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Plantstrong: The Side Effects of Clean Eating
Are you a man or woman? Do you wear clothes? Do you breath air? If so then you are one of the many that have tried one or more diets, fads, or some detox to try and lose weight or get "healthy" only to find out that it didn't work out. Am I hitting close to home? I have always wanted to be the guy on the cover of the fitness magazine but could never come close to looking like those models did. I began to grow skeptical; after all, I did exactly what the diet/plan said to do so where were my abs? Where was my endless energy? I landed in the world of the low-carb lifestyle. I could eat what I wanted as long as I kept my daily net carbs below a certain threshold. After a short time, I felt like my energy was sufficient, my pants fit well, and I had a physique that was better than average; must be healthy, right? What I was not paying attention to was what I was putting in my body and how I truly felt throughout my day. Eighteen years later I started thinking that there would be no possible way that there wasn't going to be a price to pay from eating nothing but meat, cheese, nuts, and sugar-free snacks. This is when I started to pay attention, this is when I wanted to get healthy.
Living a plantstrong lifestyle seemed silly and was not my intention at all, I just knew that I needed to eat better to try and avoid the little things in life such as cancer and heart disease. Plantstrong is more than a diet, it is a philosophy and a lifestyle with a holistic approach to food and all aspects of health. Adhering to this lifestyle not only promotes weight loss and mental clarity, it also promotes overall health (for some reason that is a very confusing word in the English language). Once you remove all of the man-made and animal products out of your life, you will lean and know that people whom consume a plant strong diet not only look good but feel good and generally find themselves happier! Not to mention that you will have reduced or even eliminated chronic diseases and allowed your body to begin to heal from the inside out without having to take a prescription. Happier, healthier, slimmer, no doctors, no co-pay, no pills? Too good to be true, right?
Let's Back Up...
From the beginning of time, we all ate clean. There were no preservatives, no man-made foodstuffs. There were plants and animals and we ate whatever we had in our geographic location to keep us and our families alive. What we have found throughout a plethora of various studies is that the populations in areas of the world that did not have an abundance of animal products had much lower rates of all diseases. In fact, some areas of the world are unaffected (for the most part) by cancer and heart disease (along with many chronic illnesses). For some of you, you can remember back when cancer was a rare disease and a heart attack was uncommon and only the truly sick were afflicted by it. So what happened? I could go on and on pointing fingers at multitude of people and corporations that got us to where we are today but in reality, it's our fault; the consumer. It's time to take matters into our own hands and get back to the basics... mother nature! Somewhere in the decade of free love (1960s) there was a natural health food movement that tried to shift all diets to whole or unprocessed foods. This was actually more of a way to rage against the machine (big business and government) than to incentivize health. After all of that came out and it became a household topic, several books have been published on how to live this lifestyle. By all means, read! Read as much as you can, but by no means is it required to change your lifestyle.
- OLD FASHIONED OATS: Eat them for breakfast, any way you can! Oats help lower cholesterol and also reduce artery inflammation. They are also high in fiber, lower your risk for type II diabetes, aid in weight loss, are a rich source of protein, boosts your immune system, boost your energy, and promote healthy skin. Find the breakfast with oats you love then eat it EVERY DAY!!!
- GREENS: Specifically leafy greens in this example; however eating green vegetables is strongly suggested as well. Eat them as much as possible. Greens should be the bulk/base of your plantstrong lifestyle. Find a way to enjoy them i.e. salads, cooked, on sandwiches, mixed with pasta or beans. Be creative and explore! FIND A WAY!! Instead of spending an hour listing all of the benefits from eating greens, i think it would be easier to list the downside to eating them which is there is no downside. Find a few and start eating them. At first you may not want them or think they are gross but i assure you that there are at least two or three out of huge variety that you can tolerate and begin to enjoy. After a very short period of time, your pallet will change and you will crave the chlorophyll.
- BEANS AND LENTILS: Beans and Lentils are packed with fiber and protein. These items are cheap, there is a large variety of them, they are also packed with lots of other nutrients. Some of the benefits of adding these to your meals consist of weight loss and control of weight loss or prevention of gaining it back, reduces cancer risk, full of iron, enzyme booster, controls blood pressure, and helps prevent birth defects in the early stages of pregnancy for you expectant mothers out there.
- WHOLE Grains: Be sure that the word WHOLE is in front of wheat or rye in the ingredient list. If the product does not state this then it is a lie and is some sort of manipulation to buy their "healthy" product. After you have established that your potential purchase qualifies you need to ensure that it does not contain any oil. There are several products out there, usually in health food stores, that are WHOLE grain and do not use oil. Use whole wheat pastry flour or barley flour in baking instead of white flour.
- OIL: DO NOT USE ANY OIL! THROW IT OUT AND DON'T BUY MORE!
- WATER: This on is unavoidable! You need it and the benefits of keeping your hydration levels up to par are worth it and more. IF you are one of those that simply can not wrap your mind around drinking a clear, flavorless fluid, then you can simply flavor it with some fresh fruit. NEVER drink juices that have been previously made or are from a concentrate and never ever ever drink soda of any kind with or without the sugar. NEVER. That is an entire separate hub. One last comment on water is that your source of water is extremely important. Do your very best to find the purest source possible. If you have the means, then invest in a water purifier that removes the pesticides, herbicides, radiation, heavy metals, etc... again, that is an entire different hub. In my opinion, the best investment to make for yourself is to purchase a reputable water purifier.
- SUGAR AND SALT: Avoid these two as much as possible. A wise man once taught me a life lesson about many struggles and summed them up as "treat em' like candy." In this case it's more literal however he was right! These should be viewed as a treat meaning not something that you add to every, single thing you shove in your mouth. Over time you will lose the taste for salt and your body will no longer crave sugar. Just try it and see for yourself.
- READ LABELS: let me state that one more time... READ THE LABELS!!!!!!!!!! You would be amazed at how many "fresh" products come from concentrate, "no added sugar" products contain sugar, or "fat-free" options are made with oils. Our government currently allows food labels to be manipulated; example: "fat-free" does not mean that it was not made with a lipid, it is simply a term used for marketing a product so i certain group.
Ready for a change?
So where do I begin? Glad you asked! It's like anything in life. If you want something to change in your life, you can not wish it to happen. You have to make an effort, no matter how big or how small. Let's say that you are a couch potato but want to lose weight by going to the gym; do you walk into a gym and instantly know how to use all of the equipment and execute all of the exercises with perfect form? No, you more than likely go in there, sit on a machine, get embarrassed and leave. If it's important to you then you will keep coming back and before you know it the person you recognize as a couch potato will now been seen as a gym rat. It's a what? that's right... a LIFESTYLE change! Make the effort, my suggestion is to start adding more plants to your plate and slowly weening yourself off of the animal products, chemicals, preservatives, fats/oils, and sugar. Welcome to your new life!