Saturday, January 16, 2016

Why I don't think I'll be able to go vegan

To start off, I don't want people telling me what diet to do, what to eat, how to exercise, especially online because you don't know me and you aren't my doctor. You haven't seen my lab work, and you don't know my history. So any comments giving me unsolicited "advice" will get deleted because I'm not writing about that today, but it's okay to talk about what works for YOU or ask me questions.
What I am writing about?
I love vegan foods.
But at the same time, I don't see how I can balance my diet without meat and I want to control my sugar and fat intake. Getting a full intake of protein is pretty tough sometimes. I remember a few months ago, I was snacking on some red peppers during a training at work, and a guy asked me if I was vegan, and I told him no. He then said, "Well, it's the next step in loosing weight and getting healthy." Um, excuse me, Mister, who asked you?
When I became Orthodox Christian, we fast, roughly, if you add it all up, approximately six months out of the year. We fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, we fast for the Nativity (Advent), Lent, two weeks in August for the Dormition of the Theotokos, and two weeks in June for the Apostle's fast. I really thought I'd get thin by all the fasting (when we fast, we go vegan, basically), but I didn't. Of course, aiming to get "thin" sort of spoils the spiritual fruits of fasting, just letting you know I understand that.
There are things I COULD do, like protein shakes, but I've found a lot of them that are palatable have more than half my daily sugar intake (which I limit to 25 grams) in exchange for only 16 grams of precious protein. I want more than 75 gram of protein a day, I tend to lose weight when I eat my proteins. I need a lot more protein and less sugar and bad fats. It just doesn't balance. When I didn't care about sugar and nutrition and only limiting my calories, I ended up maintaining my weight, not losing. I realized I have to be more careful about my nutrition. I started off eating a lot of fruit and vegetables, no longer consuming processed food, but not looking at my sugar intake, and it didn't work. Then, I saw the documentary Fed Up, and it all started to come together in my head:
Not me, of course, but it might as well be
My problem in my diet is sugar.
And bad fats, too, but I realized I need to take control of my sugar intake.
I do well when I broil some chicken breasts in my crockpot overnight and just nibble on them between meals, that brings my protein gram count up. And when I make my own food, I can control the amount of sugar that goes into it and make sugar-free substitutions. I try to avoid processed foods as much as I can. My doctor agreed with me, one piece of fruit a day is good, if I also include five vegetables and adequate protein.
I'm sure there are going to be people out there that want to offer me unwanted "advice" and tell me that sugar doesn't matter, but it does matter to me: I have diabetes in my family, and I'm afraid I'll get it. Maybe that's paranoia, but I'm seeing things affecting me, and I don't want them to as I age.  And I'm learning to listen to my body and try to give it what it needs while making sure I feel satisfied.
Last weekend, I was chatting with a hair stylist and a make-up artist about healthy diets and attitudes. One of them was allergic to gluten, the other was vegan. That worked for the both of them. The vegan said she lost a LOT of weight when she ate all the fruits and vegetables she wanted. My doc and I agreed that I should limit my fruits and try to focus on proteins. What works for me (when I can stick to it) is going low-sugar and high protein. While being vegan sounds cool and good for the environment, I don't think it's what's best for my body. I know my body better than anyone. And I tried for years to torture it to get thinner, and guess what? That didn't work. There are cool people out there like Sharee Samuels, whom I admire, who lost over 100 pounds by working out hard and going vegan, but I don't know if my body could handle that. I NEED protein. And then there's dotdotTiffany, another weight-loss superstar I admire, that also lost over 100 pounds by working out and watching what she eats, which she details here. She started losing weight by eating pre-packaged frozen meals and exercising, but now she eats clean (unprocessed) and exercises, but she still eats her chocolate!
You can't hate your body to health.
That's my new mantra.
So, I'm going to try to love it to health.

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