Monday, January 27, 2014

Awesome Effects of Eating Clean

Today I am going to update you on the awesome effects of the changes I've made in the past three weeks.  Exactly three weeks ago I started the Daniel plan and changed my diet.  Not only have I gone completely vegan, I only eat whole foods, no processed stuff; and I have no sugar other than the natural sugars in fruit.  I also cut out caffeine which I thought I had to have to be able to focus.  But I was very wrong.  I have been sure to buy as much organic stuff as I can.

Well a few days ago on a whim I bought conventional strawberries from the grocery store because I wanted some and it wasn't a normal shopping day (when we usually drive about 45 minutes to The Fresh Market).  There wasn't a choice of organic in this store.  I must say they tasted rather chemically.  That's the only word I have for it.  I also bought a cantaloupe which was conventional.  It literally tasted like nail polish remover smells.

It could be because most of everything I have bought for a long time, especially fresh produce over the last three weeks, have been organic.  Maybe my taste buds have become more sensitive to the chemicals.  My body may have become more sensitive too because I overslept the next day after eating it because I felt bad and was nauseated.  I seemed to rebound pretty quickly though.  I was back to my "new normal" in no time since I ate my good, organic foods the rest of the day.

When I first started this plan, I was afraid I would not get enough protein.  Really, we have too much protein in America.  I used to eat up to 120 grams per day, but a woman's body only requires about 40-50 grams per day.  It was mainly due to overeating animal products.  With that extra protein comes extra fat and calories too.  It makes complete sense that I have been steadily losing weight since I started eating vegan.

I still eat white potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, and beans.  The beans and quinoa are my main protein sources and yes, they are starches too.  I eat all that I want and I have still lost almost 20 pounds since I started this just three weeks ago!  (I haven't added any extra exercise to my normal schedule either.)  I eat plenty of fruit throughout the day whether as part of breakfast or snacks.  These natural sugars have not affected me in a negative way.  I have had so much more energy and mental focus during this time.

I don't really think I had bad withdrawal symptoms from not having caffeine or sugar, just a light headache the first day or two, mainly because of giving up coffee.  Another benefit to eating clean has been that I have clearer skin.  I completely believe that blemishes have to do with your diet more than external factors or hormones, though they can affect you too, the blemishes are not as bad during those times when you eat clean.

I am actually sleeping a little less on average but I have better mental clarity throughout the day, and I am not as tired as I used to be.  The weight I have lost has made a difference I am sure, but I believe all the good effects have come from fueling my body with what it needs from the most healthy sources as possible.  I still enjoy my food.  In fact, I CRAVE it.  Some recipes I have made have not tasted the best, but I still want the wholesome foods.  I just have to be creative with what I cook and I am learning to like new things.

There have only been two instances where I craved processed foods...and they happened in the regular grocery store.  I smelled fried chicken, and I passed by the ice cream aisle...which I used to visit frequently.  Knowing that I could have as big of a bowl of fruit that I wanted when I got home though was enough to fight the temptation to eat a day's worth of calories with one pint of ice cream.

I started this journey as a fast with my church, so prayer has helped a lot too.  The purpose of my fast was to ask for God's divine intervention in my health, and His help to get my life on track when it comes to food.  It was a kind of detox phase I guess that I wanted to help get me on track for long term success.  In fact, we will be continuing this plan for another three weeks before reintroducing any animal products back into our diet.  I plan to still stay away from processed foods and sugars for good.  On occasion, natural sugars like honey will be okay for a treat.

The problem in our society is that high fat fried foods and foods loaded with sugar are in our daily diet instead of being an occasional treat.  Those types of foods are not found in nature and are not to be eaten every single day.  They do not add to the nutrition our body needs but they do add lots of extra calories.  No wonder there is such an obesity epidemic!  I always had a warped view of food.  I never saw it as fuel for my body.  Instead I just saw it as something that I ate because I enjoyed it.  I still enjoy my food when I eat healthy, but it isn't laden with artificial non-nutrients that flavor it up and make me addicted to it.  I have more freedom now!

I share this story to show you that anyone can do this.  It started as a three week fast for me but I believe you could try it out to better your health and give you a kick-start in the right direction too.  If you have a similar story about kick-starting your healthy lifestyle, I'd love to hear it! 

This post is linked to the Homestead Barn Hop!

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