How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat): A Starter Plan

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!

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

“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.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat 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.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

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.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

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.

See 5 Reasons Your Facebook Friends Are Going Vegan.

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…

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

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.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

Eggs:

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.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

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.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

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.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

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.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

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.

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat 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!

How To Stay Fuller But Eat Healthier This Year (And Still Eat Meat)

How To Have A Vegan, Vegetarian, Kosher Or Plant-Based Christmas

How To Have A Vegan/Vegetarian/Kosher/Plant-Based Christmas

Though I’ve been a vegan for more than a year and a half, a vegetarian for 3 years, and kosher (no pork, shellfish, etc.) for 6 years, I haven’t always held non-meat eaters in the highest regard.

Back before my gradual conversion that began in 2008, I used to mock the concept of vegans and vegetarians. I had them stereotyped pretty easily in my mind.

How To Have A Vegan/Vegetarian/Kosher/Plant-Based Christmas

Then, as my eyes began being opened by watching Netflix documentaries like Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change, I began understanding the attraction towards an “I eat nothing from an animal diet”,  but I chose not to participate because I wasn’t ready to make such a lifestyle change.

Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change

If you ask me, becoming a vegan or vegetarian requires you to live an alternative lifestyle.

I would know, since I live the vegan life 100% every day, no exceptions.

Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change

By the way, part of the lure to veganism is that it means your daily cholesterol intake is less than 1%; or in other words, 0%. While “vegan food” (veggies, fruit, grains, beans, nuts, & seeds) do contain some cholesterol, it’s never enough to register high enough to count as 1% on the food label.

So I thought it would be interesting to produce a collection of picture collages featuring what our family ate during the 5 day Christmas vacation we just came off of.

Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change

I must admit, I have a major advantage in my vegan lifestyle: My wife is an extremely good cook, and she loves planning and cooking our family’s meals. (That’s her in the picture above in the blue and back shirt.)

Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change

In the way I am passionate about blogging, she is passionate about making good food for our family.

One of her secrets is a website called Oh She Glows. The majority of the food you see today is derived from her plant-based recipe website.

Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change

Over Christmas vacation, we dined on sweet potato chili, spinach pasta with “vegan meatballs” (made with oats), vegan veggie pizza (vegetarian for those who eat cheese), vegan nachos (made with potatoes and avocado), and cashew sauce pasta, to name a few meals.

Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change

And thanks to my mom and my sister, we definitely weren’t short on vegan desserts.

Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change

How To Have A Vegan/Vegetarian/Kosher/Plant-Based Christmas

My mom had a table full of vegan cookies and cakes, while my sister made vegan chocolate cupcakes, per my son’s request.

Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change

The biggest challenge was when we drove an hour to a family reunion near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

We wanted to be able to spend time with that side of the family, but we were unable to eat any of the food there; and I especially didn’t want to be a hardship to them because of our dietary limitations.

Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change

So here’s what we did: We packed the Lexus LX (the vehicle I was reviewing last week) with Larabars and water; which kept us full through the visit. We arrived 30 minutes early, to maximize on spending quality family time, before the food part started.

Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change

In total, we were there for a solid hour and a half, before they started serving their food, which is the point at which we left.

Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change

Fortunately, the Whole Foods was only 8 miles away; that’s where we had our lunch that day.

Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change

I admit I was a bit skeptical going into this holiday season how as I vegan, I would be able to participate in a feast of Biblical proportions. But my family made it happen.

Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change

Honestly, I don’t feel like I missed out on anything food-wise this holiday season. I ate very well and had a great time; just without the cholesterol.

For more on this kind of stuff, just click on tab on the upper left-hand side of the page: My Vegan Life.

And of course, feel free to ask questions in the comments below!

Supersize Me, Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, and Hungry For A Change

healthnutshell: What Exactly is Food, These Days?

We all play with some kind of fire.  And we all know that the less we do it, the less likely are we to get burned.

I mean, I shouldn’t have to ask what constitutes as food, but it has kind of gotten to that point.  Can we really count soda and fast food and processed snacks as food?  It tastes good and is for the most part digested by our bodies, but what if it does more harm to our bodies than good?  Is that food?

I went to the place I get most of my research, a place I see as the most practical and relevant.  Wikipedia defines food as any substance, composed of carbohydrates, water, fats and/or proteins, that is either eaten or drunk by any animal, including humans, for nutrition or pleasure”.

Dang it.  And dag gum.  I was really hoping the words “or pleasure” were not part of that definition.  I wanted to make a good point about how America is not actually eating food anymore because food is for nutrition only, not pleasure alone.  But the word “or” messes that up for me.  That definition means the sole purpose of eating for food can be for just pleasure, not attached with nutrtion.

So based on that definition of food, all I can do is say this:

But if eating for nutrition seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day why you eat, whether for the nutrition that your forefathers ate which prevented cancer and disease, or for the pleasure-giving gods of the Americans, in whose land you are living, who let you become sick and cause you to have a lower quality of life and cause you to depend on a national health care plan that upsets many people.  But as for me and my household, we will eat for nutrition.

When we use our outward appearance as the only indicator of our health, we’re doing ourselves a disservice.  The thought:  “I can eat a decent amount of fried foods and have just one soda a day and be alright, because I don’t really gain any weight.”  Dangerous thought.  Not for now, but for later.

I’m less concerned about how much I weigh and how I look, and instead completely concerned that I won’t have a bad heart or Diabetes by the time I’m 50.  That’s only about 20 years from now.

It’s all a matter of putting this into perspective.  Until we truly understand what we are doing, why change?

For example, take my original theory that eating one tablespoon worth of sugar (12 grams) in food is equal to smoking one cigarette.  I refuse to even drink 8 ounces of orange juice because it’s equal to about two tablespoons of sugar (22 grams).

Read  “healthnutshell: A Tablespoon of Sugar or a Cigarette?” http://wp.me/pxqBU-sf

In my mind, drinking a small glass of orange juice is equal to smoking two cigarettes.  Despite the fact orange juice is loaded with vitamins and cigarettes are not, the concentrated sugar, over time, can do more harm than good.  Besides that, the fruit should be eaten whole because the flesh of the fruit needs to be consumed several times a day by the human body anyway.  Eaten, not drunk.

What makes this concept even more real to me is this:  I have smoked a few cigars in my lifetime.  Not a lot.  Literally just a few.  And just for the record, I like them.  No denying that.

But it’s hard to truly enjoy something I outright know gives cancer to people, over time.  Will I smoke another cigar in my lifetime?  Yes.  Will I start regularly smoking them or cigarettes?  No.

I translate this to food I eat:  Will I eat a big fat juicy cheeseburger from Chili’s again in my life?  Yes.  Will I start regularly going through the Wendy’s drive-thru?  No.

Will I sometimes take my wife out on a Friday night to get us each a “Like It” ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery?  Absolutely yes!  Will I start buying ice cream and keeping it in the freezer at our house every week?  No.

This parallel between tobacco and bad eating habits has been so helpful to me.  Because there’s an obvious stigma with tobacco, but people tend to laugh off bad dieting as just another failed New Year’s resolution.

By taking the matter into my own hands by smoking a few cigars, it helped me register the “badness” of the sugary and fatty and processed foods I’ve eaten most of my life.  Both can kill a person eventually, when consumed enough.  Now I equate a cigar with a banana split (up to 8 tablespoons of sugar).

So I ask myself:  How often can I smoke a cigar, being that I do enjoy it?

Depends.  How often can I eat out at restaurants (which if nothing else, will load up the food will sodium which will cause heart disease) as compared to cooking at home?  How often can I go a whole day without eating any fresh vegetables or fruit in the name of inconvenience? How often can I go back for seconds?  How often can I get dessert?

Over some mysterious amount of time, that accumulative next cigar or next bottle of soda will cause a serious a problem health.  But if it’s done very sparingly, it’ll probably be okay.  It’s a gamble.  For anyone who eats sugary, fattening, and/or processed foods or uses tobacco of any kind.

So the question is, no matter which consumable pleasure we choose, how often are we willing to gamble our heath?

Read the indirect sequel: healthnutshell: That’s Not Food  http://wp.me/pxqBU-DY