While travelling a couple of people had recommended we watch Cowspiracy so that’s where we began.
We had previously been eating a low carb, high fat diet and then a high carb and low fat diet when we exercise with some high intensity interval training (HIIT). Always high protein. We followed this program vigorously for 3 months and in principle for 2 years. We lost some weight and roughly maintained it throughout this time. We ate meat and/or eggs at every meal and thought we were on a winning recipe.
However, this one documentary focusing on the environmental impact (summarised here) of animal agriculture was enough for us to try a vegan diet (no animal meat or by products). Plus we had a niggling voice in the back of our heads eating meat and/or eggs in every single meal might not be the best thing for us. At the end of the documentary we turned and look at one another and agreed that we needed to change what we ate, or at least give it a go as we had nothing to lose. We signed up to the 30-day Vegan Challenge to educate ourselves and went cold turkey (pun intended) to a whole-foods, plant based diet.
Benefits we noticed and when:
- Immediate: The reduced cost of a weekly shop! We needed to think a bit more about the shopping list but we made the same meals as before replacing meat for sweet potato, tofu or just extra vegetables.
- Our whole body system began working (think, the toilet) way more efficiently
- After three weeks
- I (Mike) had stopped drinking coffee since I was feeling naturally more awake and alert in the mornings. For those that know me, this is an enormous change!
- We were both looking trimmer with no real exercise (sorry didn’t have a scale to weigh in!)
- After seven weeks
- We are both slimmer (based on waist, hip, arm and leg measurements) than we’ve ever been. We both lost about 10lbs each with no intense exercise (HIIT, running etc), just evening walks, a big hike and a few yoga classes
- Increased feeling of alertness and less tiredness
- No more irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or phlemy coughing after a meal
- A very surprising result… I am no longer allergic to cats or fruit!
We supplemented our knowledge with a half dozen more documentaries over the weeks which absolutely reinforced that we were doing the right thing for us. The other thing that really hit us was about health; a vegan diet is scientifically associated with reduced rates of cancer, cardio vascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, obesity, elimination of diabetes, arthritis and many more ailments, including the ones that we cured ourselves. We had no idea! Was our diet to blame for Kellie’s rare cancer? It’s an answer we’ll never know, but definitely something we’ve reflected on.
The sad fact is the vast majority of us are misinformed about what we eat. Sometimes it is malicious (think big corporates and pharma who profit from what we eat and us being sick) and sometimes it is due to lack of knowledge (since our doctors don’t learn about nutrition in detail at university). Being misinformed and given contradicting information means we don’t know what to believe, we therefore say to hell with it and keep eating what the corporations have deemed acceptable.
Our biggest frustration was not knowing what was the correct diet, we’ve tried many, one minute meat is bad, then the next minute it’s good but just eat a little less, or eat more for the protein, saturated fats are bad and now they are good. Based purely on health related science there is overwhelming evidence that we should not be consuming animal meat and byproducts.
In the face of so much contradictory evidence our only solution was to educate ourselves, watch the food documentaries, listen to podcasts, youtube videos and nutritionfacts.org which provided purely scientific based conclusions and we soon realised that what we thought was normal was actually slowly making us ill and killing us. If someone makes a statement, writes a blog or article we now look for the research behind it so we can make our own decision.
We highly recommend watching the below documentaries on Netflix if you want to be more informed:
- What the health
- Forks over knives
- Fed Up
- Food, Inc
- Fat, sick and nearly dead 1&2
- Food Choices
- GMO OMG
Up next, a cure for cat allergies…