Last week myself along with about 19 other colleagues started a trial whole food, plant based (WFPB) diet. The trial is for one month, and we are to stick to the diet with a rule of 80/20.
8 days in and I am starting to believe more than ever that so much of what we eat and how we think about eating and food is far removed from food’s primary purpose: which is to nourish our bodies. I used to think of food as an event (going out for dinner), or a fancy smancy new place to try, or to be honest a pain in the a$s because I really detest cooking – but not for what it’s truly supposed to do.
I think most everybody has watched the documentary on Netflix called Forks Over Knives (FoK) by now – if you haven’t I STRONGLY recommend you do. Even if you don’t do the WFPB thing – it will at least help you make better food choices going forward and cause you to pause before you eat. The best we can hope for is to make more informed decisions about what we choose to put in our bodies.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past little while FoK essentially talks about how researchers explore the possibility that people changing their diets from animal-based to plant-based can help eliminate or control diseases like cancer and diabetes.
What To Eat and What Not to Eat, That is the Question!
The WFPB lifestyle (I’m not calling it a diet, because this is not a fad, this is a lifestyle change … for the better) means that for the next 3 more weeks we can not eat:
- no meat (red, white or fish) – the doctor monitoring our program says to eat nothing from anything that had a pulse or parents
- no dairy products
No (or minimal) processed foods
- and pretty much most things in the middle aisles of the grocery store – which I already tried to do anyway
So, what do I eat?
- It’s pretty simple: whole, unrefined plants. That’s it.
Why Did I Agree to the Trial?
Each of us in the study group decided to participate for our own varying reasons. Mine was to lose weight, get out of this general feeling of unwellness/malaise that I have been feeling and to kick start my metabolism – the way I used to feel – full of life and energy to burn.
The documentaries and research I’ve watched/read were information insofar as the benefits to living this lifestyle. Some of the documented benefits to a WFPB diet include:
- an increase in energy and alertness, weight loss
- decreased pain, inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol to name a few
And most importantly a reduced risk of:
- Some cancers, coronary artery disease, type II diabetes as well as proven reversal of: inflammatory bowel disease, Coronary artery disease and Type II diabetes
Armed with this information, I was eager to get started – I headed out to pick up some new cookbooks.
My 3 faves are: Forks Over Knives (Spring Edition), Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck (this is actually quite entertaining) and Rawlicious.
I re-watched all of the documentaries on Netflix such as: FoK, Fed Up, Food Inc, Sick Fat and Nearly Dead I and II.
Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.- Hippocrates
So, What Are My Findings to Date?
A week in and this is what I am finding so far:
1- Because I have eliminated processed foods which are usually loaded with sodium, and oils I find food a lot more bland now. Pro is that I am learning to cook with a lot more spices. My taste buds are adapting and I am enjoying the natural taste of the food as they were intended not drenched in olive oil etc.
2- I haven’t had any headaches or anything from the detoxing effects – this is probably because I gave up coffee about 6 months ago and turned back to green teas.
3- Dining out while eating plant-based can be wholesome and enjoyable – said no body in their first week of this diet! Many restaurants now offer vegan options, but mainstream menus aren’t yet created with WFPB diets in mind. So when I’m out I mainly stick to salads or veggie sides. There’s actually a great restaurant where I am from called Rawlicious – it’s a raw vegan restaurant – there are locations across Ontario and New York, I believe.
4- To be successful, you need to be planful – you need to make time to meal prep your lunches and dinners. Most of my breakfasts consists of either an Ezekiel 4:9 bread with homemade almond butter, banana, crushed mixed nuts and hemp and a bit of agave nectar OR a homemade carrot cake oatmeal bowl. Instead of allowing myself to get overwhelmed by all of the reductions to my menu, I am keeping it simple by just continuing to make the things I like which are WFPB or modify them in ways that they can be made into WFPB.
5- I am drinking a lot more water than I ever have – I’m not yet at the recommended 72 oz of water per day, but I’m at about 60 oz., I’m inching closer to that goal.
6- Any “sweet tooth” I have, can usually be cured by my new fave – dairy free – ice cream and it’s super simple. Frozen strawberries, frozen banana and a bit on homemade cashew milk. Ta-da!
I will keep you posted as the remainder of this trial unfolds – I am anxious to get to the end to see if I actually can see and feel a difference by putting the right kinds of foods into my body and to see if there’s a difference both on the scale and in some of my blood work.
Have any of you tried the WFPB diet yet? Any recipes to share?