Is your diet slowly killing you? Would you even KNOW if it was?
I have shared a bit about my personal weight loss story, on my website and in my videos, however I have been a little bit vague about the details. This has not been intentional, but rather a reflection of how it happened.
See, I didn’t actually try to lose any weight at all! I was invested in my personal health and weight loss happened. I like to put it like this; “weight loss is a symptom of a healthy lifestyle.”
I simply improved the quality of my diet and lost weight as a result. That’s all well and good, but I do want to provide some specifics about how I actually lost the weight.
Ditch The Dairy.
When I think back to my weight loss/health journey, there is a very clear inflection point. It happened in 2012 and has nothing to do with Mayan prophecies.
I was nearing my heaviest weight of my life and was about to start a graduate program for health promotion management. I was passionate about health and actually thought I ate pretty good.
I was officially a “pescatarian” — a vegetarian who eats seafood (aka an oxymoron) — though I only really ate seafood once a month or so. For the most part, for about 99% of my meals, I was a straight up vegetarian.
That meant in addition to eating plant-based foods I also ate milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and eggs.
But here’s the thing — I switched to almond and soy milk in 2008, so I never drank milk. And I stopped buying yogurt for the house in like 2009. And I stopped eating eggs straight up in like 2010. And it’s not like I ate tons of ice cream (though I won’t say I avoided it either).
So really my diet was like 98% vegan + cheese.
Ah yes, cheese was my sticking point, as I think it is for so many people.
So in early 2012, at my heaviest, I was cheese addicted. I admit it.
And then I watched Forks Over Knives, twice actually. And upon the second viewing decided that I needed to go “vegan at home.” Up until this point I was buying cheese for my home-cooked meals and eating cheese, ice cream, and eggs in things at restaurants.
I wasn’t yet ready to go fully vegan but I was ready to go “vegan at home,” meaning stop bringing any animal products into the home to cook with or eat. And since I was a poor grad student I ate most of my calories at home. But, I was still grabbing slices of pizza occasionally when out, and not freaking out if an entree I ordered had a little parmesan or something.
Here’s the kicker:
This seemingly small change caused me to lose 20 pounds!
Was I eating massive amounts of cheese prior to this change? Well I feel safe here.. but I have nothing to confess — I don’t think my cheese consumption was exorbitant.
And yet it was like something clicked in my body and the pounds just started coming off effortlessly. Seriously.
So, here are 10 reasons why you should #DitchTheDairy for good right now!
- Dairy promotes weight gain and hinders weight loss. Dropping dairy from my life was the spark that helped me drop significant weight!
- Dairy is FULL of hormones, organic or conventional, it doesn’t matter
- The only purpose of cow’s milk is to turn a 65 lb baby calf into a 400 lb adult cow as quickly as possible. It is “baby calf growth fluid.“
- When you ingest baby cow growth fluid it causes you to grow! It may cause you to gain weight, hold weight due to inflammation, and it might even promote the growth of another type of cell in your body — cancer cells
- Dairy is incredibly cruel to the cows. Just search “dairy cruelty” to see for yourself.
- The calcium in kale and other leafy greens is absorbed nearly twice as well as the calcium in cow’s milk. You don’t need milk for strong bones.
- The top 4 sources of saturated fat in the American diet are all thanks to dairy — #1: pizza; #2: cheese; #3 dairy based desserts (e.g. ice cream); #4: grain based desserts (e.g. cakes made with butter, milk and eggs)
- Dairy contains trans-fats as well, of which there is no safe level of consumption
- Dairy is linked to acne and other skin problems (NOTE: My skin got much clearer after I ditched the dairy!)
- Dairy contributes massively to global climate change! In fact animal agriculture accounts for a whopping 51% of total greenhouse gas emissions, and is a great reason to ditch all animal products!
Bottom line: you don’t need dairy in your life. It’s bad for your health, terrible for the cows, and awful for the environment.
Switch to plant-based milks (almond, coconut, soy, etc), plant-based yogurts and ice creams made with those products, and if you are hankering for cheese still after you’ve kicked the addiction, try nutritional yeast or GoVeggie “Parm” and Daiya or homemade vegan cheese substitutes! I don’t miss it one bit, and I love the way I feel being dairy free 🙂
Dairy was the last animal product to go from my diet, but in all honesty I’d recommend it as the first for anyone only willing to cut one out.
Related Post: How To Replace Dairy In Your Diet
People often say “I’d love to eat healthy but I just can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods.” Or, “junk food is just way cheaper than healthy food!”
You hear this a lot. It is a common belief (and misconception) that healthy eating has to be really expensive and cost prohibitive.
Whenever I hear this my immediate response is: “beans and rice are some of the cheapest items in the entire store!”
Let’s look at how to eat healthy, vegan, plant-based meals that don’t break the bank!
SOURCES: Price data from USDA and my local Whole Foods
It is often said that giving up the use of animal products for food and otherwise has three major benefits — for the animals, for the environment, and for your health.
To many, however, this may feel a bit abstract.
We can theorize a benefit for the animals, that is relatively obvious, but we still may not feel it’s necessity. We may be able to grasp some benefit for the environment, though we are already getting more abstract. And the health detriments of animal-based foods is nearly completely obscured from the mainstream dialogue (SEE: Paleo Diet Fad).
Therefore, allow me to issue a challenge, a challenge that will not only make these issues much clearer for you, but may just inspire you to ditch the animal products entirely as well and go vegan!!
I am calling this challenge “The Vegan Maker.”
All I need is 4 hours and 41 minutes of your time and in that time I believe I can turn you into a vegan. Don’t believe me? Perfect! You are an ideal candidate for this challenge!
In this allotted time all I am going to ask you to do is watch movies. Three movies in particular. Sounds like a pretty simple challenge doesn’t it? A few other quick rules and then I will reveal the movies and the order in which to watch them.
1. Everything is more fun with a friend, so enlist a buddy
2. Eat your meal beforehand, not during..
That’s it! Just two rules.
Final note: If you are brave you can choose to watch these documentaries back to back to back. Or alternatively, watch one per night for three nights. It’s up to you.
Ok drumroll please. Here are the three movies I want you to watch, in order:
The Vegan Maker:
2. Cowspiracy (1:30) (Starting TODAY this amazing documentary is streaming on Netflix!)
3. Forks Over Knives (1:36) (Streaming FREE on Netflix!)
If you have YouTube and Netflix this is a totally free date night!
So, are you up to it?!
Let me know in the comments, and be sure to report back once you have finished! Regardless of the outcome I assure you, you will never look at food the same.
What is causing the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease?
If you cruise the internet you may often see banner ads on the side of websites telling you that “fruit makes you fat!” You might especially be afraid of bananas, so high in sugar, ooooooooo!
Click bait aside, let’s look at the data to find the answer!
I have dreaded writing this post for a long time, but I fear I must confess this. I am a vegan, and I hate salad.
It’s just so boring. There are essentially NO calories in it, and it requires a heck of a lot of chewing. I mean really, what a waste! Seventy-five bites for like 6 calories? C’mon, gimme a break.
I honestly have better things to do with my time.
Don’t get me wrong, there are times in my life where I crave a good salad. If I’ve gone awhile without one, or if I am at a salad place that has tons of awesome, fresh ingredients on hand, things I could never keep at home for just me, then I will gleefully chow down on a big old salad.
Even the process of having salad supplies on hand at all times is difficult! You need to have bags of lettuce on hand, which we all know go bad almost immediately. Then you have to have all your favorite toppings, which for me usually means like 7 different vegetables, some seeds, maybe some avocado (also tough to have on hand at all times).
Then we get to the dressings, which are almost all loaded with fatty oils and often sugar, not to mention preservatives.
Sure you can make your own (I often just use straight balsamic vinegar or lemon juice!), but that’s a process as well.
Salad and I have a complex relationship.
Look don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to trash salad completely or throw it under the bus. Salad is quite possibly the single healthiest meal you can consume. If you want to lose weight fast, eat lots of salads, especially before the rest of your meal. If you want to get in literally endless nutrients and consume essentially zero calories, salad is the way to go.
But this is my point:
Salad is not required.
Liking salad is not a requirement of health. I eat salad probably a few times a month, almost never at home, and I still lost 30 pounds on a vegan plant-based diet and am in the best health of my life!
It is such a stereotype that all healthy eaters eat nothing but leaves. And especially us vegans!
I can’t tell you how many times I have received this comment when I’ve told people I am vegan. “Oh I could never do that, I just don’t like salad that much.”
THAT’S WHAT PEOPLE THINK WE EAT. NOTHING BUT SALAD.
Well I am here to shout from the mountaintops, I hate salad (except a couple times a month when I absolutely love salad. Like I said it’s complicated).
I need more calories than that.
Give me potatoes and sweet potatoes, give me black beans and chickpeas, give me tortillas, give me endless fruit, give me whole grains like brown rice or quinoa, give me starchy foods that have a little substance to them. I need to feel full, and salad just don’t cut it, not for me, a 6-foot, 170-pound male who works out regularly.
If you want to lose weight, by all means, eat salad.
I don’t want to send the wrong message — it is a very very very healthy food. But don’t for a second think that you can’t be healthy because you don’t enjoy eating salads. Neither do I! Not all vegans like salad. Some of us just need a little more food than that 🙂
Whole grains are causing the obesity epidemic. Ever heard that before? Let’s look at this claim. Are people eating too many whole grains? How many get the suggested minimum?
David Carter, an NFL Defensive Lineman, is stronger than you. Way stronger. And at 310 pounds, he is all vegan muscle.
Just signed by the Chicago Bears, Carter is a force to be reckoned with. This guy is for real.
I think the story of Carter, or his avatar “The 300-lb Vegan” is worth sharing for several reasons.
First, he completely crushes the myth that you can’t get enough protein on a vegan, plant-based diet. In fact, let’s see how he crushed that myth.
Carter was following a typical Western diet when he entered the league. As a linebacker, this meant doubling down on that diet. Loads of eggs, meat, milk, whey protein, cheese, etc. Lots of high-calorie, animal protein foods.
Muscle needs meat…
Every nutritionist and team doctor he ever spoke to told him this was the only way for him to grow muscle and be big and strong, ready to compete at the highest level.
So when his wife went vegan 5 years ago, he initially declined joining her. Do you blame him? His career allegedly hung in the balance. There were no vegan defensive lineman… These are the biggest guys on the field — he needed to be big.
Then something changed.
After a night of binge-watching every food related documentary on Netflix, he and his wife landed on Forks Over Knives, the documentary that has turned countless people toward a vegan, whole-foods plant-based diet. Something clicked. Carter went vegan overnight, on Valentine’s Day, 2014. He didn’t have a plan. Didn’t know how it would affect his performance on the field.
But he was thinking beyond that. The stats on former-NFL players are not great. Life expectancy is mid-fifties. Diet is a big reason why. Carter wanted to wrack up his career stats, but this was one he did not want to become.
Over the course of the next couple months, he lost 40 pounds. Normally this is a fantastic result, welcomed by those switching to a plant-based diet. But remember, his career depended on him being big.
You Can Build Serious Muscle on Plants
Training in the offseason, and focusing only on whole plant foods (Read: No Protein Supplements), Carter was able to gain back the 40 pounds he lost and gain an additional 10, putting him at 310 pounds. Of nearly pure muscle. Built with nothing but plants.
Carter immediately began to notice incredible benefits to training on his diet — he had more energy, increased stamina, improved strength, and reduced recovery time. The last one is key. It is sometimes said that the benefits of exercise are not in the activity itself but the recovery. The recovery is when you build your new body. And with quicker recovery times, you can increase the frequency and intensity of the work you do, leading to more muscle building.
Carter has yet to prove himself
On the eve of the 2014 season, Carter suffered a season-ending injury during a preseason game. Every player’s worse nightmare. So over the last year on the sidelines he has been recovering, building strength, and waiting to prove himself.
On July 28, 2015, the Chicago Bears signed Carter to a 1-year deal. This season will be the first full season for a fully vegan defensive lineman in the NFL. I can’t wait to see what he does.
David Carter, the 300-lb vegan, proves that to be manly, to be strong, to be an athlete, to build muscle, you don’t need meat. In fact, he is proving that a plant-based diet is optimal for athletes in all sports, not just endurance athletes.
A new study is getting attention for seemingly finding NO LINK between saturated fat intake and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. This is shocking because it goes against countless previous studies finding the opposite: that saturated fat causes these chronic diseases!
Watch to find out why this is REALLY BAD SCIENCE (and journalism)!
You can find the original study here: http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h3978