If you’ve peeked around my blog, you’ve probably seen me mention that I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 13 years old and I’m currently 27. So it’s been over 11 years and it is simply a part of me now.
When I first went plant based I became “different” to a lot of people (even to my own family). No one seemed to get it or why I would want to cut out meat/dairy/seafood. Plant based diets were not looked at like they are now. There also were not many vegan/vegetarian options in restaurants or the grocery stores. (And if there were options, they were not tasty or healthy). Things have changed since back in the day. More and more people have taken on plant based diets fully or a primarily plant based diet.
When I first began my plant based lifestyle I really had no reason. I heard of someone famous doing it and my 13 year old self thought “wow thats cool, ME TOO”. So I gave it a shot and it really stuck. Then I went on to learning about what goes on in the meat and dairy industry and I knew there was no turning back.
Taking on a complete plant based diet was the best thing I’ve done for myself. I had never felt better. I had more energy, less bloated, my skin and hair glowed, my stamina was amazing (I could workout for 2 hours and want to keep going along with quick recovery), and my immune system was strong. (I am not saying if you go vegan you will be the strongest you can be and will want to work out for hours at a time, but if it happens, kudos to you).
photo on the left was taken circa 2012 and the photo on the right was July of 2017 when I was 100% plant based.
Flash forward to last year, I checked out theNetflix series “The Paleo Way”.I was so intrigued by it that I decided to give it a try. As a vegetarian I ate a-lot of grains and legumes so I knew this was going to be a challenge. If you aren’t familiar with the Paleo lifestyle, it simply means low carb, real ingredients, no grains and higher fat. If you want more on the benefits of Paleo or the science behind it I reference a few sites below.
Of course if you eat a plant based diet you know that grains, soy, and legumes are essentially the main sources of protein to fuel your body. So there wasn’t many options. I tried eggs and almond butter but you can only eat so much of those before you make yourself sick. So I incorporated seafood in (it was the only thing I could justify eating).
Heres what I was led to believe about going Paleo:
More clarity in the head/less brain fog/better focus
Less digestive issues
Overall better health
Less bodily pain (I suffered with TMJ for 2 years and hoped it would help which it did not, I’ve learned it was totally stress related!!)
The first week was foggy. I felt like I was living in a cloud, which I assumed was from the lack of sugar (even though I really try to stray from sugar as much as possible). Then that feeling went away. To be honest I simply felt the same as I did on a plant based diet with the exception of terrible digestion becoming a thing and I was always hungry. My boyfriend did it with me and he felt the best he ever had.
We stayed on a Paleo path for about 9 months. Then I started incorporating grains and legumes back into the picture.
For me eating all comes down to how I feel inside. I can tell by my mood, digestion, and my skin/hair/nails how well I am taking care of my body. There are so many different “diets” out there (vegan, keto, paleo, whole 30). While I do believe doing a complete elimination diet is the best route to see what bothers you, I don’t think there is a one size fits all diet. A lot of people are bothered by gluten. I do myself avoid gluten. But when I have it, it doesn’t bother me at all. Grains like quinoa and brown rice give me so much energy, where as some people may not digest them well. It is all about listening to your body and tuning in to see how what you eat makes you feel.
I didn’t have any illness or disease going into Paleo. I simply tried it out of curiosity and I am all about trying new things. It definitely taught me a lot about eating and how to shop for groceries (like checking every ingredient on the label!!) Whether you eat completely plant based or primarily plant based with meat/dairy, it’s all about listening to your body and eating what works for you. It’s about cutting out the processed ingredients and the additives. It’s about eating real, whole foods. Foods derived from the earth, not a chem lab.
I feel better than ever being back on my plant based diet (with the exception of seafood 1-2 times a week). I do what feels right to me and I encourage you to do just that.
I used to feel like I had a giant label ”VEGETARIAN” on my back when I’d go out to eat. And I see labels everywhere even now “Paleo” “Pescatarian” “Gluten-free” “vegan”, oh and you know the “normal” one. I prefer to not put a label on myself. A plant based diet is apart of who I am, it is not “what I am”. I am here to tell you that you don’t need to find a certain “diet/lifestyle”. How you eat is personal and individual. Were not all built the same, so how we eat won’t fit into one simple category. I spent the past year creating paleo only recipes and now you are going to see a healthy mix of everything on this site (just probably no meat recipes but you can always add that in). I love to create foods that nourish the body. Some recipes may not agree with you the way others might. Some of what I have to say may resonate with you, and some might not. You do what works for you.
Disclaimer: I am not a Registered Dietician. Consult with your doctor first before making any changes to your diet and health.
References to plant based diets and paleo
Kimberly Snyder is my go-to. She is a celebrity nutritionist and has many amazing books and healthy recipes
Skinny Bitch- a book on veganism and a look inside the meat and dairy industry. This one is an oldy but goody
I truly hope you found something to take away from this. Feel free to drop some kind feedback in the comments below. I love hearing from you guys!