The following, is an entry I wrote on my blog in September of 2008:
"Thus began my new quest (and a very difficult one at that); to make HEALTH and not my desire to be SKINNY my ultimate goal. It is such a fine line for me, and one that I have to consciously make an effort to keep in balance. I want to be skinny. Often times, this was more important to me than many other things. But I'm slowly deciding that I want to be healthy more. This may seem like they go hand and hand, but for me it is a delicate line. When I want to be skinny, I'll do and try anything to get there (even eat meat at every meal if it gets me the results I want). When I want to be healthy, I have a much better balance in my life.
I then stumbled upon the book Skinny Bitch (horrible language but very informative). It was the first book I read by a vegan, and the first book that pointed out all the flaws in my high-protein diet. Some points were well made, but others were too "fanatical" for me. I then read (well, more like skimmed) "In defense of food". This one again pointed out the flaws. I then went to the library and got the book "Fit for Life; Not Fat for Life". This was the one that really did it for me. As I read it, everything just rang true to me. For the first time in 5 years I decided to not have egg whites for breakfast, but to have fruit instead. This might not seem like a big deal, but for me, I was petrified that with this change would bring on unwanted pounds. For years I had been the EXACT same weight (much to my frustration), but now I was risking putting on more. Basically because everything I have read, and everything I have been told by every trainer and every instructor is that the secret to staying thin is a high-protein diet. NOT ONE has EVER told me, "Hey, you know what, maybe you should eat more carbs, and more fruit". Unheard of. I know that diets are fads that change culturally, but right now that diet (especially for those that workout alot) is a HIGH PROTEIN LOW CARB "lifestyle". This was a BIG deal for me to try and commit to. But it made sense. There are 2 basic ideas in the book. First, half of what we eat should be living (meaning uncooked; fruits, veggies, and nuts. Second, that we need to be careful of our food combination (meaning don't eat proteins with carbs). Like I said, everything just made sense to me. In the first 2 weeks I lost a pound. Which for me is HUGE. I think I just might be at my body's equilibrium; meaning that to lose weight takes ALOT of effort for me. I work out 6 days a week, and I eating fairly healthy, yet I NEVER lose weight. I was thrilled not to have gained weight, so to lose a pound was a BIG deal!!!!
The final book I was introduced to (which I am almost finished reading) was "The China Study". I think I could discuss this book for HOURS and HOURS (my poor husband and family). I have practically begged all of my family to read this. Just so that I could discuss it with someone!!!! This could be the book that gets me off animal products for good. I suppose it is considered quite controversial, but just because it goes against what most of us have been led to believe. Basically, (through TONS of research) it says that large quantities of animal products cause disease. Now the book is MUCH more in depth than this, but that is the bottom line."
It's kind of fun to look back and read about my feelings as I discovered a new way of life! For so long I think I have been searching, inquiring, and researching a "better" way of eating. Willing to change and adapt to any new information that I could find (sometimes to be skinny and sometimes to be healthy). The road has been quite long, but I feel like what I know now will remain unchanged for the rest of my life. What a relief....hooray!
Here are some of my core beliefs:
* Fruit is a miracle food that should be consumed in large quantities daily. I personally try to eat fruit only on an empty stomach. Fruit ferments quite quickly in the stomach when combined with other foods (other than veggies). For some it can cause gas or bloating. I remeber when I used to think that apples hurt my stomach, and banana made be bloated. I now know it was just "how" I was eating them.
* Vegetables boost every part of our body, the most important being our immune system. They help us fight off disease and should be the main part of our diet. Deep down we all know it, but the battle is incorporating it each day. Make it a goal to eat vegetables EVERYDAY. EVERY single day! Start with the ones you know you like, and slowly start exploring the others. You will find a whole new world awaiting you. Don't be confused by high-carb or high-sugar veggies. If it is a vegetable EAT IT (just not drowned in grease and fat)!
* Grains are a delicious compliment to fruits and vegetables. I went YEARS avoiding bread - what a shame! A warm loaf of whole grain bread can be almost as delicious as a piece of cake (I sais almost). Brown rice, oatmeal, corn, quinoa and so many others are guilt-free foods. These are NOT the foods you need to be monitoring or eliminating (it is usually what you put ON these foods that need to be limited)!
* Dairy is something that I will try very hard to have only in small quantities. I promised to never say that I would "ban" anything from my diet (just setting myself up for failure). But if there was anything, it would be dairy. I believe that my body is WAY WAY WAY better off avoiding dairy rather than consuming it. In my mind there aren't really any saving graces for dairy (other than the first bite of very addictive ice cream :). Milk and cheese were pretty easy for me to give up. Ideally, ice cream will be saved for special occassions (sniff, sniff, whimper, whimper). I am trying to substitute olive oil for butter in my cooking.
* Animal protein (beef, pork, chicken, eggs and even fish) is something that I will have sparingly. I truly do believe that in the amounts I was eating it (5 small meals a day) that it would be a cause of disease to my body in the future. It is the protein itself, so organic or grain fed or cage free DOESN'T matter. This means that that my meals will revolve around fruits vegetables and grains INSTEAD. If I happen to be at a BBQ and that is all that is served, that's fine, I'll eat it no problem. If one day I feel that my body really wants some meat, no problem. By AS A WHOLE, I will try to eat meat sparingly!
* Nuts and seeds (ideally eaten raw) are a healthy part my diet. They are a great source of the fats that my body needs.
* Sugar...ahh sugar. My first love! This will forever be my achilles heal. This is the area that my brain knows so much more than my body. I love treats, chocolate, candy, cakes, doughnuts, and anything else with refined sugar. But I also know how these things make my body feel. I am tired, weak, and groggy when I eat sugar. I am in the process of "rewiring" my thinking to these scrumptious delights! I know that I will never get rid of these completely, but when I look at them, I want to see how I will feel in an hour instead of the few minutes of immediate gratification I will get when eating them. I will do a whole blog entry on sugar in the future!