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.

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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.

The Unholy Trinity of Food: Sugar, Fat, and Sodium Cause Obesity, Heart Disease, Cancer, Depression, Inactivity, and Hyperactivity

Sugar, fat, and sodium.  The three most rare food elements found in nature are the same three that have caused a national epidemic of obesity, heart disease, cancer, as well as allergies, depression, inactivity, and hyperactivity.

Given that these health problems have been steadily increasing since World War II, it only makes sense to return to the way people lived before the 1940’s.  In order to do that, we must take matters into our own hands and fight the Unholy Trinity, by simply avoiding this enemy as much as possible.  The members of the Unholy Trinity are none other than sugar, fat, and sodium.

Sugar:

Consider a time in history when food couldn’t be bought in boxes or bags.  A time when people cooked their own food based on ingredients they either grew themselves or traded at the local market.  Most likely, the people simply ate fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread, oats, and lastly, meat, as they could afford it.  And they drank water, wine, and beer.

foods high in sugar

Did they eat ice cream, cookies, and cakes?  Did they eat Nutrigrain cereal bars which are also loaded with sugar?  No.  While they could get their hands on sugar, which wasn’t necessarily easily obtainable, they mainly only cooked with sugar in very rare occasions.

Cavities were much rarer in those days.  A person’s intake of added sugar directly affects his or her ability to fight off cancer and disease.

Sugar is a drug that is so easy to get a hold of these days.  But it hasn’t always been that way.

Fat:

In order to eat foods high in fat, a person must have access to an animal that is either milked or killed for its meat.  We do, we just forget about how much trouble that is.  We just buy it from a store or restaurant.  Because we’re so far removed from livestock and farms, we don’t realize how easily we’re consuming animal products on a daily basis.

foods high in fat, obviously

There is such an awareness of women’s breast cancer and finding a cure for it.  But my question is this:  For all the money we’ve already donated to research, what have we learned?  While it’s important to find a cure, what have we learned about prevention?  After all, it’s better to avoid getting breast cancer all together than to ever have to fight it.

 

Until theres’s a cure, which I hope we find as soon as possible, there’s prevention.

The smartest thing to do is to look to the women who are not getting breast cancer:  Asian women living in Asian countries.  Specifically Japanese women. They are the least likely to get breast cancer.  Why?

Very low fat content in their diets. http://www.cancerproject.org/survival/cancer_facts/breast.php

Very high intake of chlorella, which is found in seaweed, which they eat regularly (namely in sushi). http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0NAH/is_1_29/ai_54062648/

Research over the decades has shown us that the #1 reason women get breast cancer is from a high fat content in their diet.  Unsurprisingly, American has the highest rate of breast cancer in the world.  Breast cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in America, and the 2nd most common cause of cancerous deaths.

Just in case we need more evidence of how to avoid breast cancer, when Japanese women move to America and adopt an American lifestyle and American diet, their immunity to breast cancer disappears.

So it’s a little ironic that from time to time M&M’s does a campaign where they donate a portion of the profit from their pink M&M’s to breast cancer research. The more M&M’s we buy (and eat), the more money that is spent to learn what we already know:  That the more fat in a diet a person has, the more likely a person is to get breast cancer.  And the more M&M’s a person eats, the more fat they are adding into their diet.

That actually makes me angry.

Sodium:

Let me ask myself a question:  In real life, how many times have I seen salt on its own in nature?  The answer:  Never.

Yet salt is everywhere and in everything.  Especially in appetizers at restaurants, frozen foods, canned soups, and all meat.

My boss got an app on his iPhone called My Fitness Pal.  It counts all his calories based on sugar, fat, and sodium to help him make sure he’s eating right.  He was eating perfectly.  Only lean, organic meats along with whole grains, fruits, and veggies.  Yet he kept going over his sodium.

foods high in sodium

I told him, “It’s from the meat.  Only eat meat in one of your three basic meals every day and see if that works.”

It did.  We eat too much meat.  And it’s giving us too much sodium, which leads to hardening of the arteries and heart disease.  But that’s a different post, and I haven’t finished it yet…

I have found that the best way to avoid fat and sodium is to avoid sugar.  Sugar is the easiest unholy member to get a hold of.  Because it’s even in wheat bread (unless it’s Ezekiel Bread).  To find food without added sugar, in most cases, means it’s a food with low fat and low sodium.  And a food without added sugar most likely means it’s not a processed food.

So ultimately, the bottom line is this: The best way to avoid the Unholy Trinity is to avoid processed foods– 1) anything that comes in a box or bag, 2) anything that has more than 6 ingredients (because more than that means those ingredients probably include either chemicals or one of the Unholy Trinity), and 3) anything that can last a long time in your pantry or fridge before it goes bad.

It’s a lot of trouble though.  To avoid sugar, fat, sodium, and processed foods.  To have to plan and prepare healthy meals ahead of time to avoid being tempted by convenience foods.

Is it worth it?  Is it worth the trouble to be healthy and avoid cancer and disease?

For a lot of people, it’s not.

Banana Oatmush; The Real Breakfast of Champions (Contains Cinnamon and Hemp Seed)

I invented the nation’s most healthiest, most alive, most convenient, least expensive breakfast, and it’s completely non-processed.  The best part is, I can’t make a profit off of it at all.  You have to make it yourself.  That’s how you know it’s good.

We know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s also one of the most difficult to pull off consistently and still be healthy.  Because after eliminating the option of the quick and easy (and deadly) fast food options, what is there that is inexpensive and fiber-packed enough to keep a person full?  And most importantly, what breakfast food is there that has no added sugar, essentially no fat, improves digestion, is easy to make, and actually tastes really good?

Oatmush.  I will share it with you.

Start with a half a cup of rolled oats (make sure that rolled oats are the only ingredient; no sugar, salt, dehydrated fruit, evaporated cane juice, etc).  Sometimes I use Publix store brand that costs about $2 for 32 oz. canister (13 servings); currently I’m using Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled Oats that I bought from Whole Foods for just a dollar more:

3.5g fat (0.5 saturated, 0 trans), 1g sugar, 7g protein, 5 g dietary fiber

Just pour the oats in an empty coffee mug, then pour in hot water until the water is about ¼ inch above the top of the oats.  Then grab a banana:

0g fat, 21g sugar (though it doesn’t count against you when eaten in its whole, natural form, but fruit juice does because it has been separated from the fiber of the fruit), 1g protein, 4g dietary fiber

Now with a fork, set the tip of the banana on the edge of the coffee mug, cutting the banana into slices that fall on top of the oatmeal.  Then with the fork, mash the banana slices into oatmeal for a few seconds, like mashing a potato.

By this point, the Oatmush may not be as hot as the oatmeal you’re used to eating, so that means you may need to find hotter water to begin with.  Don’t reheat the Oatmush in the microwave; that “kills” the life in it.  At least 55% of the food we eat in a day needs to be alive.  Live food helps our bodies fight off cancers and diseases (fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and nuts in their whole form); dead food doesn’t (meat, processed food, etc.).

If you want to keep things simple, then you’re done.  Enjoy your Oatmush.

However, if you’d like to add more flavor and nutrition to your Oatmush, here’s how I do it.  Mix in about a half a tablespoon of cinnamon (loaded with antioxidants).  Next, get your hands on some hemp seed, found in your nearest Whole Foods.  I use Nutiva’s Organic Shelled Hempseed from the refrigerated section of the store.

Hemp seed is extremely healthy and a major part of a healthy, daily diet:

13.5 g fat (1g saturated, 0g trans), 1g sugar, 11g protein, 1g dietary fiber

It contains more fatty acids than any other nut or seed found in nature (which is a very good thing).  Hempseed contains all 9 essential amino acids and is high in phytonutrients, which support and protect the health of our body’s immunity, bloodstream, cells, tissues, organs, and mitochondria (our body’s “life cells”).

*Flax seed can be substituted in place of hemp seed, which is comparible in nutrition but not equal.

So every morning now, I start off with a good healthy cup of Oatmush.  Complete with hempseed, here is the unofficial complete nutritional value:

17g fat (the good kind), 1.5g saturated fat, Og trans fat, 24g sugar (the good kind), 19g protein, 10g dietary fiber

And that’s with nothing man-made or processed.  A completely alive breakfast.  The best part of it is, I can’t sell you Oatmush.  It’s not a marketable product.  Because if it was, it would have to come in a bag or box and the bananas would have to be dehydrated.  No one can sell you Oatmush.  You have to make it yourself.  And that’s another sign that it’s really good for you.

It’s really quick and easy to make.  Only takes me about one minute, literally. And I dare the entire world to find a healthier, more convenient, less expensive breakfast that is completely alive and not processed in any way.

…I’m waiting.

Oh, and, you’re welcome.  For my secret recipe, that is:

 

Nick Shell’s Famous “Oatmush”

½ cup of rolled oats

1/3 cup of hot water

1 banana

½ tablespoon of cinnamon

3 tablespoons of hemp seed