Happy New Year!! If you are yet to do your goals for 2017 here is an old goal-setting post 🙂
I think sometimes we have this idea that there is this perfect diet out there. That if we change our diet in some way we will have perfect health, or lose weight, or have great skin or fix whatever other ailments we are wanting to cure.
Newsflash – There is NO perfect diet!
Why? Pretty much everything has been tampered with. Nothing today exists how it should as nature intended. Absolutely everything has been interfered with in some way. I remember reading a study after I went pescetarian and it stated that vegetarians had higher levels of pesticides in their bodies, vegetarian children, also. The study also compared people from different countries. Vegetarian New Zealanders had higher rates of pesticides in their bodies compared to vegetarian adults and children living in America which shocked me. This is due to our high rates of agriculture.
Fruit has been cultivated to contain far more sugar than it ever would have in the past. Fruit and greens found wild often taste a lot more bitter than the fruit found in the supermarket and they are a lot better for us. Yes, you got it – Many of the common weeds you find everywhere are amazing for our bodies but they taste disgusting to us because we are so used to everything being sweet. Those anti-sugar diets are a big thing at the moment!
Why also are we suddenly facing all of these ‘new’ food allergies? I read this great article the other day which I think brings up some really interesting info. Apparently, only EIGHT foods contribute to 90% of allergic reactions. Bar the nuts I pretty much have had problems with everything else off and on all of my adult life! I definitely link my problems with antibiotic use and a damaged gut.
I thought I would also do a Vegan diet update. It is nice to look back and see what I have learnt along the way. I am not entirely sure when I started doing it but I think it has been around three months. I haven’t been 100% but probably very close to it. Because I am gluten free (not by choice) I have had to consume the odd baked item with milk in when I was out and there was nothing else available.
My lifestyle over the past three months hasn’t been the healthiest. Setting up a website involves lots of long hours sitting, sipping on hot beverages with more sitting. I have still been trying to exercise every day for at least half an hour to an hour but it is the sitting that gets you. I am hoping to get into a good work routine soon and create more balance for health and well-being.
Weight: My weight hasn’t really changed. I might have lost a couple of kgs. in fat. which I didn’t have to lose! I am planning to try and put more muscle on this year so I am not really worried about that. I haven’t really lost any muscle and if I did it would probably be due to all of the sitting!
Skin: My skin changed for the better. It is still not perfect and I am not ever expecting it to be but that is one of the first big changes that I noticed within a couple of days. I have had recurring eczema on my back that would flare up during stress and that has pretty much gone although the skin is still repairing itself. I have also changed my sports bra brand because I found out it was full of bad stuff that you don’t want next to your skin so that could also be related. I read that when you go vegan you automatically lower your saturated fat intake which makes your skin produce less oil so that could be one reason why. My skin was also really dry for about the first month but that seems to be balancing out now.
Energy: I haven’t felt any less energetic in fact my sleep needs have even lessened I think. I often wake up around 5-6 feeling wide awake and well rested even if I have gotten to bed later than anticipated.
Blood sugar: Another funny thing that I have noticed is that I used to have all of these funny blood sugar issues and I used to have to eat straight after getting up. It was hard to exercise without having a snack and I used to have to eat little snacks throughout the day otherwise I would feel sick if I felt hungry. That all seems to be way more stable now.
Things I am working on:
A disadvantage that I might have noticed is that my bottom two middle teeth are showing some signs of slight enamel decay. This may not really be related to my vegan diet but more some bad habits that I might have picked up.
More water: I have been drinking WAY too much green tea instead of water. I was sitting at the computer drinking cup after cup of green tea without really thinking about if it could be bad to be sipping on hot beverages all day. I need to drink a lot more water.
Limit sugary snacks: I was snacking on too many dates. Dried fruit contains a tonne of sugar – although all naturally occurring. It is a treat food not meant for constant consumption. I have also started drinking tea and smoothies with a straw to minimise any damage.
Increase fats: There is something in animal products that is good for teeth and bones due to the fat. That is why some kids on vegan diets can struggle with growth and teeth if you don’t get it right. I am going to try and include more plant-based fats in my diet. I have already started including more coconut oil and want to add in more flaxseeds/flaxseed oil, more avocados and coconut milk and yoghurt. I have been buying unsweetened almond milk from the supermarket but I think it is better to make it yourself. So I plan to try and add that in along with learning how to make coconut yoghurt. I have also started oil pulling with coconut oil for 10 mins twice a day. I am already seeing benefits after only a few days.
Increase calcium: I am also going to start taking this as a backup and try and snack on way more raw broccoli! It has a lot of calcium. This supplement also contains D2 which apparently is necessary for good bone growth. I read the other day that women reach peak bone mass at age 35 and that’s it – no more bone growth! So I have a few more years to really work on creating great bones for my future health.
Too much phytic acid: I have increased my intake of grains, nuts, legumes etc. but I haven’t been properly preparing them via. soaking etc. to reduce the phytic acid content. Here is a great article from a Paleo perspective. I really want to get into sprouting and learning how to make different sprouts at home.
Not enough greens: I need to include more greens! I am going to learn how to make a green soup and then also after reading the above article on allergies I found some vegan ‘bone’ broth recipes so I want to try them out. Plus I need to be eating way more salads!! I also want to start growing some more salad greens outside. Here is a great article about how k2 from lots of leafy greens builds stronger bones and teeth in vegans.
I am realising more and more that the best diet is full of things that you make and prepare and grow yourself. It is time-consuming to be preparing everything from scratch but I think it is the biggest gift that you can give your family to ensure their health and longevity as well as your own.
If you are bringing your kids up raw vegan/vegan I thoroughly recommend the book – Evie’s kitchen by Shazzie. She spent years researching and determined that it was healthier for vegan kids to include small amounts of egg or dairy to ensure good bone growth. She also outlines all of the supplements that are necessary for vegan kids.
(Photo: Ethan Robertson)