My Thoughts and Feelings After One Year of Eating a "Real Food" Diet.
If you followed my blog previously, you would remember me switching to a vegan "plant based" diet January of 2012. After 3 months of doing this and realizing that my heath was suffering, I found a whole new type of nutrition and in April of 2012 I focused on a real food diet (sometimes called Just Eat Real Food or JERF). I spoke about following a Bulletproof Diet, and eating foods for their nutrient density. This meant, after 17 years vegetarian, I started eating meat. I haven't posted in awhile, and I wanted to share with you all what it has been like through the past year my new way of looking at food.
What was I eating before? Vegan/vegetarian. High in carbohydrates through breads, cereals, fruits, and veggies. High in soy through meat alternatives. Cliff bars, oatmeal, ezekial bread with almond butter and honey. Previous to the 3 months of veganism I would eat cheese and fish, but in those three months I stuck with soy cheeses and tofu. Lots of fruit, plenty of vegetables. Avocado, olives, cooking with olive oil. Sounds fairly healthy right? I felt awful about one month in.
What am I eating now? Bacon, eggs, butter, steaks, roasts, coffee, plenty of veggies, berries, coconut oil, nuts, avocados, olives, fish, seafood, dark chocolate and coconut milk. Sounds delicious eh?! Those of you who know me, know why I put bacon first :)
And how does that make you feel? (Asked in a very professional psychologist type of way). I feel better than I have ever felt in my whole life! It is absolutely amazing to me how great I feel with eating so many things that I believed were bad for me for so many years. But belief is the key word. Much of our health and nutrition information is based on a belief that what the medial and the government tells us is well researched and correct. Better to "biohack" yourself. Try out different diets and see what works for you. For me, this is the solution at this time in my life.
So what exactly am I feeling? Plenty more energy, all day long. I can go many hours without eating and not feel any blood sugar drops at all, and this was a huge problem for me a year ago. I think I would have been considered pre-diabetic if I had told my M.D my symptoms.. maybe I should just ask my sister! I can concentrate and think more clear than I ever have before. I continue to avoid most colds and flus- I used to get sick nearly every month and now I rarely do (that began with taking my Usana vitamins though), but now even my allergies are greatly reduced.
What about my cholesterol though? If you can believe this, when I was in chiropractic college, we did a cholesterol blood test on ourselves. Myself and the other vegetarian, had the highest total cholesterol!! It was shocking. I now understand that total cholesterol is not a good marker of health, but regardless it seemed strange. I have had my blood work done a couple of times now, the first one was about 3 months into my new diet. For a life insurance policy. I was slightly worried hahaha... But in fact it turned out to be great with all of my levels being within normal, including my total triglycerides. This was great to hear since about 40-60% of my calories per day come from fat. I had my blood work done again a few months ago and my numbers had all gone down, except my HDL which is what you want to be up! It was really awesome to see. I also tested my vitamin D, since I take 3000-5000 I.U/day and wanted to be sure I am not too high. I was within normal and even on the low end. Considering my vitamins follow pharmaceutical standards, I knew it wasn't the product. I really can and need to supplement with that much or more! I will continue to test though, and you should as well, to be sure you are doing what is best for your own body.
Weight changes? Yes and no. I don't have a scale. It causes stress and I advocate that how your clothes fit is much more important. But my clothes still fit and I have switched to bacon and eggs and butter. Now the problem, I think, is that I eat 80/20 real food. I definitely have "cheat days" and my worst ones involve sugar. I will forever have to watch my sugar cravings, I can imagine many people understand this feeling. My plan for the next year of this is to really work on my sugar intake. Maybe that will be my post next year! It's a tough one, and will keep your body in a sugar burning mode (as opposed to fat burning) and can really halt fat loss. So basically I feel amazing, even significantly better in my own skin regardless of what has or hasn't changed. Oh did I mention I don't have to count calories or portion control? That is a huge bonus also. I eat until I am full, which is so easy to do with delicious fats and proteins and butter soaked veggies!
In my previous posts you can learn details on what I eat specifically and why, and resources to do this for yourself if you want to also! Feel free to email me with any questions or thoughts, I am happy to help!
Until next time,
Picking eggs from Bartel Organics.
I promised I would write after 100 days. It's been 107. It's Time.
I wanted to wait until 100 days had passed before really commenting on how my new diet is going. This is because that is what I had done while attempting veganism and I only felt it was fair to give this change an equal chance. At 100 days vegan I was very much ready to quit. My initial honeymoon phase with it had worn thin and I think my body was quickly depleted of it's stores of nutrients and fats. I studied the Bulletproof Diet and became intrigued and eventually convinced that this was the best method to being an optimal human. Who doesn't want that, right? So I jumped in and went for it. It took me a couple weeks to change from being a "bulletproof vegetarian" to eating meat. One thing that was interesting was that I never once felt any negative side effects from eating meat after having abstained for 17 years. I wonder if it is because I only eat pastured organic (sustainable and loved) meats. My wonderful husband is a huge fan of my food cost budget (not) (neither is my financial planner). But anyhow, I needed to do 100 days of self experimentation before I really began working with others to encourage them to do what I am doing. I can gladly say that this past 100 (sorry 107) days have been wonderful. I have been sleeping well, feeling energetic, seeing my skin clear and my hair soften. I have been thinking clearer, my overall mood is literally 100% improved, no more shaking and dizziness with extended periods of time without food, no more anxiety and my digestion is much improved. I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to genuinely be optimal. And I would be extremely happy to help you get there!
Lakeland meats bacon & Bartel eggs.
So what the hay am I doing, right? What IS the Bulletproof Diet exactly? I know I have briefly explained it in the past but I think the best thing to understand is that it was created by a man named Dave Asprey who was searching for what allowed him to feel and function his very best. Unbeknownst to him during his creation of the diet, it is actually a low allergen/ low toxin version of a high fat Paleo diet. So I think I need to try to help explain what a Paleo diet is so that we can move on to what a Bulletproof diet is, after. I find that if you are COMPLETELY new to "diet-hacking", you should probably attempt a couple weeks of being Paleo and then optimize it by going Bulletproof. These can be humongoid changes for someone to go through and even though I'm a bit more inclined to jump right in and do it, I know that isn't the case for everyone. I definitely understand the "use it up and then don't buy it again" idea. So what is a Paleo diet. You may have heard about this lately, or maybe not. It is actually really interesting to me, being a biology major in University. I find a lot of Paleo advocates are science-y people. Note, we aren't very strong in english.. Many of the big names in the community are research minded individuals (ex. Chris Kresser, Chris Masterjohn, Matt LaLonde). Here is a link to Chris Masterjohn's story of leaving vegetarian/veganism. I could immediately relate to the idea of evolution and how our bodies have formed over time. Consider this, before agriculture began how on earth would we eat wheat, sugar, or vegetable oils? It wasn't possible. Not in the ways and quantities we are now taking in. Nevermind bananas in Canada in January! Ring ring ring ring... (who knows what song that is). Considering how long it takes for evolution to occur, it makes complete sense to me that our bodies and minds have not adapted to eating these foods that are essentially man-made. The mantra for many Paleo people (and me too) is to 'just eat real food'. If you could have eaten it before agriculture, then it's Paleo and considered real food. So that includes all meats and fish, eggs, raw milk if you like and butter, fruits, vegetables, and nuts and seeds. There is other things but that is the general picture. I am not saying we should live like cavemen (although that could be fun, as long as no one drags me by my hair), but I am saying that if we eat the way our bodies had eaten for thousands and thousands of years, we will feel optimal. Anyhow, the Paleo diet is very interesting and there are many great books, podcasts, and blogs that you can read/watch/listen to if you would like to learn more. Mark Sission has a great blog here and Robb Wolf has one here. I highly recommend The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf as a good read to start with. But moving on to where the Bulletproof diet fits in. You will see if you go to bulletproofexec.com and download the PDF that it very much aligns with the Paleo diet. Oh by the way, Paleo means from the Paleolithic era. Many of the differences are in the avoidance of mycotoxins (from molds) and other common sources of allergens and toxins.
The Bulletproof diet teaches your body to become fat adapted, to burn its own fat for fuel and then supplement wisely for your individual needs. For the past 107 days I have focused on eating 60% of my calories from fat, 20% from protein, and 20% from carbs. I would say everything has improved and I find my clothes to fit better. And I haven't cut calories, restricted myself, or counted anything at all. Now to be honest, I have only lost a couple pounds of weight on the scale. I do have to tweak what I am doing to be able to see that move some more but I know that I have lost inches and it is important for everyone (including myself) to understand that a) this takes a lot of time as you are healing your body from years of poor eating and b) the scale doesn't matter. Of course my husband has lost 25 lbs and can lift more weight than ever. MEN!
I plan to blog more often now! I want to share with all of you specific topics and information that I have studied. Rather than blab it all in one massive post, I will divide it up over time. But feel free to email me or comment if you have any questions and I will be happy to answer when I can, or at least direct you to the resource you need! I would also love to work with you in my office if you would like to do some nutritional coaching. I have seen some really exciting results and am so proud of my current Paleo/bulletproof-ers/optimal humans!. Send me an email here if you would like to get started.
Enjoy your butter!
PS I strongly recommend you clicking on the many links through this to learn SO MUCH more!
Want to really freak out your friends? Go vegan, then tell them you have ordered a cow while munching on some bacon. It's been about 50 days now on my new "bulletproof" diet. I am very aware to watch how I feel, and especially when I reach 100 days. But I do have to say that for now, I still feel really great.
After 17 years without eating any meat, my first experience was slightly... wine related. I was at Marben in Toronto and decided to try one of my best friend's steak and her charcuterie plate. It was such a strange feeling to think I would actually eat the slice of meat on my fork. But I know Marben is a very sustainable restaurant and they ensure the quality and respect for the animals that they serve, so I took a bite. The charcuterie was tasty but I really only had a sliver... washed down with more wine...
Holding the steak on my fork was definitely strange. I attempted to eat it but then couldn't. Then I tried again, and again and finally I actually ate it. Chewy. I asked- "people enjoy such chewy food??" Although the texture was different, the flavour was actually very tasty. I tried the outer edge so it was well cooked which I didn't mind for a first bite. I don't even remember if I've ever had steak before... Mom??
I told my husband and he was very happy and excited but he also felt a little weird about it. Vegetarianism had defined me for as long as almost everyone who knows me, has known me. That week we tried some grass-fed home made burgers (with no bun), and I really can't say I liked them. I will give them another chance but so far, I don't see it. I actually like veggie burgers better, but I won't go back to those given what I am learning about soy (and legumes, and grains, and- no that's it). Here's a great podcast you should check out if you are vegetarian or vegan or are considering it: The Vegetarian Myth. You could even listen to it just for fun to see where I'm coming from.
My newest favourite food though, Bacon. Hence the name of the blog post. WOW why haven't I tried this until now?! My daily lunch this week (which has been my first meal of the day after my BP coffee) has been bacon and eggs. Of course, the catch is, it has to be pastured organic eggs (Bartel or the St. Catharines Market), and pastured, organic, happily raised bacon. I found some bacon at both Lakeland Meats and Organic Garage. It tends to be about $10 per pack but I would say well worth the investment. I have also tried ham which is delicious, chicken which is fine (likely better with different sauces and maybe bacon wrapped), and pork which is also delicious! Keep in mind, I am working my way up to full portions, and have still been eating a lot of fish. Actually Lakeland Meats has some sustainable fish there, as well as of course Organic Garage and if you are in Toronto check out Hooked as well.
So how am I feeling with eating meat? Actually really really good. I primarily notice that I am full with eating meat/fish with butter/oil and some veggies. I don't require food again for a number of hours. Which is so VERY different than when I was vegan and even vegetarian. I would keep a snack in my car and in my purse incase too many hours passed and I was starting to get shaky and sweaty and thinking unclear. And too many hours was maybe- 2-3 hours. Maybe 4. Clearly my blood sugar was extremely out of order. Beyond that, the whole diet is continuing to make me feel really well and if you are wondering, I eat as much food, and specifically as much fat (good fats- grass fed butter, avocados, avocado oil, olive oil and coconut oil) that I want and haven't gained a pound in 50 days. My husband has lost about 15 lbs, but is also building muscle. Eating steak and butter. It seems to work better or more quickly for him, but my long history of vegetarianism may have changed some things hormonally that will take some time to fix..
Guess who else is changing her diet!? Lazy Straya. I found it interesting to stumble upon a podcast about pets and pet food. Why are cats eating so many grains in their food? No wonder Straya has a little weight problem and is always tired! Im starting her on a high protein "evolutionary diet" cat food today. Ill keep you posted on her results too. No BP coffee for her though :)
Anyhow, I hear that meat obtained straight from the farm is the most delicious. It is also grass-fed, grass-finished. And the farmer promises me he loved the cow. So we did order a cow and will be picking it up in about 2 weeks. Come over for a BBQ so you can test it yourself!
Have a wonderful week and enjoy the sun.
I love to share health information, wealth building tips, entrepreneurial ideas, and travel experiences! Talk about a range! But doing what I love has truly paid off and I hope to help inspire you to do the same!