Okay, no need to run to your panic stations. I'll cut to the chase...Yes, it's true: I'm starting a new "diet". "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" you may be thinking. "You're already a vegan, what else is there to possibly cut out!?"
Well, unfortunately the answer is: a lot. Soy, gluten, sugar, coffee, wheat, not sleeping, stress....gah, the list just goes on. I do live a healthy lifestyle, but I know my food is slightly abundant in the above list. I love my bread and I love my coffee and although there is NOTHING wrong with that, I feel compelled to try a little health experiment! Also - let's be honest - I've been on holiday, travelling America for the last three months! My body needs a bit of a cleanse. Also, although I'm trying this I in NO WAY recommend it to anyone else, this is my own personal journey. I'll keep updating for anyone curious or even just because it's bloody entertaining.
Firstly: I must confess....I'm a little scared writing about this. Embarking on a new eating plan is always tentative because there is the possibility of "falling of the wagon" or "failing" (such a stupid word). Therefore: I am not thinking of this as a "diet". For anyone who has read over my blogs, you'll know I DESPISE diets and think they don't work. What I believe in is simply: healthy eating, listening to your body and using food as FUEL to serve you.
So what the hell am I doing? What is this "diet"?
Well, it's slightly extreme - but that's fun, right? Time to change it up! I've been aware of a diet called the "80 10 10 Diet" written by Dr Douglas Graham for a few years now. I first heard of it through some of my favourite YouTube vegans and was always curious to try it out. In a nutshell: it is a high fruit-based, raw Vegan diet. No, not 100% "fruitarian", you get plenty of greens and nuts if you desire, but there is a lot of fruit involved :)
In basic terms, you aim to eat two fruit-based meals a day (i.e: 5 bananas would be a meal....or 1/2 a watermelon cut open....etc) and one giant salad in the evening; where you'll get your greens and plenty of raw veggies (with a jazzy raw dressing if you like.) This diet is based on the idea (and some pretty convincing science!) that humans are closer to "Frugavores" than omnivores, judging by the way our bodies work and studying animals we are closest to and what they eat. I believe the diet is aimed at athletes and people who want to experience abundant health. Obviously this isn't me, I'm just curious :)
The Pros? (I.e. - why I wanted to try!)
Okay, the big pros of this diet is ABUNDANCE! You can literally eat as much as you want with zero guilt. I like my food. I like food a lot. I can eat a pretty scary amount in one sitting, so this diet appealed to me on that level. Also - on this diet, every single person who follows it says the same thing: do NOT count your calories in a restrictive manner. You are only recommended to calorie count to make sure you are getting ENOUGH calories, never to restrict. As fruit and vegetables are lower in calories, you need to make sure you eat enough to ensure you get all the fantastic health and energy benefits!
Switching to this diet you are (almost) guaranteed to shed excess weight, have more energy and clear up any digestive/skin issues. Can you say win-win? I also have to comment that I am finding it cheaper to live this way, but more on that later :)
The Cons? (Hmmmm)
Well, to be honest the only "cons" in this diet are dealing with peoples misconceptions. The obvious one is "isn't that way too much fruit??? Isn't that a lot of sugar!!?" I'm not an expert on this, but after doing lots of research, I feel confident that I'm in no danger of consuming a "dangerous" amount of fructose. Logically, I distinguish the difference between "sugar", a refined crappy substance that is crack to our bodies and the "sugar" that comes from fruit. Beautiful, fresh, perfect fruit that does our body so many services! I think it would be difficult to "hurt" your body by eating too much fruit. Unless it's not ripe, of course. Watching people who are long-term on this lifestyle is pretty convincing. They all seem like they are in immaculate health :)
Social Con? Well, yes obviously there is a con in not being able to go out for meals or sit at a cafe (although I have done that and gotten green tea). And I think that the pros outweigh this.
Isn't this just a Raw Vegan Diet?
Well, raw food diets are actually quite popular these days (yay!) but this differs from your usual raw food diet - mainly in the "fat" department. There are three important components to any diet: protein, carbohydrates and fats. Most raw food diets have a lot of avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut etc. The 80 10 10 diet is VERY LOW fat... and instead focuses on HIGH carbohydrate.
Okay, let's get into it! How am I going? What am I experiencing? Well....this is only Day 3, so of course, everything is very new. I have to say, so far, I am LOVING eating this way. The first thing I did (a few days ago) was organise some organic fruit and vege to be delivered to my door (I'm having trouble sourcing good organic food in Manchester.) These two massive boxes cost me about thirty pounds, which I think is a great deal. This will feed me for about four days!
I used a fantastic company: Abel&Cole, who are passionate about organic food (I also noticed one of their staff members is Vegan!) and the produce has been beyond my expectations. I woke up this morning and made myself a massive, epic green juice of Cucumber, Celery, dark cabbage leaves, spinach, 1 pear and a quater lemon.
Then, after working for a little while and letting my juice sweep through and perform all its' alkalising duties I promptly had 2 bananas...waited a while, still felt pretty hungry so then grabbed a bag of delicious, gooey organic dates to snack on while I worked. This may seem like a pretty big breakfast and I felt like it was too! But I'm determined to listen to my body and make sure i never feel like I'm depriving myself.
I went for a nice long walk later and then for lunch I just had a large portion of grapes. I absolutely love grapes! They're so nourishing and somehow filling.....This afternoon I have an audition and then when I get home, I'll make another epic salad! I bought some avocado yesterday, so I'll add some of that and use my delicious, fresh veggies that arrived today.
The main thing I want to note so far - is that already I have noticed my skin looking particularly fresh and clear, also the last few nights I have slept like a baby! In terms of immediate changes - I think that's pretty impressive. I also feel pretty light and "clean" as I'm going about my day, which is a nice change from the usual caffeine pumping through my veins. What am I not sure about? Well, it is a tricky adjustment eating SO MUCH food. I'm used to having fairly normal portion sizes, so it's strange being able to eat massive meals. But I just have to trust the experts and see how I feel!
The YouTube channels I'm using for most of my information and inspiration are: FullyRawKristina, EasyToBeRaw and DurianRiders. Feel free to check them out!
So - so far, so good. Let's see how we progress :)
This is a very controversial thing to say, but I'm not afraid to say it. Although I spend a lot of my time being an animal rights advocate and trying to educate those around me about the atrocious conditions animals are kept in, I do have a small secret that I'm going to share with you right now:
I question whether Vegan is the right decision nearly every day of my life.
There, I said it. Shocking right? And I would love to fully explain that to you right now.
I think the reason I question it so much, is mainly because I do not enter anything lightly. When I do something: I do it one hundred per cent. So, if I'm going to be a Vegan, I want to be a VEGAN! I want to know every bit of research, I want to know exactly why this is the right thing to do, I want to be sure that I'm not missing any loopholes and, of course, I want to know for sure that it is healthy for my body.
It's hard not to question Veganism in this day and age, really. Every bloody day there's a new YouTube video or blog or magazine article about someone who went Vegan with all the right intentions, but found themselves becoming anaemic, or loosing energy, or began to feel like it was natural for them to eat meat...whatever it may be. The biggest shock I had on this topic recently, was when watching the very successful TV show: "Girls". In one episode the lead character goes on a mini-rant about how she used to be Vegan and then when she ate meat for the first time since stopping, she felt this surge of energy and knew from that second that her body needed meat and it was the right decision.
Um...okay....look, I respect you, whatever. If you want to go back to eating meat, I guess I can't begrudge you that, but what I don't understand is: how do you suddenly forget everything you've learned about the cruelty and evil of these industries? In that episode of "Girls" she was sitting in a fast food restaurant eating pizza. Okay, I get it, you want to keep eating meat - so can you now justify walking into a crap place and eating the kind of meat that most certainly supports the worst kind of evil you once thought worth fighting?
That's what I don't understand. And this is an example of me having a moment, questioning my decision to be a passionate Vegan, considering it, doing some research and then coming right back to my original decision which is: no, sorry, Vegan makes sense, logically and ethically.
Whenever I would worry about this and think "oh God, do we need meat?" I would think about it for a little bit, then I would do some research, read some unbiased studies and come back to the same conclusuion. I'm sorry, but it has been absolutely proven now that human beings have NO NEED FOR ANIMAL FLESH. In fact, it conclusively only harms us. Yes, you can get some iron and protein in your slab of steak, but it comes alongside cholesterol and an eight hour digestion time. That isn't natural.
Once again: this makes sense to me.
So, I wanted to write a blog about what arguments have come the closest to me questioning my passionate Vegan beliefs. I'm big on honestly: there have been times I've been debating with someone and found myself a little lost for rebuttal.
The number one is: it tastes good. Well, there's no point in debating that, because you can't tell someone "meat does NOT taste good." All you can say back to that is: "cry me a river. Who gives a fuck?" It's an irrelevant argument. Lots of things taste good that have no place in your body. One of my housemates told me how delicious deep fried duck in Lard is. Hmmm enough said. That may taste good, but, come on, we all know that has NO PLACE being inside your system.
One problem I've come up against a few times is: ethical fishing. Factory farmed fish which is "ocean-wise". Okay, I guess that may solve the problem of human beings raping the oceans of natural wonders....maybe...tough, I'm not convinced. So I'll tell you what I did: I watched some videos of fishermen going to these sectioned off areas of ocean where Salmon and other fish, lobsters etc are there swimming around and just waiting to be caught for food.
After ten minutes of watching the fish get caught up in nets and hauled up alive on the boats just to be sprawled out on the wood and suffocate on beds of ice: I'd had enough. Evil, evil, evil. I don't care if that's environmentally sustainable: those fish can feel pain and discomfort and they absolutely were in those videos I watched.
I heard, I pondered, I questioned, I researched and I concluded. Vegan logic won again for me.
If you can find a way to justify wanting to eat Salmon: okay: justified. But why work so hard to justify it when you don't need it!? You don't need that food! You just want it.
As soon as people just admit that fact, things would be a lot easier. Mankind need to start owning our greed. Our current over-concuption and wanting what we feel we are "entitled" to. Those are the problems.
I am always open to discussing whether Veganism is the correct step forward. I don't know anything for certain. But what I do know is: whenever I question, I always come back to it. It's a complete win-win scenario. The food is delicious, minimal harm to our planet and living things, more compassion and MAKING A STAND! I want to make a stand that says it's not okay what happens on factory farms. Because it isn't. It's not okay what happens in laboratories. It's not okay what happens to make fur.
None of it is okay. So, though I may question every now and then...
I always come back to the same answer. :)
A fabulous new article I found today on Earth in Transition's website. This research is such a breath of fresh air; shedding light on a topic that we all need educating about. I have always shunned seafood because of the environmental devastation and the images of fish flapping about in the bottom of boats. It made sense to me that they must feel some form of pain or discomfort. Now this article proves it.
Yes, Lobsters Do Feel Pain
by Michael Mountain on January 17, 2013
For those who like to tell themselves that it's OK to boil lobsters alive, life just got a bit more complicated.
A new study offers the most definitive evidence yet that crustaceans – crabs, lobsters, shrimps, etc. – feel pain. That's something the fishing industry has been trying to deny since forever. (They're even still pretending that fish don't feel pain.)
The new study comes from Professor Bob Elwood and his team at Queen's University in the U.K., who demonstrated the reaction of crabs to a mild electric shock.
“Ninety crabs were each introduced individually to a tank with two dark shelters. On selecting their shelter of choice, some of the crabs were exposed to an electric shock. After some rest time, each crab was returned to the tank. Most stuck with what they knew best, returning to the shelter they had chosen first time around, where those that had been shocked on first choice again experienced a shock.
"When introduced to the tank for the third time, however, the vast majority of shocked crabs now went to the alternative safe shelter. Those not shocked continued to use their preferred shelter.
“Having experienced two rounds of shocks, the crabs learned to avoid the shelter where they received the shock. They were willing to give up their hideaway in order to avoid the source of their probable pain.”
None of the crabs in the research experiment were harmed beyond the mild shock, and all were returned to their homes in the rock pools of County Down, Northern Ireland.
Dr. Elwood told reporters that the convenient belief that crustaceans don't feel pain allows people to treat them in ways that are completely impermissible in relation to other animals.
"In the food industry around the world, billions of crustaceans are used each year but are regarded as not being able to suffer. They suffer extreme treatments which would not be allowed in the fishing or farming industries."
He also told The Guardian that he decided to do the experiment after a well-known chef asked him whether crustaceans experience pain.
"Even if there's a slight chance they feel pain, I feel we should start attending to that now. Crabs in some fisheries around the world have their claws just torn off and the live animals are thrown back into the sea – because it's only the claws that are required by fisherman.
"You have lobsters being processed, prawns that are being processed live by the front end, the head and the thorax being torn off. And the head with the brain will carry on being a viable nervous system and will continue to go on like that for an hour or so."
Link to the article: http://www.earthintransition.org/2013/01/yes-lobsters-do-feel-pain/
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