I have eaten meat my whole life with the exception of a six month stint as a vegetarian. So why am I now at 43 deciding to switch to a plant based diet? In truth there are a lot of reasons and I am sure there are a lot of counter arguments as well. But this is my story so I will give you my rational.
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You should know that I am a documentary junkie and suburban homesteader (find out more about how I grow my own food). The first lead me to watching a lot of food based documentaries on Netflix and the second just means that on a plant based diet I can grow most of my own food. I am at my happiest when I am out in my garden with the sun shining, dirt under my nails tending to my plants. In the winter I switch my focus to growing hydroponically using my Aerogarden in my basement. Yup, this is something I do, and quite well I should say.
Currently, I have three tomato plants, three pepper plants, three lettuces as well as cilantro, chives and dill growing down there. I’m going to get some extra grow lights set up and have a few things growing in pots as well. I seriously love my Aerogarden Farm Plus, like love, love it.
The Why (Science and all that jazz)
So let me level set right from the beginning. I am not going vegan I am adopting a whole foods plant based diet. I really think it’s important to note the difference between the two. Veganism is an ethical lifestyle which involves the abstaining from the consumption or use of any animal products. This means no meat, eggs, dairy, honey, wool, leather etc. As with anything in this day and age there are different types of veganism, but that is a topic for another post. So anyway, back to the documentaries that kick started this drive in me to switch to a plant based diet. I think it is important to consider the why (science) before jumping into the how (recipes).
Forks Over Knives
This documentary based on the work of Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, takes a look at the impact that overly processed food have had on society. They look at how it has impacted the rates of obesity, diabetes and other such diseases. This documentary really spoke to me as they backed up their claims with a wealth of scientific data. I’m an analyst by nature and by profession, I also studied science all the way through university. So if you give me data and evidence then I’m a happy camper.
They drive home the message began with Hippocrates, which is “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” It’s a very simple yet powerful concept especially in a world where so much of our food comes in plastic, processed and not really resembling real food at all anymore. They suggest that by taking control over what you eat, that you can regain your health and reduce the chances of becoming ill.
What the Health
This documentary was impactful for me in seeing how much of the information put forth on health is influenced by lobbyists. I must confess to being a bit naive in this regard and it was truly eye opening. There was a portion where a woman who uses a walker due to her need for a double hip replacement sees huge changes once switching to a plant based diet. Am I sceptical of her claims? Sure who wouldn’t be? But given that just last week we found out my husband needs a full hip replacement, the potential for improvements hit very close to home.
The Game Changers
This is the most recent one I have watched as it was just added to Netflix recently. It looks at the impact on athletes of eating a plant based diet. So much of the perception within the world of sports is that real men eat meat. That meat is needed to ensure that the necessary amounts of protein are available to sustain them in their quest for athletic greatness.
This faulty premise is countered again and again as we are introduced to the strongest man in the world, Patrik Babourmian, Olympic cyclist Dotsie Bausch and ultramarathoner Scott Jurek to name a few. It was very interesting to see these athletes see their performance improve so much after switching to a plant based diet. On top of that there was the ability to recover after injury that was intriguing. Not that I’m an athlete by any means, but I do enjoy running. I’m actually planning on doing my first 15km this year.
The How (What am I going to eat?)
So I have four main go to sites for recipes, at least to start. There are so many out there (including this one) that I went with the ones that spoke to me the most. Basically I didn’t want to overwhelm myself at the beginning. So here they are, the ones I am following to help me on this journey towards adopting a plant based diet as I look to curate my own recipes in the future.
- Oh She Glows (shoutout to her being a fellow Canadian)
- The Minimalist Baker (this site is primarily plant based but not 100%)
- Thug Kitchen (If you cant handle an F-bomb or 30 you may want to give this one a pass)
- Forks over Knives (This is a great resource for whole based plant based diet recipes and general information.)
So that is my starting point. While I would love to achieve perfection from the get-go I am realistic that this is a journey and not a sprint. I want this to be a life change that I can live with for years to come so I will celebrate the successes and (hopefully) not dwell too much on the failures. If I’m being completely honest butter and cheese will probably be the last to go. But knowing that I can focus on finding some great alternatives that will make the switch easier. I guess I’m going to have to learn to love me some nutritional yeast.
In addition to the websites mentioned above, I also have some cookbooks that I love. These include The Oh She Glows Cookbook, Oh She Glows Everyday, Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck, Thug Kitchen 101: Fast as F*ck and Thug Kitchen Party Grub: For Social Motherf*ckers. SO I think I am pretty well armed for this journey into plant based eating.
Are you following a plant based diet? If so I’d love to know how long you have been on your journey. Or maybe you are just starting, like me, which is great because we can journey along to a plant based diet together!