First, let me start by stating, I am not a supporter of PETA. It’s okay if you are, but my transition into becoming a vegetarian was not for the sake of animals. It is for the sake of my own health and coincidentally it is good for our earth (and the animals) so it’s a win, win for all of us. This makes me happy! I do love animals!!
If you have been following me on Instagram or Facebook @allanapinky, (or this not so very active blog) you know I have been on a journey to get myself healthy along with coercing family and friends to do the same. Change is hard! I admit it, but the rewards have been overwhelmingly delightful. When it comes to health food, I follow a different protocol than what one might think. If you look at the typical food pyramid we have all grown up with, it is top heavy with grains, then fruits and veggies with fat being low on the totem pole.
Two years ago I discovered Dr. Steven Gundry and his book The Plant Paradox. In a nutshell, there are seemingly healthy foods that contain a lectin protein that can actually wreak havoc on the lining of our gut. Without a healthy gut, good bacteria can’t thrive, weight loss is difficult and disease tends to flourish. At the time, I was fifty-five pounds heavier, riddled with arthritis, getting sick all of the time, low on energy, full of aches and pain and not sleeping very well. As a I read the book and considered my health history, it was an eye opener as to why I suffered with so many ailments as a child, teenager and young adult. Here is the list:
- Terrible menstrual cramps
- Heavy monthly periods
- Weight gain
- Mononucleosis – Epstein’s Bar
- Basal cell cancer on the nose – age 27
- Difficult birthing first child
- Gall bladder attack and removal
- Fibrocystic breast
- Ovarian Cyst ruptures
- Uterus prolapse – removal
- Bladder prolapse – surgical repair
- Ovarian endometriosis attack and removal
- Arthritis – knees
- Chronic Fatigue
- 2 Knee surgery – stem cells
With the exception of the knee surgery, everything else on the list happened all before the age of 40 years old. Now do you understand why I was on a quest to get healthy? Little did I know, most if not all of these issues, we can attribute to my diet. Yes. Even the menstrual cycles. You see, our food and the drinks we put in our bodies control everything from hormones, to digestion to brain health. The list goes on and on. Even the things we put on our skin control our health destiny. It’s important to know which chemicals affect us, grow diseases and wreak havoc on our bodies. Do you read labels?
How long is your list of health issues? I truly hope it is not as long as mine, but the sad truth is many of my friends and family members have a long list. I feel like I have been quite successful in improving my health and the health of many people. I have lost 55 lbs. and continue to maintain a good weight. Mind you, I travel a lot for my “day job”, so keeping it off is quite a challenge. I fluctuate about 5-7 lbs. I don’t like it, but I was content. Still I couldn’t help but think that I could do more. I didn’t try to seek out answers immediately. Ironically, I was making an attempt to convince my twenty-three year old son to change his “wicked ways” when I found the answer. Don’t get me wrong, it was all of my fault he was addicted to sugar and carbs, but at his age, kids know everything and look at their parents like they have three heads. LOL!
Here’s what went down. One night I proclaimed movie night and asked everyone to watch That Sugar Film. It’s all about how even our “healthy” foods have an enormous amount of sugar, so we have essentially been duped into thinking we are eating healthy. It also told how corporations have chemist on staff to create product that hit that “bliss point” so that consumers become a addicted to the product and other sugar loaded products. That movie hit home with my son and he stopped drinking all the Cokes, Mountain Dews, Red Bulls, etc., cold turkey!
From that moment, number one son continued to investigate this health kick thing. He found movies for us to watch; The Game Changers and Forks Over Knives. These two movies provoked us to give up animal protein or at least greatly reduce it. Again, the change ain’t easy, but the rewards outweigh the challenges that go with becoming vegetarian along with being a Plant Paradoxer. According to the experts in the movies and in The Longevity Paradox (Dr. Steven Gundry), animal protein is not necessary for human beings to thrive. In fact, animal protein can be dangerous to our health, causing heart disease and cancer growth along with other health issues. This would also include dairy products, so we need to eliminate those, unless you’re eating dairy products with A2 casein or products made with goat and sheep milk. Our American cows have A1 casein protein and the A1 casein protein is not good for our gut.
At this point, it may seem impossible to follow a lifestyle without lectin proteins, dairy and other animal protein. So, how did I begin? First, I took a deep breath and set my mind to a “can do” attitude. After all, millions of people over the years have set out on this quest or naturally grew up this way and don’t know any different. In addition, my husband was on board. Reluctant, but willing to try it. Our two sons were willing to try it. Most of the shopping and cooking is up to me, but I am happy to report, the eldest son is learning his way around the kitchen!
The first couple of weeks, we piled up on the greens, mushrooms, onions; all the good gut buddy foods. We still ate eggs and fish on occasion. Three weeks went by faster than I realized. I felt great! I had even more energy and didn’t feel the need for my 4 o’clock cup of coffee. I still have it, just because. I just love a hot cup of joe at the end of the day. Plus, it’s now cold outside and it makes me feel good.
One of the easiest things to do, is google vegetarian and vegan recipes. Word of warning, though, many of them call for soy. Guess what? Soy is a no, no with a Plant Paradox lifestyle.
So what’s a gal to do? Get creative! After two years of cooking more than I have ever cooked in twenty-four years of marriage, I have gain a lot of confidence in the kitchen. I have created a “meat” substitute using mushrooms, walnuts and pine nuts. I pulse all the ingredients, mix together and add my favorite spices. I can still have Taco Tuesdays! Yes, there is a product called Quorn, however I don’t like having to look up definitions of ingredients. While many vegetarians think they are following a healthy diet, many are missing the key point of not eating processed foods. We just finished week 4 and I am happy to report I had no animal protein of any kind all week. I feel great and lost 7 lbs.
My best advice is to get familiar with the Plant Paradox Yes and No List. I was surprised how fast I was able to memorize this list. Once you know the basics, it’s easy. I also follow some amazing women who cook amazing meals. They are all over Instagram and Facebook. Until I can focus full time on this new lifestyle, I just make life easy, follow their recipes and make some tweaks to them. I do strive to try something new every week so we don’t get bored.
We are fortunate to have at least a few friends who are trying the same lifestyle so getting together with them makes it easy. Other friends have a huge amount of respect for my success so they ask where I prefer to eat when we are going out. It helps to have a circle of very supportive friends!
Currently I am working on dropping down another 10 lbs. What are your goals? To help give you inspiration, I post a lot of what I am cooking, eating, preparing, struggling with and all what goes along with a lifestyle change. I am real with my followers, so follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram. I am also available for private consultation. I don’t charge you anything. It’s my goal to help others get on the right rack and not suffer the way I did for almost 50 years.
UPDATE: December 5, 2019
I am down those nagging 10 pounds!! We are on week six of the vegetarian lifestyle and let me tell you, it’s not easy, but it’s not hard either. Let me clarify, I have eaten some eggs and some fish. A ton of my Plant Paradox recipes call for eggs and butter so it is a bit overwhelming to eliminate all animal protein.
My Biggest Flop of a Meal?
I decided to go all in with making a vegetarian Thanksgiving lunch. I wasn’t overly ambitious as I was fighting a cold for the first time in two years. I managed to make four dishes which was plenty. Just because it’s the holidays, it doesn’t mean we have to gorge on food. I know! I know! That’s no fun, but is it really fun having bloating, diarrhea, constipation, weight gain, indigestion and heart burn; All the things that come with over eating?
My biggest blunder was substituting with Nutritional Yeast for real cheese with the Mac ‘N Cheese. It was awful. I ain’t gonna lie. I have used the nutritional yeast in other recipes, but for mac’n cheese, unless you are an expert with substitutes, stick to the real thing, for now.
Speaking on substitutions, I am busy at the store reading labels on all the packaged vegetarian substitutes. Let me tell you. I am not a fan and here is why. If I have to pull out my phone and look up the meaning of an ingredient, it probably should not be going into our bodies.
Period. End of story.
One thing I have discovered on this vegetarian journey is vitamin and mineral supplementation may be necessary. If you are going to follow this lifestyle or even dive into being a vegan, you may want to be sure to monitor your blood work to be sure you are getting all the nutrients our bodies need. Check out this post from Dr. Mark Hyman about Vitamin D It seems most of us are deficient and could be the main cause of your health issues. Ever wonder why people who eat seemingly healthy are sick, get cancer, develop dementia, etc.? They might be deficient in vitamin D.
I am thrilled to continue my quest to learn more and inspire all of you. At the rate I am going, I am more confident I will not only reach my goal weight of 145 lbs., but also keep striving to be even better to my body. I would say, I’ve been good to it about 90%. For 2020, I plan to make it 99.9%
Feel free to reach out to me. Like I always tell my followers, you don’t have to purchase products from me to get advice or support. My passion is to educate and assist you in getting healthier and meet you where you are at this moment. Just realize you are not meant to live sick, overweight, tired, battling diseases or being depressed.
You are meant To Live the Life You’re Meant to Live!! To me, this means vibrant, energetic, healthy and very active for the rest of my life.