There is a stigma in our society that says we must eat meat for protein, that we were designed to eat meat because we have canine teeth! The fact of the matter is we don't have canine teeth.
As stated in an article by Michael Bluejay, "The lower jaw of a meat-eating animal has very little side-to-side motion – it is fixed to open and close, which adds strength and stability to its powerful bite. Like other plant-eating animals our jaw can move forwards and backwards, and side-to-side, as well as open and close, for biting off pieces of plant matter, and then grinding them into smaller pieces with our flat molars.
It was 2010 and I was in the process of getting test after test after test to try and find out why I had Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS). Having IBS is literally a pain in the butt! No pun intended. Whenever I ate I knew I had exactly thirty minutes to find a restroom or be at the comfort of my own home. It was like clockwork. I went to doctors, but tests couldn’t give me any answers, so I decided to make a change. I cut my dairy intake down and started using Lactaid milk. It helped, and I felt a change in my system, and my pit stops to restrooms became less frequent.
Moving ahead now to 2013, my fiancé and children were out of the house. I made breakfast and took my daily allergy pill. I've had horrible allergies and sinus infections since the age of three. I got tested years later and started going for allergy shots. I was allergic to grass, mold, dust, trees, cats, and at least twenty other things not worth listing. I went for allergy shots twice a week for three years and then down to once a week for seven more. The shots would help time to time, but I was still getting sinus infections almost every other week. I decided I did not want to continue the shots and stopped. My routine was to take an allergy pill in the morning and then at night.
Sorry, I rambled off the subject. I don't remember the exact date. But I do remember it was February of 2013. This is the day I turned on Netflix and watched the documentary "Vegucated" and “Food Inc.”. What I watched made sense, and it inspired me to do an experiment. I went to the local store and bought organic vegetables and a product from Gardenia that looked like chicken, but was made out of soy and grains. I made an amazing stir fry with no dairy and no meat products.
I can still remember to this day the kids and my fiancé saying, "This meal is amazing and the chicken is so tasty and tender." After everyone had seconds and thirds, that's when I dropped the bomb! It's not meat, it’s soy and grain products! Obviously no one believed me, so I had to dig the packaging out of the garbage can to show the proof. It was decided then and there that we would try it again with another meal. So four years later we are still "Plant Based”. I sometimes say Vegan, but Veganism gets a bad rap at times. It's like we're hippies or in a cult!
What I have learned from making the switch to "Plant Based" foods is that it's really not that hard to do! We make most of our food and if we do decide to go out to a restaurant there are usually vegetarian options which we can alter. I do have to say though, if something has an egg in it or milk we suck it up and eat it. We aren't going to be ignorant if someone made something and it's not suitable for our diet. We do this to be healthier, and when I say that, I mean for us. Let me explain the changes I’ve seen in myself before I get into the benefits my now wife and children have experienced.
Since changing to a Plant Based diet I have lost weight, thirty-five pounds to be exact, and have kept it off. I no longer experience adult acne. I can't remember a time prior when I was ever pimple free. I also had rosacea really bad and yes being the self conscious person I was I bought foundation powder to help tone down the redness. My need to take allergy pills is gone. In the last three to four years I have taken three allergy pills, compared to my twice a day most of my teenage and adult life. Huge money saver right there! I no longer suffer from IBS and sad to say, the times I spent hitting the Bob Evans Restaurant restroom on my way to work is not missed, but I do miss saying good morning to the sweet elderly hostess I saw on my morning visits. I can also say I've probably gotten sick three times since being Plant Based. I'm full of energy and no longer lethargic after I eat. I can taste food better than I use too. It's amazing the flavors vegetables actually have. I always looked at my vegetables as the filler side dish next to my meat platter. Not the case if you think about it. It's a direct source of vitamins and minerals. If you eat the proper foods, there really is no need to take supplements or vitamins every day. We're already being infused with those nutrients with every meal.
If anything here is the prize, my doctor stated at my last physical he's not sure what I'm doing, but keep at it because I'm healthier now than I ever have been. As a family, our sick days are pretty much gone. The kids have been sick maybe a total of four days since being Plant Based, and if we do feel a sickness coming on it's in our system for a couple hours. Kids are petri dishes when it comes to school and catching things. Not so much anymore for us, thank goodness!
It's great to know I'm not participating in giving the medical industry any more money than they already get. What I have learned since becoming Plant Based or Vegan is that I have gained more energy, and my recovery times have decreased. I partake in various rituals when it comes to easy runs or my longer runs. The recovery process is typically the same throughout. I drink a protein based smoothie usually consisting of chocolate almond milk, Vega or Hammer Nutrition Protein powder, a scoop of peanut butter or almond butter, and topped off with some unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk. I try to drink this no longer than 30 minutes after my run. The days I decide to endure more mileage I will drink Tart Cherry juice to help with the inflammation and lactic build up in the muscles. It's an antioxidant from a natural source that has been proved to help alleviate soreness and cramping after strenuous endurance activities. So there you learned a few hidden secrets, some health benefits, and some pretty amazing stories of how my body has benefited from a Plant Based diet. Obviously, you should always talk to your physician and make sure it's something right for you. At the end of the day, the decision is going to be yours. Take a challenge and try going Plant Based for a few weeks, watch documentaries, and most importantly just being aware of what goes into your body. I hope you found this insightful and useful.
Perhaps a continuation of the nutritional valves and benefits I have noticed or experienced will come at a later date. Thank you for letting me share!