There are many different arguments about what we should eat. Marketers, dietitians, fitness experts, activists, doctors, friends, and family fight on what should go to our plates.
Over the last 20 years, I tried carnivore, Atkins, weigh-watches, Mediterranean, and vegetation diets, to name a few. In my opinion, a plant-based diet with periodic fasting is the optimal option for weight maintenance, health, and longevity. But, unfortunately, when it comes to food choices, we often deal not just with eating for nutrition but also for entertainment, ethical, emotional, and all other kinds of reasons that are not related to food.
Although I’m 100% plant-based, I am not an activist or an environmentalist. In fact, I am a “no-ism-ist.” At this point, my health comes first. You may ask whether I care for animals or our Mother Earth? And, my answer is – yes, I deeply care. However, this is not my motivation to eat healthily. Besides, I am pretty sure that plants can feel pain. Not to mention, I feed my dog pounds of raw meat.
Why did I go Plant-Based?
In my mid-twenties, I ended up in the emergency room more often than I travel these days. When I was free of sinus infection, my stomach was protesting (no amount of painkillers would help). I was weak – an ancient woman living in a young’s girl body. So for a year, doctors fed me with antibiotics and painkillers. It is your genetics, they told me, take a pill. I was a twenty-something-year ancient dying creature. And I wanted to live.
Out of all the doctors, my dentist, may the universe bless his soul, recommended trying an elimination diet by recording what I eat and how it makes me feel. He was shocked when I showed him my meds. So, my nutritional transformation journey, like many other endeavors, began with pain, a notepad, and a pen. I carried my treasured notes with me everywhere. Slowly, I gave up all my meds, and 20 years later, I still keep a log (now in digital excel form). As a result of this exercise, over many years, I became vegetarian some 20 years ago.
In 2015, I gave up dairy and picked up fasting. I had a skiing accident and decided to take a chance with an ACL stem cell regenerative procedure. Apparently, cheese and dairy products cause inflammation and kill good cells. Fasting can bring more good cells and keep bad cells (little buggers that can grow into cancer) in check, while maintaining a healthy weight at the same time.
In 2020, I finally cleaned up my plate from vegan junk.
What is a Plant-Based Diet?
A plant-based diet is a whole foods diet consisting mostly or entirely of foods derived from plants (vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and fruits).
In The China Study, a plant-based diet was linked with veganism. However, veganism can often be associated with animal rights or environmentalism, while a plant-based diet is focusing on individual health and a wholesome diet. Not to mention, one can consume an unhealthy vegan diet rich in processed foods, bad fats, high sugars, and unhealthy salts.
My Most Inspiring Resources
Internet, libraries, podcasts, and experts on health and diet are everywhere. We live in the golden age of information. From the tips of our fingers, we can access material from ancient practices to modern science. I love to immerse myself in the world of wellness; this is one of my passions. Often, I feel like a scientist, with my body being a lab. If the concept sounds interesting, my “gut feeling” switches on. If the research is solid, I experiment. Specifically, I record what I eat and how it makes me feel: energy level in the morning, clarity of thoughts, dreams, and energy levels going to sleep. You can also try this simple method of tracking your food in a notepad or a spreadsheet. The following are my recommendations for further research.
1) Ray Cronise changed my life. He is a leading expert in the plant-based world. I like his non-dogmatic, scientific, and experimental approach. Ray has been one of my most excellent teachers (via podcasts, books, TED talks). He is a former NASA scientist and the man behind the Metabolic Winter Hypothesis.
- You can listen to the Rich Roll podcast with Ray.
- Ray’s book: The Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition. A super easy read with a ton of solid science and easy-to-make recipes.
Ray Cronise and Julieanna Hever are behind many celebrity transformations (Pen Jillette, for example), and have helped countless people change their lives. As a result of their collaboration, the most artistic and beautiful book was born.
To give you a taste, here is Ray’s answer to the most frequently asked question in one of his interviews: “Where do you get your protein?”
“We hear people clamoring about “protein,” and yet most don’t know that the tens of thousands of proteins (plural) are synthesized from just 20 amino acids. No animal makes all 20, and plants make the 9 amino acids that must come from our diet. All whole plant food contains all 20 amino acids, and this is why the ten largest mammals walking the planet—including five rhinoceroses, two elephants, the hippopotamus, the giraffe, and the gaur—don’t eat animal flesh, and yet are still plenty muscular. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices has an abundance of healthy phytonutrients and restricts nutrients that may be detrimental to health.
Get Ray Cronise and Julieanna Hever’s latest book, The Healthspan Solution, is wealthy with plant-based Healthspan research. It also contains many easy-to-make, whole-food, plant-based recipes.
3) Dr. Neal Barnard is a leading expert in the plant-based diet. Here are a few of his books:
- The Cheese Trap – Warning! This book will end your cheese addiction. To reduce inflammation and speed up healing, I gave up dairy (specifically cheese) just for a few weeks. However, after I read The Cheese Trap, I gave up dairy for good.
- 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart is a plant-based guide. Try it for just 21 days! What do you have to lose? Most likely, you will lose weight, have more energy, and feel younger!
So, my friends, I hope you are sold on the plant-based diet, and if you have any comments, please feel free to reach out. There is nothing I love more than chatting about food!
4) Dr. Michael Greger, founder of NutritionFacts.org – a non-commercial, science-based public service. It is free! There are over 1,000 videos related to nutrition research on nearly every aspect of plant-based eating.
I also love his How Not to Die Cookbook, which has a ton of healthy and easy to make meals.
5) Rich Roll is another hero of mine!
Rich Roll’s book is a work of art! Check out Finding Ultra. Rich Roll was an unhappy addict, overweight, and unhealthy. Truly yours can relate. This book is about Rich turning his life around to compete in one of the world’s toughest endurance events. In addition, he is a host for the Rich Roll Podcast, where he delves deep into the topics of plant-based and transformation.
A Few Extra Recommendations:
- Easy Comparison Between Vegetarian, Vegan, and Plant-based diets
- Plant-Based with Celebrity Nutritionist
- Easy Rice’n’Beans
- Lion’s Mane