6 Months After Quitting My 7 Years as a Vegetarian and 5.5 Years as a Vegan: How Do I Eat Now? High Protein Kosher, Similar to Paleo

Even though I only publicly admitted it recently, it was actually 6 months ago that I decided to retire from my dedicated plant-based stage of life, which coincided with most of my 8 year-old son’s life.

After I made the announcement, one of my nieces was shocked, reaching out to me, saying, “I’m pretty sure you have been a vegan for most of the time I’ve known you, ha ha. So you eat cheese pizza now?”

My answer: Well, I could… but I don’t… not really.

(To find a funny t-shirt like this one for the lowest price on Amazon, click here.)

Here’s what I do eat now:

Certain kosher meats, but only if they are baked or broiled, never fried or processed (like in a “nugget” form).

Wild caught fish: mainly salmon, cod, mahi mahi, and even anchovies; but not tuna, which instantly causes my dyshodrotic eczema to return. And definitely never shellfish: shrimp, scallops, lobster, etc. (They are not kosher.)

Chicken, without the skin.

Turkey, but I don’t really like it.

Beef, but never with dairy, like cheese; which is part of keeping kosher.

Eggs, whey powder, and cheese, but not milk.

(To check out the whey isolate protein powder I consume on a daily basis, click here to find the best deal on Amazon.)

I see no reason to drink milk from an animal; not only because it contains more sugar than most people realize, but I attribute milk as the reason my sinuses and allergies used to be so horrible.

Vegetables, but not cooked in heavy oils.

Fruit, with no limitations.

Grains and potatoes, but only on occasion:

I am intentionally strictly avoiding flour (like wheat pasta or wheat pizza dough), hydrogenated oils, and processed sugar.

So would I eat a cheese pizza? I have; several times.

But I realized that it goes against what I am trying to accomplish; which is to have a permanent, healthy and balanced diet which will allow me to comfortably fit back into my size 32 pants again.

I have learned to appreciate grilled chicken pesto pizza on gluten-free, cauliflower crust.

Could I eat a cheeseburger? No, because it’s combining beef with dairy; which isn’t kosher.

Could I eat a hamburger? I could, but I’m not in a hurry to, since that would involve a lot of bread.

I think that ultimately, new identity as an ex-vegan consists of a dietary regiment that is still as disciplined as being a vegan, though it’s a lot less restricting.

(To check out the high protein, whey-based bars I eat on a daily basis, click here to find the best deal on Amazon.)

In the past 6 months, I have loss and kept off 5 pounds since I stopped being a vegan. And because I have been faithfully working out using Darebee.com, it is my belief that the reason I am not continuing to lose more weight right now is that the muscle I am building weights more than the fat.

I’m thinking that within another 6 months, I’ll have more confirmation and clarity for Operation: Comfortably Fit in My Size 32 Pants Again.

If not, I’ll keep being open-minded until I figure it out.

Vegan Confession: I am Addicted to Overeating

This is my secret…

Being a vegan keeps my addiction of overeating in check. I can’t trust myself with eating animal products. And I shouldn’t.

I’ve overeaten my entire life. Before and since becoming a vegan.

Vegan Confession: I am Addicted to Overeating

As a kid, I got away with it because I had a high metabolism. As a 4th grader, I remember how I would get the Double Whopper combo meal and finish it all.  I would eat at buffets, consuming more food that most adults; and I know this because adults would tell me.

In my mind, if I wasn’t overeating, I wasn’t really eating.

As a teen and young adult, I would be the guy who would eat the most pizza or the most fried chicken at gatherings.

My metabolism finally caught up with me full swing by the time I got married, at age 27. That’s when my health problems came in full swing, as well. Even though my metabolism slowed down, my desire to overeat never did.

Vegan Confession: I am Addicted to Overeating

As you know by now, committing to the vegan lifestyle over 3 years ago has eliminated and kept my former health issues in remission; including eczema (dyshidrosis), constant sinusitis, pet allergies, and sinus pressure.

I’ve realized that one of the many benefits of being a vegan is that, for the most part, I can pretty much each as much as I want of the food I am able to eat.

Now granted, eating oily tater tots and sugary vegan chocolate bars did cause me to gain 7 pounds in the past year while I was “sympathy eating” with my pregnant wife.

But when I stick with my normal regimen of veggies, fruit, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds, I’ve learned that I can get away with “overeating”. Ultimately, I just don’t have to worry about counting calories or portion control.

Vegan Confession: I am Addicted to Overeating

The reason for this is because by sticking with those 6 food groups, I am eating food solely for nutrition, including my daily allowance of protein and good fats; yet with 0% of my daily allowance of cholesterol.

I overeat simply because it’s fun. I openly admit this.

I’m not overeating because of some traumatic event in my life, nor because I feel incomplete in some way. I just simply like eating more food that I need to.

It’s fun.

Vegan Confession: I am Addicted to Overeating

If I ever went back to eating meat, eggs, and dairy, I would go so far the other way with it. I know it. I would be visiting the Wendy’s drive-thru on a daily basis.

Eating food is something I can’t be trusted with. I have no control when it comes to food.

Therefore, I keep myself safe behind the electric fence of veganism.

I am not addicted to alcohol. I have never used drugs.

But when it comes to food, I rely on the strict limitations of veganism in order to keep myself from getting out of control… because I am an addict of overeating.

Vegan Confession: I am Addicted to Overeating

Processed Meats Cause Cancer… Really, That’s News? (7 Reasons We Still Meat)

“Doesn’t anyone notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

I admit I was pretty baffled when a “news story” went viral yesterday, referring to the new report that shows processed meats are linked to causing cancer.

Sorry, but I have to reference Mugatu from Zoolander on this one:

“Doesn’t anyone notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

How is this a news story? How is it not common sense that eating processed meats leads to cancer?

It’s this simple: There is good fat and there is bad fat. Good fats prevents cancer, bad fats cause cancer.

(Your homework assignment is to watch Forks Over Knives, on Netflix; which is where I first learned this.)

Good fats come from plants, like cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and coconuts. Good fats contain zero percentage of your daily cholesterol allowance. Good fats are good for you.

While there is a microscopic amount of cholesterol in good fats (plant fats), it’s impossible to reach even just 1% of your daily intake of cholesterol from those alone.

Meanwhile, bad fats come from animals. Animal fat contains a bare minimum of 1% of your daily cholesterol.

But it’s not just meat that’s the problem. One regular size chicken egg contains about 68% of your daily cholesterol allowance. And that’s just one egg. Nobody eats just one egg.

So imagine if you eat 2 eggs for breakfast, you’ve already more than maxed out on your cholesterol for the daily allowance, and that’s not even considering the cholesterol in any cheese or meats for the rest of the day.

Yes, I know… I’m the crazy vegan here. But I am really all that crazy? 

https://familyfriendlydaddyblog.com/2015/10/13/surviving-2-5-years-as-a-vegan-10-frequently-asked-questions-faqs/

At this point, people deflect by making a lousy and unscientific claim that vegans don’t get enough protein.

The thing is, when you nix animal products from your diet, you are forced to eat from six food groups: veggies, fruits, grains, seeds, nuts, and seeds.

They all contain protein.

And I am healthy, living proof that a human being can exist as a vegan (without the dependence on any animal products) for the past 2 and a half years; not to mention I have been a vegetarian for the past 4 years.

The best I can figure, we as a nation continue to consume meat (and all other animal products; including eggs and dairy) for these reasons:

1) It’s more convenient.

2) It’s the social norm.

3) We are emotional connected to consuming animal products.

4) We think it’s necessary for our nutrition.

5) We think it’s cheaper than eating “health food”.

6) We haven’t been properly educated on the subject.

7) We don’t know specifically what to eat instead.

Let me address those personally from my own journey…

https://familyfriendlydaddyblog.com/2015/10/13/surviving-2-5-years-as-a-vegan-10-frequently-asked-questions-faqs/

1) To be fair, I agree that eating animal products and other processed foods is more convenient. But to me the convenience isn’t worth me being unhealthy again, like I used to be when I ate that way.

2) Being a vegan makes me a minority (only about 2.5% of the American population), but I never minded being “the weird one” in the group. My “alternative lifestyle” is not really socially acceptable, but that doesn’t change anything for me.

3) The emotional connection I had to eating animal products was the hardest part for me to psychologically overcome. But that’s all it is… just emotions. I am stronger than that. I control my emotions; they don’t control me.

4) I’m living proof that a vegan can easily be healthy, and my personal doctor agrees.

5) Is it cheaper to eat meat? Well, I save money by not buying meat or dairy or eggs, for one. Plus, I’m pretty much unable to eat out at restaurants, so that saves money. According to my wife, our grocery bill is about the same as when we did eat meat. Not to mention, I require no medications either.

6) Thanks to scientifically based documentaries like Forks Over Knives on Netflix, we all can learn the truth.

7) Read vegan recipe blogs like Oh She Glows to learn quick and easy vegan meals. That’s how our family got our recipe library.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I am here to enlighten anyone who is curious!

Surviving 2.5 Years as a Vegan: 10 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

It is my goal to be the coolest vegan you know.

Surviving 2.5 Years as a Vegan: 10 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When I first started out as a vegan, back in April 2013, I definitely wasn’t that cool. I was overzealous and a bit of a loaded cannon.

But I learned from my mistakes and matured from the process; which is what should happen for those of us (like you reading this) who are indeed the emotionally intelligent human beings we think we are.

I polished up my craft over the years. These days, I can very efficiently explain my unconventional lifestyle when people approach me on the subject; even when people subconsciously try to stump me.

It is my policy to never announce my vegan lifestyle in a conversation; the other person has to be curious about what I am eating and ask me. (But that happens a lot, actually.)

The obvious question is always, “Where do you get your protein?

I explain: “I have 6 food groups; all of which contain the proper protein and nutrients I need: veggies, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.”

Sometimes the person will follow up with, “How could body builders they be that big if they were vegans?

I respond that being a big, buff body builder doesn’t necessarily mean that person is actually healthy. I believe many of them are actually unhealthy.

In my mind, it’s simply unnatural that a person must spend so much time working out and taking supplements; some of which are questionable.

Being abnormally strong does not automatically mean a person is actually healthy; especially for the long term.

Personally, I prefer a more natural approach to being physically fit. I take no less than 2 ten minutes walks a day, plus I ride my mountain bike and run throughout the week as well.

From there, the next question I often get is this: “How do you know you’re healthy?

I explain that just 6 months ago, I had an appointment with Dr. Thomas M. John of Vanderbilt, in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Without even knowing I was a vegan, he confirmed that for my age and height, I am in the ideal weight range and that I am healthier than most 34 year-old men he sees.

I should point out too that my wife and I are expected our 2nd child to be born in April 2016. Even without meat, eggs, and dairy, I am indeed healthy enough to help conceive a child. Being a vegan definitely did not prevent that from happening.

My doctor specifically noted that my cholesterol levels are great.

That leads to this question:

“Where do you get your fats from?”

Out of the 6 vegan food groups I mentioned earlier (veggies, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds), it’s the last two, nuts and seeds, which contain the most fat.

On a daily basis, I consume non-GMO, organic peanut butter in my homemade “vegan protein smoothie.” I also have raw, unsalted sunflower seeds in my salad every night for dinner.

Plus, many the dinners my wife makes contain cashews or avocados in them.

By default, vegans consume 0% of their daily cholesterol allowance. Even plants that are high in fat, like avocados and cashews, still contain less than 1% of the daily cholesterol recommendation.

Try finding a vegan food that ever registers having 1% or higher of the daily cholesterol level on the label. It’s impossible. That doesn’t exist.

Sometimes, people are just sincerely confused on what constitutes as a plant. I have been asked these following questions by several people over the past couple years:

Can you eat bread?

The answer is sometimes; as long as it’s not made with eggs, milk, butter, or cheese.

Can you eat eggs?

No, they come from an animal; and typically just one egg (!) contains at least 58% of your daily cholesterol. Therefore, eggs are very non-vegan.

Can you eat fish?

No, fish is an animal; not a plant. But I can eat potatoes, because they are a plant. (People often ask me that when they ask me about fish; I’m not sure why.)

I heard vegans can’t eat honey; is that true?

Yes, it’s true: Vegans technically can’t eat honey. I’m not trying to be funny or gross, but the best way to explain it is this:

Basically, honey is bee vomit. Look it up.

One of the final frequently asked questions I get is this:

Do you ever just wish you could go back?

My answer is a firm and quick no.

I suffered for 2 decades with constant sinus pressure, sinusitis, pet allergies, eczema (dyshidrosis), headaches, and acne. (Not to mention, I was about 30 pounds heavier in those days.)

Now that’s all gone. I’m not interested in having those health problems again.

The last question I get is this:

Sometimes, don’t you just wish you could have a big, juicy burger?

No, I don’t miss beef at all. What I actually miss tends to gross most people out as soon as I say it:

Captain D’s.

Yes, greasy ole fish. That’s what I psychologically miss sometimes. But still, there is no true temptation to go back because then I’ll simply adopt all those health problems again.

If I ever were to open the door to fish, I would give in and start eating meat again. I know myself too well.

Being a vegan isn’t that weird. It actually makes a lot of sense once you understand how it works. It’s just uncommon compared to mainstream society.

As a self-proclaimed “cool vegan,” I make it my goal to make myself easily accessible to answer people’s questions without sounding judgmental on my end.

Instead, my goal is to encourage people to be healthier by nixing the animal products they think they need to be healthy; but again, only when they ask me first. I’m not a door-to-do evangelist. You have to come to my tent.

And in case you need a reminder, look at me.

I don’t need milk, yogurt, eggs, fish, or meat to be this healthy. I just need veggies, fruit, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Feel free to leave a comment and ask me a frequently wondered question of your own.

The Shell Diet: Fiber from Whole Grains, Fruits, Veggies, and Much Less Meat

Build your meals on fiber from fruits, veggies, and whole grains, not meat or carbohydrates.

1) Eat less meat: Most of us have grown accustomed to building our meals based on meat.  We’re accustomed to “getting full” instead of “staying regular”.  By eating more than 4 to 6 ounces of meat per day (the size of a deck of cards, or your hand not including your fingers), if nothing else we’re giving our bodies too much sodium and making ourselves at least a little constipated.  (Ideally, you should be “going #2″ at least once a day”.)  I make it a daily goal to only eat meat in one meal of the day, typically either lunch or breakfast.

2) Replace meat with vegetables and whole grains:For breakfast, here is what I eat (click here).  For my other meatless meal, I make sure it’s filled whole grain (wheat) rice, pasta, or bread and vegetables or fruit.

3) Whenever you’re hungry (not bored), eat. If you get hungry in between meals or after a meal, it means your body is craving and needing more fruit, veggies, or whole grains.  Not processed snacks, ever.

4) Don’t eat too much at once. By putting your two hands together to make a bowl, that gives you an idea of the amount of food you should eat in a meal.  Any more than that, and there’s a good chance of you’re overeating, and that means you won’t poop at least once a day.

*But wait, there’s more…Go back to the main page of the The Shell Diet by clicking right here.