So I read a really interesting study this week about Whole Food Plant Based diets. The other week at yoga our teacher was going on about plant based diets and I was kind of like “yeah whatever” (I’ve always been more of an “everything in moderation” sort of woman) but then I saw this – admittedly smallish (~70 participants, I think) – NZ study, where participants lost weight without counting calories. There is also some evidence that such a diet has added health benefits such as lowering glycemic index, etc. etc.
Now readers, you may have noticed that I am not overweight, but this is only because I watch what I eat very carefully (D and I cook almost every single meal at home, I bring my own lunch every single day to work, I eat vegetables with every meal, I only drink water or tea). I actually do count calories, bike to work 4-5 days a week, go to yoga once a week, and go to the gym between 2-4 days a week on top of that. It honestly gets exhausting – I’m hungry like all the time. And right now, I’m the heaviest I’ve been in over 2 years (admittedly still not overweight, but lets just say the trajectory is off). I feel like I’m doing “all the right things” – apart from my minor chocolate addiction… yet every day is a constant uphill battle and I really struggle to maintain my weight.
So when I read about a study where people didn’t count calories but still lost weight, I was curious. It turns out they essentially stuck to a vegan, no oil, no refined sugar diet – but could actually eat as much as they wanted and still lost weight.
Now, I’m not obese and technically don’t need to lose weight – but maybe being a vegan might make it easier for me to maintain. And would it really be that difficult to switch? My lunches are already exclusively brown rice, veggies and tofu or beans… but always include oil and usually cheese. I barely get any servings of dairy these days as it is because counting calories (and dairy products usually have too many).
I’ve already been leaning towards trying to eat less meat in the last year or so. But I never thought that I could go fully vegan (yogurt and ice cream are food of the gods). However, it would be pretty awesome to be able to eat more and not have to count calories… so I’m seriously thinking about it. Given how much I feel I battle my weight and the disappointment I have had with my fitness results for several years now (I work out more than almost anyone I know… I can even do pull-ups – which for most women is quite rare! Yet I’m still quite ‘fluffy’)… maybe switching to be a vegan would help me get the results (and slightly leaner physique) I’ve been seeking.
Furthermore, as I’m getting older I’m realizing that not only much of what we learned about nutrition is wrong, but that so many of us have a sedentary lifestyle (desk jockeys!) and that our knowledge about nutrition just hadn’t really caught up to the modern lifestyle. And obviously, factory farming of animals is terrible.
Do you think you could give up meat, dairy, oil and refined sugar in exchange for health benefits? Or are you skeptical that this is just another fad diet?