What I eat really affects how I look, feel and sleep
Want to know how I:
- Decreased my undereye circles?
- Cleared up my acne (it really is linked to diet, although stress & hormones will cause it too)
- Got better skintone and complexion?
- Have more energy?
- Sleep better at night? (Higher quality of sleep, deeper REM cycles)
Well I went semi-vegan (food-only) since about the start of May.
I eat about 99% vegan, 95% at the lowest points (usually when I have to go out and eat with friends that counts towards my weekly / monthly average of being vegan).
I wasn’t eating badly before (far from it, I’m pretty strict), but I was eating more vegetarian than vegan.
WHAT IS A VEGAN?
A vegan in the strictest sense does not eat or wear anything from animals.
That means they do not eat meat (poultry, pork, beef), seafood, dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese), eggs, and honey (it’s made by bees) for instance.
They also don’t wear leather, and don’t wear fabrics like silk (made by silkworms).
SO YOU ARE NOT A VEGAN THEN? NO.. NOT REALLY!
Actually I wouldn’t even call it being vegan, I’d call it more Okinawan as a diet because I haven’t totally cut out 100% and it only applies to my food:
- milk — splash in my tea in the mornings, we went from 6L a week to 1L a month
- eggs — in crepes mostly, or things that need eggs, or sometimes because I want to eat one
- honey — a touch in my tea in the mornings and in my oatmeal (I’ve been cutting that back too)
- wearing leather — “vegan” only extends to my food so far, but never say never…?
- seafood only as a treat — only when I go out to eat with friends, otherwise I eat at vegan restaurants
It sounds like it’s not vegan, but if you read carefully, I am not actively eating like a vegetarian with a LOT of milk, cheese, eggs, yoghurt, as part of my daily diet.
I eat those things on occasion (going out to eat with friends), but not all the time or as part of my meal plan.
In all honesty, I am doing this to feel healthier, better, and I’ve surprised myself along the way.
The happier animals and cleaner environment are just a nice bonus on the side, but not the main reason why I’m doing it.
THE THINGS ABOUT MEAT YOU WISH YOU NEVER KNEW
Did you know that they just throw away the boy chicks and discard them like garbage, live into garbage bags, or ground into mush when they hatch because they’re worthless for meat or eggs?
Yeah. I read that in a vegetarian pamphlet AFTER I had given up eating meat.
At least I didn’t feel sick.
Here’s a few more:
They also cut the tails off pigs who were demoralized in pens to stop them from biting the tails of each other out of frustration and stress….
Cows go on a conveyer belt of death, full of fear to be slaughtered by a nasty looking machine of whirring blades en masse…
UPDATE from @matthewchat:
About cows and the whirling blades o’death – they are killed using something resembling a power drill to the skull. The conveyor belts are only after they are brain dead.
Thanks for clarifying!
Chickens that are inside factories are so under developed and sick that when you lift a chicken up by the legs, their legs fall off from a lack of muscle being built…. (this was actually witnessed by a friend who went to a chicken farm to see how they were raised, and went vegetarian right after).
It’s all quite horrific.
Still, even reading that you might think:
Mmm.. I feel a bit uneasy but not willing to give up nommy roasted chicken.
(I thought that. I’m not ashamed to admit it.)
So even if you watch something like Vegucated, you feel sick, and grossed out enough with the way they treat animals to stop eating them for a while…… but then the lure of meat draws you back in.
That’s the way I felt too in the past. I could just eat better quality meat from better-treated animals, right?
Then I realized that I cared less about the animals and the environment.
As a selfish human, I cared more about MYSELF, which is why I am eating more vegan now.
What I liked to eat and taste.
So I present to you:
THE HEALTH-BASED reasons to go vegan as much as possible!
Okay maybe not by eating hot peppers but… aren’t they pretty?
YOU CAN TURN ON AND OFF CANCER WITH THE FOOD YOU EAT
I think if vegans told people how much better they would feel (by showing them Forks Over Knives for instance), and how they could cure so many diseases and prevent many cancers on such a diet, more people would switch. *shrug*
They did a whole study (cited by doctors in the film), that basically outlined the facts in research that 5% casein (found in dairy products), turned OFF cancers, and 20% of casein turned ON many cancers.
Sure you have genetic markers for cancer like Angelina Jolie getting a voluntary mastectomy to lower her chances of breast cancer, but that’s a small percentage of the population, not even 10%.
So why are SO many more of us rife with cancer?
I hear stories about people I know getting cancer ALL THE TIME now, even in my family, we’re full of cancers.
In the film, they also found research that stated the people of Europe who were taken over by the Nazis, had their livestock confiscated so they lived on a diet of mostly plants.
Their cancer rate just PLUMMETED after the Nazis occupied their country.
LESS people died after the Nazis took away their animals to eat for themselves, and I daresay more Nazis died from eating all that meat.
UPDATE from @matthewchat:
“Regarding the healthful effects from WWII – it was most likely caloric restriction rather than the absence of meat that improved peoples health during that period.
There is the CRON diet – caloric restriction with optimal nutrition – that reduces cancer and most diseases, and most likely extends your life span as well.
The reason vegetarianism improves your health is most likely because of the reduction in overall calories as opposed to getting rid of the unhealthiness of meat. http://www.livestrong.com/article/131737-basics-cron-diet/“
YOU CAN SEE & RECOGNIZE NOW, WHO IS SICK..
Now I can recognize the signs of heart disease and high cholesterol in people — the red sort of sweaty, full looking face, the huffing, puffing, struggle to breathe, walk and talk….. it’s all there, plain as day that they need some SERIOUS help.
I saw a guy the other day who looked.. bloated, for lack of a better word. He just did not look fit, full of energy or happy. He just looked sick, sad, and bloated, munching away on his McDonald’s burger.
I thought he would drop on the sidewalk and start having a heart attack and it scared me.
You can SEE it all around you if you pay attention — people are just NOT healthy and it shows.
The skin especially on some people, can really tell you what they’re eating and how badly they’re eating. If you ever watch videos of people in other parts of the world like on the continents of Africa, or in the deep jungles of South America, you will see that not a single person has acne.
Beautiful, clear, smooth, gorgeous skin.
This is a Western, American thing (and now Asian based on what I have observed), to have acne.
Yes, some people are unfortunate to have acne just from hormones alone and not having it based on food (LIKE ME!), but what you eat REALLY shows up on your skin in complexion, tone and pimples 99% of the time.
Once I started eating better (before this vegan thing, about 2 years ago), my acne totally cleared up from my diet. Now I only get pimples because of my screwed up hormones (they show up on my chin).
Eat better, avoid added hormones in food, and you will have perfect skin.
No other way around it.
VEGANS & VEGETARIANS SHOULD SELL THE HEALTH ANGLE, NOT THE ANIMAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL CRUSADES!
Taking the angle of going vegan or vegetarian to save animals or the environment is a harder sell because animals are not humans, and humans are selfish.
So unless our human world goes up in flames, the environment is not a big incentive either because it’s not direct damage, it’s not fast-acting and it doesn’t affect us personally day-to-day (unless you live in China, and even there, people just wear masks against the smog).
MY HEALTH is my incentive to go vegan, not the animals, and not the environment and it’s a far more compelling reason to do so, over eating meat.
WHAT ARE SOME BENEFITS I AM FEELING NOW?
I SLEEP BETTER
That’s a big surprise because I always slept well but now I’m REALLY sleeping and my quality of sleep has increased.
I don’t know if this has helped my skintone and undereye bags, but it’s worth noting.
I HAVE MORE ENERGY
I also feel better, and more energetic. I’m not wasting energy digesting all that meat, so I don’t need as many calories, and I don’t get tired or fatigued after eating.
I used to feel like I needed a nap after eating a meal with meat in it.
MY SKIN HEALS BETTER
I feel like my skin cuts heal better. I got a cold sore the other day, and instead of taking 2 weeks to heal without my salting it (yes it hurts like a mofo), it took about a week.
MY SKIN LOOKS BETTER – SKINTONE, LACK OF ACNE, DARK BAGS GONE!
My skin has improved in tone. I look in the mirror and due to the better sleep and better diet, my bags under my eyes have significantly gone down.
They aren’t as dark as they used to be, and are only a few shades darker which is a miracle for me considering what I am used to seeing in the mirror.
My skin feels better, softer and I think it’s definitely due to eating a lot more vegetables and fruit.
I also think the lack of hormones from the meat I ate, has started to detox from my body and I am feeling some acne pop up on my chin, but that could also be because I stopped taking BCPs as well.
APPARENTLY MY HAIR LOOKS THICKER AND SHINIER
BF and my mother has said this.
This one I am less apt to point to diet as the reason for this because I also switched out from using commercial shampoos to using soap nuts to clean my hair.
When I used commercial shampoos, my hair would fall out in small clumps, which never bothered me because I thought that hair was SUPPOSED to fall out, but with soap nuts, there are a few times where I don’t lose ANY hair in the shower.
WHAT ARE SOME CONS TO WHAT I AM FEELING?
Can’t give the pros without the cons, right? I hate it when people only wax poetic about the great benefits of something without telling you what SUCKS about it.
I HAVE TO EAT WAY MORE & REALLY REMEMBER TO EAT
I have to eat a lot more than I thought I did before. With meat, it’s easy to eat that amount and stop, but with vegetables, I need double the food.
I also can’t skip meals. I NEED to eat.
I NEED TO START TAKING B12 SUPPLEMENTS
I am not a fan of vitamins and pills in general, but B12 was the reason why the first 2 weeks of being vegan, I felt like throwing up from being so tired and nauseous all the time.
Then I took the B12 pill and I’m much better now. No more headaches.
I SOMETIMES FEEL LOW IN ENERGY IF I DON’T EAT OFTEN ENOUGH
..which is related to not eating. I just need to eat more, and snack more which was not my habit before.
I HAVE TO EAT SMALLER MEALS MORE OFTEN
I am now eating small meals throughout the day with snacks rather than 3 big ones.
There is only so much oatmeal you can eat before you need to eat again to give yourself energy again.
MY BODY PROCESSES THE FOOD A LOT QUICKER
TMI maybe but I need to go to the bathroom a lot more often on this diet. It’s due to the increased amount of water I am eating in the vegetables and fruits, but also that my body eats the food and then it processes through my system a LOT quicker than before.
There is no lag time in between digesting and the bathroom, which I think is a good thing.
SO WHAT AM I EATING?
I am starting to gain a real affinity for eating beans, and while I am not entirely sure I’ll ever eat beef, chicken or pork again but I can’t say I will NEVER eat it again.
The only times I MAY not eat vegan will be when I go out to eat or when I travel overseas (especially to France with their amazing milk and cheese!!).
I will certainly not eat mass-produced meat again, however. That is for CERTAIN.
The only meat I’d eat has to be from farmers and farms that take care of their animals, let them roam free, and slaughter them as painlessly as possible.
What I’ve cut out completely, 100% for my daily diet:
- No more beef
- No more pork
- No more poultry
- No more yoghurt — not a big deal for me, as I didn’t eat much of it to begin with
- No more white breads, pastas or rice (only whole grains now) — this is not necessary to be a vegan, but I thought I’d throw that in there
DON’T YOU MISS MEAT?
Frankly, I don’t miss any of it.
I thought about not eating a steak ever again and it didn’t bother me at all.
The best beef I ever ate was in Texas but compared to heart disease and cancer with the surgeries I’d have to undergo, I’d willingly not eat it except for perhaps ONE steak a year, if that.
I’d rather eat mashed potatoes than steak, to me, and honestly, they are equally as delicious when done right.
Meat and poultry is not that flavourful here in Canada, and if I had to give up everything, I could give it all up without a fight except for fish and seafood.
I am tasting my food a lot more, finding more subtle flavours in everything I eat, and fruit is a LOT sweeter to my taste buds now.
I actually CRAVE eating chickpeas now, over any craving for meat.
A side salad of tomatoes and microgreens.. then I heaped on a whack of miso-whipped potatoes MMmmm… surprisingly filling. I would add chickpeas the next time, however.
WHAT / WHEN I EAT ON OCCASION THAT IS NOT VEGAN:
Sushi on occasion, but even eating outside as a vegan is not that hard these days.
Even that is rife with problems like tuna with high counts of mercury. You can’t eat seafood willy nilly, you have to also limit your intake.
A delicious meal I had with Bridget when she visited Toronto
I read an article that said that people who were healthier tended to have MORE problems with higher counts of mercury in their blood because they thought eating fish 2-3 times a week was healthy, but they were just poisoning themselves.
However I will try really hard to eat vegetarian / vegan even eating outside, and so far, I really like vegan food in restaurants, especially when it’s Mexican cuisine like black beans with brown rice and guacamole (NOM!!!!).
I’ve tried about 3 restaurants now, and they’re pretty filling when they aren’t raw. Raw vegan food is less filling for me but still edible, I just need 2X the amount of food.
An example of a raw vegan burger which was OMG so yummy:
I know it looks disgusting but it was SERIOUSLY delicious as a raw vegan “burger” of mushrooms and nuts. I have never had anything so yummy.
I basically inhaled it and then asked for seconds until I realized it would cost $13 per burger.
So, going vegan / Okinawan-ish is not that far of a stretch for me. I just have to learn how to eat new things.
IF YOU WANT TO GO VEGAN…
Let me save you the trouble and tell you ahead of time:
- You NEED B12. Take a supplement each day, or drink fortified drinks (soy milk).
- You NEED omega-3s, so eat walnuts.
- You NEED calcium so eat almonds, or drink fortified drinks like soy milk.
- You NEED iron, so eat oatmeal, whole grains and beans.
- You NEED beans, they REALLY fill you up like chickpeas, black beans.
- You NEED whole grains, they really fill you up as well & are tasty.
That’s about it. It’s an easy transition from being an omnivore to a vegan.
I had to find this all out the hard way (feeling dizzy, throwing up), so hopefully this helps people who are starting out.
I’ve also switched all my Starbucks drinks to fortified soy milk (easy switch, I preferred it anyway, I just didn’t want to pay $0.60 per soy change..)
I feel great. A lot better than before, but I DO need to eat more. So when I say “a bowl of oatmeal” I am not talking about a cup of oatmeal, I’m talking about cooking 2 cups of raw oatmeal and having it expand into a real bowl of food.
Same with the potatoes, I eat double what I would normally eat.
My favourite so far? Eating beans.
I never knew I liked them so much, especially chickpeas.
WOULD YOU EVER CONSIDER GOING SOMEWHAT VEGAN?
UPDATE: WHERE TO FIND GREAT VEGAN FAKE LEATHER PURSES
If you are looking to go 100% vegan, as in vegan clothing and wardrobe stuff as well, I recommend the brand Mat and Nat (Canadian-based) that makes recycled plastic faux leather bags that look VERY real.
You can see a vegan leather bag in my post here about what is in my minimalist wardrobe. It’s the large red one, bottom row, second from the right.
It looks so real, people are fooled all the time.