Today I’m going to tell you how I started a whole food plant-based diet. I have struggled with my weight for the last 20 years. I have tried every diet known to man. Years ago, I was a manager of a bank, then a private banker for two bank branches, and then I started my own mortgage company. I rarely had time to eat healthy meals. I was grabbing fast food from one place for lunch and then standing in line for take-out for dinner. The pressure of my jobs forced me to eat at my desk in between clients. I did this routine for over 20 years. My doctor told me to quit my job or my arthritis would literally cripple me. I’m a type A person and nothing stops me. The pounds come on slowly and they are even harder to take off. I have high cholesterol. I had been told I was a walking heart attack at the peak of my career. I take the highest statin dose available for heart patients. I am not proud of this fact, by any means.
Here’s the deal, I had a doctor tell me back in 2006 when I was looking at getting two knee replacements to read a book called “The China Study”. The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health Well, I bought the book and kept working. Have you purchased books, and thought to yourself I have got to read that book? This was one I wanted to read for years. I finally bought the audible and have listened to it almost 5 times. I love the book, but you need to decide what is right for you and your family. After reading the book, I started exercising and eating a plant based diet. I must tell you I was almost a vegetarian before I read the book because I really do not care for meat, except maybe filet mignon once every couple years. Please check with your medical doctors before you change your diet or lifestyle. This book has saved my life. I have now lost 40 pounds in six months. I lost the first 22 pounds while listening to the audible book with speakers turned on while I went swimming three times a day for an hour each time. I started slowly and worked up to three hours.
After the initial 22 pounds, I started making a smoothie every morning with a protein powder filled with lots of spinach and frozen bananas made with water only. No juice, no sweetener. I also make smoothies with different fruits, but I always add spinach.
After I semi-retired I decided I would never stand in line for food again, and almost wanted to boycott eating out. Not really, but I love eating at home with Mark. You probably know that typically restaurants over salt the food, add too much yummy butter and add lots of sugar because it makes the meal taste better. AND you keep coming back for more unhealthy food because life is hectic and you may rationalize that you don’t feel like cooking tonight. Big mistake, I know because I was standing in those lines and driving to the restaurants that had curb pick up.
The “diet”, or in my words, my new way of life is wonderful and I’m getting Mark on board who loves meat, but now realizes at our age health is the most important thing we need to consider when evaluating our lives. This may not work for you. I am not selling anything, I am just sharing my thoughts on eating a plant based diet. If you have a garden you will love this way to eat. I read the book and have now watched about 12 documentaries on Netflix, such as Food, Inc., Conspiracy, Fork Over Knives, Plant Pure Nation, Sugar Coated, Engine 2 Rescue, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, Food Choices, Fed Up, and Food Matters, to name a few. I have watched each one of these at least 3-4 times. I learn something new with each one each time I watch them.
The diet is basically vegan, meaning you eat grains, legumes, beans, nuts, fruits, and vegetables with zero processed fat and oils. You eat no meat, sugar or dairy. To some people, this may seem extreme. To is is my way to show I am trying to make my heart healthy and reduce my pain from arthritis. I am only sharing this information to give you an option if you have pain all the time as I do and want to improve your health. Check with your doctor, remember I am not in the medical field and have no training in nutrition. I did not start this way of life on a whim, believe me, I wanted to strengthen my body, improve my health and hopefully become pain-free. I also wanted to rid myself from continual sinus infections, which I have done, so far, yay!
People have said to me, “how are you getting protein?” I thought to myself how am I getting protein? I never thought about protein amounts before I started eating like this. I eat everything and anything now in the fruits and vegetables food groups and I’m never hungry. Fiber fills your belly and it’s healthy, and I actually save money on my groceries, that’s one of the best parts!
Here are some stats I gathered from different sources:
Please note the calories will vary based on the size of the fruits and vegetables you choose to eat. Note that g = gram(s) below.
Apples: 80 calories 5 grams fiber 0 g protein
Apricots: 17 calories 1 gram fiber 1 g protein
Avocadoes: 320 calories 14 grams fiber 4 g protein
Bananas: 105 calories 3 grams fiber 1 g protein
Blackberries: 1 cup=62 calories 7 grams fiber 2 g protein
Blueberries: 1 cup=84 calories 4 grams fiber 1 g protein
Boysenberries: 1 cup=62 calories 7 grams fiber 2 g protein
Cantaloupe: 1 cup=54 calories 1 gram fiber 1 g protein
Cherries (sweet): 12 cherries=51 calories 2 grams fiber 1 g protein
Dates: 1/4 cup dried=126 calories 4 grams fiber 1 g protein
Grapefruit: 1 cup=74 calories 3 grams fiber 1 g protein
Grapes: 15 grapes=52 calories 1 gram fiber 1 g protein
Kiwi: 1 fruit=46 calories 3 grams fiber 1 g protein
Lemons: 1/2 lemon=8 calories 1 gram fiber 0 g protein
Limes: 1/2 lime=10 calories 1 gram fiber 0 g protein
Mandarin Oranges: 1/2 cup=46 calories 1 gram fiber 1 g protein
Mangoes: 1/2 mango=67 calories 2 grams fiber 1 g protein
Nectarines: 1 nectarine=63 calories 2 grams fiber 2 g protein
Oranges: 1 orange=62 calories 3 grams fiber 1 g protein
Peaches: 1 peach=39 calories 2 fiber grams 1 g protein
Pears: 1 pear=96 calories 5 grams fiber 1 g protein
Pineapple: 1 cup=74 calories 2 grams fiber 1 g protein
Plums: 1 plum=30 calories 1 gram fiber 1 g protein
Raspberries: 1 cup=64 calories 8 grams fiber 2 g protein
Strawberries: 1 cup=53 calories 3 grams fiber 1 g protein
Cucumbers: 1/2 large=23 calories 1 gram fiber 1 g protein
Green beans: 1/2 cup snap=22 calories 2 grams fiber 1 g protein
Kale: 1/2 cup cooked=18calories 1 gram fiber 0 g protein
Leeks: raw 1/2 cup=14calories 0-gram fiber 0 g protein
Lettuce: raw 1 cup=8 calories 1 gram fiber 1 g protein
Mushrooms: raw 1/2=11 calories 1 gram fiber 2 g protein
Onions: raw chopped 1/2 cup=32 calories 1 gram fiber 1 protein
Peas: green cooked: 1/2 cup=67 calories 4 grams fiber 4 g protein
Peppers: red/green/yellow raw 1/2=15 calories 1 gram fiber 1 g protein
Potatoes: 1 baked with skin 106=calories 3 grams fiber 3 g protein
Radishes: raw 10 medium=7 calories 1 gram fiber 0 g protein
Spinach: raw 1 cup=7 calories 1 gram fiber 1 g protein
Tomatoes: 1 medium raw=27 calories 2 grams fiber 1 g protein
Black beans: canned 1/2 cup=110 calories 7 grams fiber 7 g protein
Cannellini beans: canned 1/2 cup=100 calories 5 grams fiber 5 g protein
Chickpeas: garbanzo beans canned 1/2 cup=100 calories 5 grams fiber 5g protein
Navy beans: canned 1/2 cup=148 calories 7 grams fiber 10 g protein
Pinto beans: canned 1/2 cup=103 calories 6 grams fiber 6 g protein
Refried beans: 1/2 cup no fat=100 calories 6 grams fiber 6 g protein
I hope this gives you an idea why some of us are a work in progress by becoming vegan. It may or may not be right for you. Mark and I are learning about becoming healthier one day at a time. I will have a bagel with cream cheese, just in case you are wondering! Life is good when I’m trying to free my body from pain and becoming stronger every day. May God bless you in your endeavors to become prepared for the unexpected!