What am I eating? Giving up plant based?

So, I had someone say that they would be so curious to see what I eat in a day, and I don't know why I've never done more of those. I know that's more of a youtube thing, but I can do that on the blog, or I also could do it on youtube, but I just wanted to share some of the things that I am eating or that Tanner is eating, and I will do a "what I eat in a day?" soon. 

I know that many of you know that about 1.5 years ago, we made a switch(ish) to plant based eating. It took a long time for me to learn the principles of this lifestyle and I would have seasons where I was off and on with it. As of about 6 weeks ago, I wanted to "come forward" (ha) and say that we have stepped away from pushing that lifestyle on ourselves as much. I found myself formulating a bad relationship with food, and not allowing me to enjoy time with friends and family due to feeling guilty in my head that I was eating something that wasn't plant based. 

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I have said since the very beginning that I wanted to be balanced about it, but the more and more that I got into it, the more and more I wasn't balanced, craved meat, which is like the opposite of how I should feel. I also know that this is partly due to needing iron, and there are also other sources of iron but I clearly wasn't doing a good job of eating those either. I find that when I have all of these dietary "rules" swirling in my head, it just gets complicated and not fun. I enjoy counting macros and always have. I don't find that restrictive, but I do find plant based restrictive, and that's most likely because of where I live, and the things that we do, but those things aren't going to change, so I have to realistic about it. 

I don't like restriction of foods. It makes me super uncomfortable because of my background.  I also want to say that this is nothing against plant based. I personally think it's like the perfection of perfection diets, but let me just tell you how imperfectly perfect I am! ;) I think that if we all were to live a plant based lifestyle with all these fun home cooked meals, then that would be a beautiful thing, but the reality is that my brother is going to grill out at his house every weekend and there's only so many times that I want to be difficult and bring my own food and have everyone ask questions that is new to the party. Blah. I would try to discuss the reasons that we did, but inevitably the person ends up thinking that you think that you're better than them, when that's not your intention at all. 

I know the ends and outs of how this lifestyle works, and I have implemented them slowly and surely and I will keep those. I eat many more veggies, but I think that if I'm craving chicken, then I should have chicken versus telling myself over and over that I can't have chicken. At the end of the day, when I look at the literature from a health perspective, I know that the people who are studied are not people like me who eating lean chicken, egg whites, and fish, but rather people who are eating tons of heavy saturated fat laden beef and yes that comes with health consequences, and I don't want to be "afraid" to eat grilled chicken because that's just a reductionistic outlook in dieting and that's not good health mentally in my opinion. 

Health encompasses many things with mental and social health being on the top of the list, and I found over time that I personally was eating less due to not being able to eat certain things, and it just was all sorts of triggering to my past. NO THANK YOU! 

However, in no way do I want this to look bad on the plant based lifestyle as a whole. From a health, environmental, animal cruelty, and world hunger perspective, I truly think that it is absolutely wonderful. So so wonderful. But there's just so much more to it than the science behind it. 

Lastly, good ole Tanner, the mr "switch my diet on a whim" guy. He was like "I'm fine with you going back to eating meat, but I'm going to stick with my tofu" and I was like "k cool" and then we started having meals together and I was having separate meat products than him, and then it was this conversation of me feeling like a jerk for giving it up and him not wanting me to feel that way about food and why are we talking so much about food now and blah blah and on it goes. Again, it just got COMPLICATED when food should not be complicated. It should be as simplified as possible, as enjoyable as possible as well, so he decided that if I was going to be making something like tacos, he wasn't going to do tofu, but just rather have the chicken tacos with me. 

With the amount of calories that Tanner has to intake, he also was eating heavy heavy amounts of carb like upwards of 600-700g and when he got his A1C back, which is an average of blood glucose levels across 3 months, he saw that his A1C was like minimally elevated (still within normal limits) and we talked about how the only way that he could do plant based without driving up his A1C is if he was 100%%%% plant based without any veganism because there is a difference. He was eating a lot of pasta, and breads and those are obviously not plant based, and he just couldn't imagine restricting even more.

Last but not least, we found that our guts adjusted to the lifestyle which they will do. Your microbiome becomes accustomed to the diet that you are eating, and this is seen as a good thing for those that are trying to make the healthy lifestyle switch because maybe one day they won't hate their diet. There's a lot of flaws within that, and one of those is that both Tanner and I both couldn't enjoy a meal outside of our homes without feeling really sick. If we decided that we were going to get a fried chicken sandwich or an ice cream cone, then we felt TERRIBLEEE. I have to admit that two of my favorite foods from the time that I have been a child is not something that I want to give up. I also don't want to feel terrible after I eat them. 

I know that this sounds like a justification blog, but I wanted to explain in full that we gave it our hardest attempt but have decided to continue with many of the principles that we learned, but not push it anymore and will be returning to eating meat. I'm going to be doing a meal prep type blog/youtube soon, and I am prepping some chicken in the crockpot so I thought it might be good to go over this before I dropped that bomb. HAHA! 

Everyone is different, so whatever healthy lifestyle works for you, then that is a beautiful thing. I'm so glad we gave this a chance, and it was a beautiful journey. 

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