This week I had someone ask me a very relevant question. I have to admit, I feel honored that someone would come to me for my take on this!
“Hey Nick. [My husband] is trying to loose weight and I am trying to eat healthier along with him. We are trying to eat less processed foods and more vegetables and protein. We will still eat meat but do you have any tips or websites of healthier food plans or recipes?”
So today, I am going to simplify this for anyone else as well who is wishing to stay fuller but eat healthier this year.
Yes, I am a vegan and have been for more than a year a half, a vegetarian for over 3 years, and kosher for over 6 years. See Dairy And Egg Free Testimonials: Nick Shell- A Year And A Half Later.
But let me be clear, this is not propaganda to try to convince people to adopt my lifestyle. It was a gradual process of several years for me. That’s why I am sharing this plan which actually includes meat.Because back in 2008, when I first starting changing my lifestyle, I was still eating meat.
So this is an invitation to adopt part of my lifestyle.
I propose that you give up all dairy, eggs, and high fructose corn syrup for an entire month. I want you to see what life is like when you free yourself of those ingredients alone. From there, you can decide whether this is something you would like to maintain.
I want to clarify why I am suggesting you specifically eliminate all dairy, eggs, high fructose corn syrup, and soda from your diet. See Dairy And Egg Free Testimonials: Ben Wilder, 6 Months Later.
Specifically, I am going to focusing on the concept of avoiding cholesterol from dairy and eggs, but focusing on “good fats” from plants. Plants do contain a small amount of cholesterol, but never enough to even register as 1% on the food label! That’s pretty cool. See I Survived A Year Of Being A Vegan, Part 1.
My plan also helps you avoid processed foods.
There are 7 things I’m saying you can eat, and 5 that you can’t:
Can eat: vegetables, fruit, grains (rice, pasta, oats, etc.), beans, nuts, seeds, and yes… meat.
Can not eat: dairy, eggs, high fructose corn syrup, soda (even diet), and fruit juice.
I am a vegan who is telling you that if you’ll abide by the rest of my criteria, you can still get away with eating meat.
Granted, it will still largely increase your chances of cancer, diabetes, and stroke in the long run…
But for someone who is new to this whole “plant-based lifestyle,” I’m not going to tell you to get rid of meat… yet. That part will work itself out later on your end.
Dairy (anything containing milk):
This mucus-like substance is a product of the endocrine system. When we get sick, we typically produce an abundance of mucus to help wash out the foreign substance and infection. So imagine how your body reacts to having a foreign mucus from a different species in your body. That explains why so many people notice their allergy and sinus problems greatly diminish once they eliminate dairy 100%.
Not to mention, milk products contain the fat from the animal as well. The more dairy you consume, the higher your cholesterol… more on that in a minute.
The 0% Cholesterol Substitute: Switch to almond milk. Substitute cheese with cashews for pasta dishes (mix ½ cup almond milk with ½ cup cashes, in a blender, for a sauce) and avocado for Mexican-type dishes.
The main reason to stay away from eggs is the cholesterol. I challenge you right now to walk over to your refrigerator and check out the daily cholesterol intake of just one egg. It’s going to most likely be close to at least 60% of your daily intake. And again, that’s just one egg!
The 0% Cholesterol Substitute: In baking, switch to applesauce and/or chia seeds. You’ll still be able to bake just fine without the eggs and dairy; my wife has been doing that for quite a while now.
High Fructose Corn Syrup:
This is the most processed form of sugar. When you consume high fructose corn syrup, your body spends the rest of the day searching for the rest of the food that naturally came with the corn it was derived from.
In other words, you are constantly hungry because your body knows it was tricked.
The 0% Cholesterol Substitute: Eat whole fruit. Bananas, oranges, apples… whatever kind of fruit you want.
Historically, the human race has depended on fruit as a snack or dessert. Fruit is packed with not only sugar, but also fiber, which serves as the combo your body is actually wanting.
Soda: Whether it’s sweetened with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or whatever strange artificial sweetener, there’s a reason people like me won’t drink it. It’s too unnatural to what the human body can legitimately toleration. If nothing else, soda (no matter how it’s sweetened) will ultimately make you hungrier.
Instead, drink water. My daily goal is to drink at least 2 liters of water per day, if not 3.
Fruit Juice: It’s the same thing with fruit juice: sugar water. Your body spends the rest of the day trying to consume the rest of the fruit.
So it’s simple, just eat the fruit. Don’t drink it- unless, you mix up it in a blender, which doesn’t extract the fruit’s sugar from its fiber. Your body was designed to digest all of the fruit, not just the water and sugar from it.
Now, To Get Started…
Keep in mind that you want to substitute fatty foods with cholesterol (like cheese) with fatty foods without cholesterol (avocados, nuts, seeds). Fat from plants is good and necessary; please make sure you are getting plenty of fats from plants each day. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to eat dairy and eggs.
Breakfast: Your body wants oats. But don’t waste your money on packaged oatmeal which contains sugar and weird chemicals. Just buy a canister of plain oats. From there, mix in some hot water or almond milk, slice up a banana, throw in some almonds or cashews, and break off a square on unsweetened (and therefore dairy-free) square of baking chocolate.
Or, use your blender to make an awesome smoothie. Pour in one cup of almond milk, a banana, a tablespoon of chia seeds, a cup of a 2nd fruit in its whole form (like strawberries, blueberries, pineapple).
Lunch: Eat your leftover dinner from last night. See below…
Dinner: For the most part, most of your meals can be Italian (pasta, pizza, lasagna) and Mexican (burritos, enchiladas, or even just rice and beans with salsa and avocado). That’s mainly what our family does.
The majority of our family’s recipes come from this website: Oh She Glows. You will not disappointed once you try her recipes.
Make sure you have a dark green salad every night with dinner; there’s a lot of protein in dark green vegetables.
And for good dairy and egg free desserts you can make, please visit Gluten Free Vegan Girl.
Please consider my plan. Other “diet” plans are going to make you count calories and even go hungry at times.
My plan allows you to eat as long as you’re hungry, but just to cut out 5 things:
Dairy, eggs, high fructose corn syrup, soda (even diet), and fruit juice.
And don’t forget the things you can eat:
Vegetables, fruit, grains (rice, pasta, oats, etc.), beans, nuts, seeds, and yes… meat.
This has been your introduction to beginning a plant-based lifestyle. Sure, ideally, I’d love to see you stop eating meat, because long term it largely increases your chances of cancer and disease.
But for now, just try this.
Also, there are some wonderful documentaries on Netflix that back up everything I have to say:
Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change.
I will close by reminding you that I once started from somewhere too. Don’t get overwhelmed. Just start here and feel free to ask me any questions. I am happy to help you in your journey to a healthier life!