans spend more on health care than anyone else and are packing on pounds.  We pack on pounds because we are eating foods that are high in calories (because they are processed) and nutrient poor so our bodies tell us they are still hungry.  Our bodies are hungry for nutrients, not calories.  Think about an apple in comparison to an apple pop tart.  This film also sheds a little bit of light on the juicing trend.  While people are arguing that extracting only the juice from a vegetable or fruit is not the same as eating it whole, we must realize that we are not eating enough plants regardless of how they are ingested.  So if it is easier for a person to juice 5-6 pounds of leafy greens rather than eating them throughout the day, then why not?  This documentary is a great education tool for how processed foods work in your body and how they confuse your mind.  One gentleman even relates the coca leaf and cocaine to corn and high fructose corn syrup because both the coca leaf and corn are nutrient rich foods that have value but when modified and then further chemically modified they can become dangerous.

Change is a Good Thing

I would not consider myself a radical person and I think it will take some time to adopt a vegetarian/vegan/plant based diet but ultimately that's what I want.  Bernard and I have challenged ourselves with eating only plant based dinners for the week and I have challenged myself to not eat meat this week at all.  I am still eating dairy, but really trying to limit myself to 1-2 servings a day.  I love my Chobani Greek yogurt and a slice of cheddar to accompany fruit as a snack, but ultimately I would love to be able to only have dairy a couple of times a week when all is said and done.  I thought I would miss my turkey sandwich or chicken breast with dinner, but I really haven't at all.  Three days down and lots more to go of course, but so far so good .  I have started to look forward to eating big salads and fresh foods.  The best part about it is that I feel full and satisfied after eating.  I am not hungry because my body is getting plenty of nutrients and I am not stuck counting calories because vegetables are low caloric foods in general.  For you skeptics, we are still getting plenty of protein through whole grains, seeds, nuts, and vegetables but the difference is I feel sharp minded, less fatigued, and am not bloated or sluggish at all.  I have even been able to wake up without an alarm after 8 hours of sleep instead of oversleeping and getting 9-9.5 hours per night and still feeling exhausted when waking.

This is what we had for dinner on Monday night.  I made fried brown rice with lots of corn, peas, and carrots accompanied with garlic vegetables (edamame, french green beans, and broccoli).  Bernard loved it and so did I.  It may seem like there is a lot of rice, but there are equal amounts of brown rice to the corn, peas, and carrots so it's very satisfying.


Besides just wanting to go without meat this week and limit dairy there are also a few other things I would like to do.  I used to use my juicer all the time and then well I didn't.  I think now is a perfect time to start juicing again.  After all, who doesn't want to feed their body with incredible nutrients, drink something tasty, and have perfect skin and hair?  I will be posting the juice recipes that I try and will be sure to let ya'll know how they turn out.  I even went crazy at whole foods yesterday buying stuff to juice and also delicious plants to eat throughout this week.

That's 2+ lbs of organic baby spinach, a pint of grape tomatoes, half a hothouse cucumber, parsley, mint, a large bag of baby kale, strawberries, mango, and a navel orange.

My produce drawer is about to explode with a 5 lb bag of organic carrots, large bag of seedless grapes, two bags of celery, and three juicy pears.

I know that this looks like a large amount of produce and it is, but keep in mind there are two of us and I will be juicing most of it within 5-7 days.  All in all I would say that this weekend was an eye opener and revolutionary when it comes to our obesity epidemic and health crisis.  You may think I am a little extreme but...

“Some people think the “plant-based, whole foods diet” is extreme.  Half a million people a year will have their chests opened up and a vein taken from their leg and sewn onto their coronary artery.  Some people would call that extreme.” - Dr. Esselstyn (Forks over Knives)

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