So yesterday I had my first doctor’s appointment since I went vegan. As a good patient, I told my doctor because that’s usually what you do when you make a big change in your lifestyle.
I was a little apprehensive since some doctors seem against veganism, but mine was genuinely happy for me! She also noticed how my skin looked much clearer and that I looked more energetic. I also mentioned to her that my seasonal allergies have been much, much milder this year, and I was wondering if it could be due to my new diet. I was told it’s entirely possible. Just to give you an idea, last year, I suffered from seasonal allergies from March to late October. 7 months is a long time and does not feel so good. Now this year, my allergies only started at the end of July, which coincides with ragweed allergy season. It’s not too bad either, since I don’t feel miserable.
She also asked about my full-body rashes that I would get randomly. I told her that as soon as I dropped dairy off my diet, that they disappeared instantly. She confirmed that many people have an hypersensitivity to dairy products. Dairy also made me sleepy, and since I cut it out, I feel like I have more energy.
So now I can safely say that my vegan diet has officially made me healthier!
Yep, Matthew and I started our vegan journey on January 1st, 2012. Although we cheated a little (no more than 2-3 times – HONEST!), I can say we have done good.
What I’m most proud of:
- I lost 17 pounds. I was sitting at 119 lbs last winter (and fluctuating between 113 lbs and 119 lbs all the time), and I’m now at 102 lbs. My weight seems to be stable now.
- I eat less junk food and candy, which contributed to all that lost weight. I actually feel sick if I only have a couple of fries from McDonald’s. No kidding. Most candy has gelatin… I was an avid candy eater. It was very bad.
- I’ve become a great cook. Going vegan means you often have to cook your own sauces and other stuff since you have to find replacements. This has also probably contributed to my losing weight. It’s also very rewarding when you have people over and they want another serving of your curry lentils.
- No more full-body rash. My chiropractor had told me many years ago that I was allergic to dairy, and I didn’t believe him. Cutting off all dairy in my diet not only got me rid of that rash that would occur every day (since I loved dairy!), but I also feel less bloated and incidentally, my belly is almost all gone.
- My mom claims my skin has gotten ever clearer. I haven’t really noticed, but I do get less pimples once a month.
- I’ve upped my consumption of veggies and fruit. I try to make smoothies as much as possible. Recently, my favourite mix was half a banana, 2 cups (at least) of spinach, 1 cup of orange juice, and many blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries (probably 3-4 cups, not sure, I never count these things!). You can’t even taste the spinach, and it still provides you lots of calcium, iron, and vitamins A & C.
It would be hard to go back to being an omnivore, or even an ovo-lacto vegetarian. I’m used to being vegan now, and it feels great!
Since us vegans eat more fruit and veggies, incidentally we consume more phytochemicals. Here is a list:
- Allicin is found in onions and garlic. Allicin blocks or eliminates certain toxins from bacteria and viruses.
- Anthocyanins are found in red and blue fruits (such as raspberries and blueberries) and vegetables. They help to slow the aging process, protect against heart disease and tumors, prevent blood clots, and fight inflammation and allergies.
- Biflavonoids are found in citrus fruits.
- Carotenoids are found in dark yellow, orange, and deep green fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, parsley, oranges, pink grapefruit, and spinach.
- Flavonoids are found in fruits, vegetables, wine, green tea, onions, apples, kale, and beans.
- Indoles are found in broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, kale, Brussel sprouts, and turnips (also known as “cruciferous” vegetables). They contain sulfur and activate agents that destroy cancer-causing chemicals.
- Isoflavones are found in soybeans and soybean products.
- Lignins are found in flaxseed and whole grain products.
- Lutein is found in leafy green vegetables. It may prevent macular degeneration and cataracts as well as reduce the risk of heart disease and breast cancer.
- Lycopene is found primarily in tomato products. When cooked, it appears to reduce the risk for cancer and heart attacks.
- Phenolics are found in citrus fruits, fruit juices, cereals, legumes, and oilseeds. It is thought to be extremely powerful, and is studied for a variety of health benefits including slowing the aging process, protecting against heart disease and tumors, and fighting inflammation, allergies, and blood clots.
It is important to note that these phytochemicals cannot be found in supplements, so they can only be found in food. Food with high contents of phytochemicals include:
- Soy nuts
- Soy beans
- Green tea
- Brussel sprouts
- Bok choy
- Red wine
Antioxidants are also nice little guys that prevent oxidation from happening too much in your body. Oxidation causes accelerated ageing, cancer, and heart disease, to name a few. Oxidation creates free radicals, which attack the DNA of healthy cells. This causes mutations, and therefore, allows tumors to grow. Antioxidants include:
- Ascorbic acid, aka good ole vitamin C. It is present in citrus fruit, green peppers, red peppers, strawberries, and most green veggies.
- Beta carotene. Good sources are carrots, squash, collards, spinach and sweet potatoes.
- Vitamin E, which can be found in sunflower oil and seeds, most nuts, bran, and whole wheat to name a few.
Finally. omega-3 fatty acids. It is important to get them in our diet because the body cannot make them. Not only is it good for brain health, but right now researchers are studying the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on reducing or delaying the growth of certain tumors.
Like you probably already know, these fatty acids are found mostly in fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel (amongst many others). However, if you are vegan, you don’t consume fish (also I don’t like the thought of putting doses of mercury in my body, but that’s another story!), so getting your omega-3 dose can be a little trickier. Your best bet is flaxseed oil. You can find it in capsules in most natural health stores. Also, some beans like kidney, great northern, navy and soy beans contain omega-3 fatty acids as well.
Happy healthy eating! 🙂
The Effect of a Plant-Based Diet on Plasma Lipids
I really like reading about research studies on vegan diets. Recently, someone in my Facebook friends posted this picture:
In case you can’t read what is written…
This woman is 51. She is TV health guru Gillian McKeith, advocating a holistic approach to nutrition and health, promoting exercice, a vegetarian diet high in organic fruits and vegetable. She recommends detox diets, colonic irrigation and supplements.
This woman is 51. She is Nigellea Lawson, a TV cook, who eats meat, butter and desserts.
I REST MY CASE.
Now, I don’t even know where to begin about this piece of crap. Obviously this is just going to get anti-vegan and anti-veggie people to point out how unhealthy this diet is, and well, you know the drill. I responded to that friend, saying this is a very gross generalization, and it was actually a misrepresentation, which is very dangerous. And I could bet actual money Nigellea has had cosmetic surgery. Therefore, this little piece is not proving anything.
Anyway, back to the article I linked at the beginning of my post…
After 4 weeks, the participants eating the plant-based diet, rich in nutrients and phytochemicals, reduced their total and LDL cholesterol significantly more than the participants consuming a standard low-fat diet.
That is from the article. You can even read the Abstract of the study. This is great news, and just proving that we are super healthy. 🙂