I’ve talked about the fact that my mom and I changed our diets (read: eating habits) after her cancer diagnosis, and the ways that we’ve made clean eating fun, but now I want to dig in to the specifics of how we eat. And above is an example of being as good as possible while out at brunch (the cake isn’t mine).
Vegan / Plant-based
Vegans have lower risk of heart disease and cancer. Vegans have lower BMIs, more balanced hormones, and a significant decrease in chance of premature death. A vegan diet puts your body in a more alkaline state, lowering inflammation and allowing it to heal. You can meet all of your dietary needs with a plant based diet while giving your body all it needs to function and heal.
Before going vegan, I really didn’t have a lot of meat or dairy in my diet anyway. So going vegan hasn’t been all that hard. My vegan replacements at home include veggie burgers, coconut and almond milk, coconut yogurt, cashew pesto (did you know pesto is mostly cheese?) and pea protein “butter.”
I discovered that my body has a problem with gluten when I was in high school after adopting an elimination diet prescribed to me by a dietician. Some people tolerate gluten just fine even though the human body doesn’t completely digest gluten. The main problem with gluten is that it causes inflammation in the gut, which we want to eliminate as much as possible.
The biggest thing this has done for me is eliminate most of the junk in my diet. Think about it — chips, cookies, crackers, cake… so much gluten. Most gluten I have cut out of my diet and don’t replace because the “gluten free” versions of regular products often have a lot of sugar used to mimic the original product. Substitute items I use include corn, nut, and seed chips or crackers, vegetable chips, and gluten free pizza crust. I also use Ezekiel bread for toast, which does have gluten, but it is much less processed sprouted grain bread, which is easier for our bodies to digest.
The reason for eating as much raw food as possible is simple: when we cook food, we’re destroying much of the nutritional value. Eating raw allows you to get the most out of your food. Your cooked broccoli isn’t doing you as much good as you think. If you hate cooking, this is good new for you. When you eat raw, you do a lot more food prep than you do cooking, so get your cutting board and knives out!
To be honest, I feel like I still don’t eat enough raw veggies, but I’m working on it! This whole lifestyle change takes time and you make tweaks as you go. I’ve learned that hummus is my friend and that every morning is made better by veggie juice!
I think going organic is becoming more common sensical than nonsensical. Do you want chemicals sprayed on your food? Do you want chemicals being absorbed by your food? I hope not. Somehow, humankind managed to successfully grow food and survive for thousands of years without chemical pesticides. If you’re considering making the transition to organic food, but are intimidated by the expense, there are sites that list the foods that are most important to buy organic, versus the foods that are much less impacted by pesticides. That’s always a good starting place. There are times when I go to the store and don’t buy organic, but I know that what I’m buying is one of the safer items.
Very Little Added Sugar
I avoid sugar for two reasons: it contributes to diabetes and promotes cancer growth. Maybe you didn’t know this, but sugar is in practically everything. Even your pasta sauce has added sugar. I always search for products with the least amount of added sugar. When I want to sweeten something myself, like matcha or oatmeal, I use stevia, agave, or honey. Stevia is great because it doesn’t contain sugar and has no glycemic index so it doesn’t spike blood sugar. In fact, it actually helps regulate your blood sugar, so I usually opt for stevia over the other two.
So we eat raw, organic, vegan, gluten free, sugar free (with a little wiggle room here and there). Totally crazy, but totally doable. I feel better on so many levels. Next week we’ll talk about one major thing that has changed.
If you have questions, feel free to write them in the comments! I always welcome feedback to inform future posts. Below I’ve left some of the research sources we’ve used throughout our journey. XO
S H O P T H E P O S T