Monday, March 12, 2018

Why I am Going Plant Based & Dairy Free

Hello everyone! I am making a return to blogging, a long overdue return I might say. I stepped away from one of my favorite hobbies for several reasons, work being the main reason. I had gotten a promotion which cut my time at home too minimal. As an assistant manager in a very large chain restaurant I was and still am working lots of split shifts. Combined with the perk of getting a free meal with every shift cooking at home became a twice a week thing. There were some weeks where I cooked nothing at home, and if I am honest those weeks were far more often than I care to admit. I was eating mainly heavily processed foods. And those days I did cook at home were not much better. I would use mainly canned or pre-prepared vegetables. No meal for me was centered around the vegetables to make things even worse. The center piece of every meal was meat, which I have come to learn in this day and age is not the same meat our parents and grandparents ate.

We all know that when we eat meat we are putting whatever that animal ate into our body as well. But have you ever stopped to think, "What is my meat eating?". If you have ever stopped to think about it did you ever take the time to look into how those animals raised for mass consumption are fed? Like myself I bet not. We have all heard the same talking points from vegetarians and vegans and just blown them off. Why did we have this reaction? Well for me and many people I bet the answer is simple. We learned the food pyramid in school. What if I told you that the food pyramid is a lie? In this age of google would you take twenty minutes to do some research? I hope you would, but for most I bet you would not. You would keep on going down the road of easy, cheap, and convenient food choices.

Well lets take a step back and finish my thoughts from my first paragraph. I began to live a life full of convenient food, and it started to take a horrible toll on my health. I think now I should say that before this time I trained in MMA for nine years. I did jiu-jitsu, muay-thai, wrestling, and judo religiously. I was 150 pounds and for all purposes fit. Then I stopped the MMA and began this road down a dangerous diet at the same time. Fast forward 2 years and my weight shot up. Fast forward another 2 years and I developed an intolerance to gluten. During this time my sleep patterns went to hell, I mean if I slept six hours a night that was a good night. A bad night was four nonconsecutive hours. I had an eczema that would not go away nor would it subside with any type of ointment or medication. I was lethargic and always felt sick. I cut the gluten and the eczema went away and I felt much better. Fast forward another six months and I landed my dream job. I became the head chef at a local micro brewery.

This job gave me more control over my diet than I had in years even though I was working well over 90 hour weeks. Why you might ask? Well that was because I developed the menu from the ground up with an emphasis on local foods. I held strong on the light gluten diet and was consuming limited processed foods. The only thing we had in our freezer was fish; because we are in northern Texas, bread, and french fries. I was eating fresh hand made foods prepared with love and passion. I felt good and my waist line shrank again even though I was not exercising. Skip ahead another six months and the brewery closed. (I will write more on this but now is not the time.) I ended up back in my corporate job and dysfunctional diet I was previously on. This time around I could not deny nor could I ignore the impact the foods I was putting in my body was having.

I work with a woman who is on a plant based whole food diet and she was always trying to get me to watch some documentaries about food and health on Netflix. She knew I had a passion for food because that is all I really talk about. I knew she was trying to convert me, and I wanted no part of it. I had watched several documentaries already that showed the cruel nature of how we raise animals for food, and I still loved meat. Cowspiracy  had no effect on my love for beef. But then I caved and watched the documentaries she recommended and this time it made me think. The timing just happened to be perfect. I  had recently listened to a podcast with a psychologist and a dietitian about how they were treating children with attention disorder and autism by changing their diets. This no medication approach was very successful. A light went off in my head and I had to admit something. My diet was killing me.

At nearly 40 years old I developed an intolerance to gluten, I cut the gluten out for a while and I felt better. I still did not feel 100% though. So why not try going plant based and see if I feel any better? That is what I am doing. As of writing this I am only eight days in and I feel great! I did not go into this blindly though, I read a lot of articles and a few research papers. I learned that everything I was taught about food was a lie. I discovered that the American Cancer Society and other government health organizations were in the pocket of big food corporations. The research they publish is funded by these food corporations and the recipes they post are dangerous to the people they are supposed to be helping. That is like paying the casinos paying for research to prove gambling is not addictive, of course they will get the results they paid for. This is my problem with the peer review system. There are plenty of studies that show the opposite information that is taught to the public and the opposing studies are swept aside. Don't just take my word for it, go take a look for yourself.

So I have made the choice to go plant based and dairy free. I am limiting my use of processed foods. It has been a challenge of course, especially going all in and not weening off the dairy. I am finding it exciting to be back in the kitchen at home. Trying these new recipes and testing my skills is fun and driving my passion for great tasting beautiful foods. I am also getting outside more and starting a garden. I plan to grow some herbs and a few vegetables this first season. I am starting small so I don't overwhelm myself. I will be adding my garden and the journey it takes me on to the blog as well. It should help supplement content and give me a way to keep a journal of this life change. I hope you join me on this new road I am traveling and I hope those of you who are still eating convenient will take some time consider cutting some of that out of your diet and get into your kitchen. My motto was and still is "Cooking is only as difficult as you make it"...

Love food, live life!

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