I got tons of questions about veganism and my diet after my “coming out” post, so let me explain.
High Carb. Low Fat. HCLF.
I say vegan for understanding. Many in the vegan world would HIGHLY disagree with me when I call myself a vegan. However, if I say I follow a “whole-foods, plant-based” diet, I get blank stares. It’s also a mouthful, so let me explain…
A vegan is someone who doesn’t consume, in any way, anything that comes from an animal. That includes, but is not limited to: food, drinks, clothing, make-up, cleaning products, furniture, and so on. That’s great and all, but like–you’d pretty much have to live in a hut in the woods to be a true PURIST vegan. Me, I strive for progress–not perfection.
While I try really hard not to use anything that comes from an animal, sometimes, it just happens. I mean, rubber tires have animal products in them, but I’m not going to stop driving my car. I like to focus more on the diet aspect of things. I think it makes this biggest impact globally, too.
Here’s a rough run down on what an HCLF, plant-based, whole-foods diet is…
No meat. This includes red meat, poultry, wild game, fish, and seafood, (Except maybe oysters. There’s a big debate. Google it.)
No dairy. (cheese, yogurt, milk, etc.)
Minimal oils and processed foods.
So now that I made the negative list first, which is so not my thing, lets look at EVERYTHING you can have. The list is much longer. Trust me.
Some variations of HCLF diets, like the Raw til 4 diet, make the argument that you can eat ALL you want of these things and you won’t gain weight. Some believe you can lose weight eating that way too. I disagree. Healthy foods still have calories, and you can still gain weight by eating too many calories of healthy foods. That’s where portion control comes in. I try to keep my day’s calories between 1200 and 1500 with 80% of my calories coming for carbohydrates, 10% from fats, and 10% from protein.
DON’T WORRY. That’s more than enough protein than my body needs in a day. If protein deficiency were a pressing issue in the vegan community, the world would know what the medical term for it is. For the record, it’s Kwashiorkor, and you would also have to be calorically deficient for a LONG period of time to be protein deficient. Actually, there are a lot of vegetables with WAY more protein per calorie than most meats. All of my fat and protein come from plant sources, and I get plenty of it for my body. The only supplement I take is B-12, and MOST people are deficient in B-12, not just vegans.
Now, lets make it known that just because something is vegan, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. This is a common misconception that my own husband still has a difficult time grasping. Haha! There are TONS of “accidentally” vegan foods, meat substitutes, and vegan junk foods that ARE NOT healthy. Oreos, Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos, and Sour Patch Kids are all vegan, but they are certainly not healthy.
Lets think about it for a second. I’m not a nutritionist, but it’s a well known fact that if you are eating a diet that is high in protein, high in carbohydrates, and high in fat, AND you are eating a surplus of calories like most Americans do, a person will gain weight. Makes sense, right? Since my daily intake of carbohydrates is so high, I just don’t have room for much else without packing on pounds.
Let me just say, I have never felt better. I am more satiated after every meal and for longer. I don’t feel convicted and confused about eating an animal I claim to love. My eczema that I’ve struggled with since I was an infant has COMPLETELY cleared.
Best of all, my relationship with food has improved drastically because I don’t feel guilty for eating a potato, and lets be honest, potatoes make me really happy. I’ve shown myself that I can lose weight eating the things I’ve been avoiding since the 7th grade when I went on my first Atkin’s Diet.
I’m not saying that I never slip up and eat something fried, an Oreo, or vegan ice cream. I usually eat one or all of these things every weekend. I had Fruity Pebbles for lunch today. I also have to be honest and say that I’ve eaten some cheese or accidentally consumed dairy somehow here and there. My stomach ALWAYS regrets it, though, and my eczema returns immediately. Progress over perfection, though.
I’m not the type of girl to ask EVERY SINGLE INGREDIENT in my order at a restaurant. Yes, I’ll ask for the cheese to be left off if I know its on there, but sometimes it’s not listed. My bread showed up with parmesan cheese sprinkled on it the other day. I just ate it. I don’t want to be rude and annoying and put people out. Every time I’ve sent something back or been very specific at a restaurant, the manager or cook comes out, and I always feel like the biggest jerk. I live in the deep south. People think I’m psycho already. I don’t need to add to anyone else’s stress that day. It’s really ok.
If there isn’t something on the menu for me, which is rare, I can be hungry for a little while. I can wait until I get home. I won’t die. I can drink my water and smile. Chances are, I’m there for the fellowship, not the food.
Now if the vegan world gets wind of this post, I’ll probably be crucified. It’s whatever.