Sunday, 27 July 2014
One week into my new way of eating and I feel so good. I'm not going to put forward a mere seven days as any kind of result but at this stage, it's looking and tasting good. Dieting to lose weight doesn't work for me and I've only tried it maybe three or four times in the last 30 years and never got past a couple of weeks. Lack of sustainability, joy and frankly, a f*** about fitting into the aesthetic standards of a twisted culture have always had me heading back to the Galaxy bars pretty quickly. To be fair, as a 5' 9" ectomorph, who had years of intense exercise, I didn't really have to think about it for decades but this pesky middle-age is where your sins are sure to catch you up.
Still, I was just the right side of healthy according to the charts. Just. And not too miserable to be in clothes two dress sizes up from my fighting weight. But I was beginning to get anxious about my health. I'm 51 and I have an eight year old daughter. I'm approaching that age when your peers sometimes 'die young' - brutal but true. The thought of Evie being motherless for the second time in her young life is horrific. The thought of leaving this beautiful life too soon, almost as bad. At this stage I can't rest on my past to carry me forward. That momentum is gone. I need to be proactive and committed.
My personal opinions on farming sentient beings to make sandwiches and pies are clear: it's despicable to me. Widely reported facts on environmental issues are also clear to me: more than 50% of global human-caused greenhouse gases can be attributed to livestock produced for food industry and their by-products.You can save more water by not eating a kilo of beef than you do by not showering for an entire year. What I'm saying is this: my motivation for not eating animal products is about doing what's right for the health of me, other beings AND the planet. Micro and macro. Deep ecology stylee - we are all one.
I went looking for inspiration to help me set new ways of living and found it primarily among plant-fuelled athletes who manage to mix scientific research, 'green living' and a spiritual take on life that has my heart singing in recognition. I'm no athlete, nor will I ever be, but these people are about pushing the boundaries of possibility over the horizon. At any age. It makes switching my meal plan around a bit feel like a very simple task.
What I wasn't expecting was to enjoy it so much because I have never been any kind of cook. I'm more of a heater. If it's quick, in a jar or a bag, and vegetarian, I'd eat it. Make it full of fat and sugar and ideally chocolate-flavoured and I would devour it. Sometimes several times a day. Comfort eating was a speciality. Carbs were always perfect for inducing just enough of a sugar coma to numb off those annoying bites at your psyche that your intuition uses to try to steer you right. They also helped keep me still if I had to sit at a desk or in any one place for more than five minutes. And they taste yummy. All I had to do was keep copping out of any kind of response to the dairy industry and its inherent horrors. Pass me a packet of chocolate digestives and I'd have that sucker unconscious in moments.
'But I LOVE pizza with cheese on it' was never one iota different to my much-loathed,'But I could never give up bacon' and I was only ever one bowl of ice cream away from having to face that fact.
This last week I've eaten #rawtilfour. Raw wholefoods for breakfast, lunch and snacks. Some of it whizzed into veg smoothies in my beloved Nutribullet (without which I would've been struggling) but most just chopped up and eaten with some fresh hummus (food of the gods). In the evenings I've cooked, like properly and everything, a vegan hot meal for us all. I've been interested to note that as delicious as that meal has been, I clearly only need about a third of the portion I've been dishing up because that heavy, 'let me sleep' feeling comes straight back when I eat it. Maybe it's that I'm getting so much from the raw food that my body doesn't need much more. Whatever, I find myself wishing I'd stayed with raw but that probably won't last past this spell of very hot weather we're enjoying.
Here's the result so far: much more energy, better sleep, better mood, lighter conscience, piqued interest in plants and their qualities, an enjoyment of meal prep, wicked strong willpower that had me easily refusing multiple cakes and biscuits at the office (always a weak spot) and, incidentally, a weight loss of five and a half pounds. The thing is, I don't WANT to eat any other way at this point. It's too damn tasty and enjoyable. I've even found myself wandering the fields thinking about how I can improve a recipe. WHO AM I?
Also, I'm proud of myself. And that doesn't happen too often I can tell you.
My short term goal is to lift my energy and lower my weight to a point where I want to move more and then I'm going to start running. Walking and running. One crappy run after another until I reach a good one. I came so close to writing off this amazing body as just another victim to the 'disease of ageing' before I woke up and saw I was falling into that trap.
Just one week. No big deal. Except it is a big deal. And I'm excited to see where it takes me.