I am taking a break from my usual posts about teaching pedagogy to confess something: To teach about another Tough Topic.
“My name is Aubrey Steinbrink, and I am a whole food, plant-based eater.”
Now what would make a meat-eatin, Kansas kid turn to a plant-based diet? It ultimately came down to health. I want to wake up without a fog. I want to be able to spend time with the boys and have energy to keep up, and I want to be able to live a healthy life that allowed me to forgo all of the pills/chemo/doctors that I saw lurking in my future. I’m not swearing off all animal products- I will still sit in a car with leather seats, and I am sure my banning red meat won’t hurt the cattle industry one little bit. I am not trying to make a statement. All I know is that once I started focusing more on vegetables, fruit and legumes, my body responded in a way I was not expecting (in a good way).
The boys and I enjoying our summer before Mom has her nap.
I was in Kansas visiting our family; Fourth of July, cousins, FOOD galore, and pool time. It got to the point where the thought of food made me uncomfortable. My husband and I have been clean eaters since I can remember, so the value and quality of food has always been important to me, but it wasn’t until this summer that I started to read more about the effects of an animal based diet; linked to cancer risk, hypertension, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. At this point, I can honestly tell you (if my
family is reading) they are either laughing at me or shaking their head in disgust. I am sure there is even a comment about being a ‘hippie’ being said out loud.
Through this journey of about two and a half months, I have went through many different emotions and struggles. To start…
- I didn’t know what to Cook.
My meal prep before this journey consisted of animal protein and two vegetables or EGGS!!! The Forks over Knives Plan, cookbook and app have helped me navigate my path. To be honest, food prep is so much easier because I don’t have to thaw anything, I don’t have to break down the meat to be edible/tender. Roasting vegetables or grilling a portabella mushroom takes no time at all. I have started to understand the love for eggplant, purple onions, mushrooms of all shapes and sizes, quinoa pilafs, sweet potatoes and beans, beans, beans!!!.
2. My body didn’t know what the heck was going on.
WARNING: For about three weeks, I was bloated and gassy. I thought there was no way I was going to be able to continue this. But, after the third week of my body getting used to the food changes, NO MORE GAS!!!!
3. There were moments I could have eaten a COW ! or a ‘Chicken fried steak”
At first, I was starving. Starving all the time. There was not enough food in the world that could sustain me. I wasn’t used to grazing throughout the day because the animal products I was eating were taking so long for my body to digest, I didn’t need to eat as much. My body got used to this change quickly, and I became a smarter lunch packer as well. I meal prep on Sundays and Silk brand yogurt made with almond milk is so much better than any yogurt I have ever had.
4. Energy, Mood Swings, Focus, and Stress
Before July of this year, I was lacking energy and prone to quick mood changes (just ask anyone). I was juggling my career change, masters courses, parenting, and on going focus on my well-being. (who knows 🙂 ) Stress got the better of me on most days. Instead of being able to pull myself away from the moment and look at the situation, I overreacted and tried to stress out about things I had no control over.
I currently have more focus (clarity) and energy than I have ever had. I am able to wake up in the morning for a quick workout before school- and that has been unheard of for quite some time. I have also been able to run for longer distances without allowing myself to quit or needing to quit. I am so excited for my half marathon in December (I believe it will be my best. ) I am convinced I owe all of this to my new plant-based diet.
Other Benefits that I have noticed…
- Happiness- now that my husband is supporting me and eating a plant-based diet – we are both on this ride together and have seen our relationship improve in ways that we didn’t think would after 10 years of marriage and two small boys.
- positive- As a previous cynical cindy (not that I don’t revert back to that some times) it is so nice to see the rainbow at the end of the rainstorm.
- Losing weight (10 Lbs in total)- Not that I needed to lose weight or this my primary focus- it was a really nice surprise
- more time with my boys- not slaving in the kitchen, and not laying in bed feeling terrible has helped us use our time more wisely
- Feeling great- after dinner, I used to crawl into bed (since I was already in my pajamas at 530) I get to do the things I have been missing out on.
- ‘Regular’ (if you know what I mean)
- taste buds are stronger – I have really started to love sun-dried tomatoes and all the ‘real’ flavors of food
- meditation is clearer and more focused
- Yoga practice is more frequent
(okay, maybe I do sound like a hippie)
I wanted to feel better, and I wanted to live a healthier life. I am not on my soapbox trying to convince anyone to jump on my bandwagon. It has just made all the small things in my life that I used to take for granted or parts of my life that I just thought were parts of ME, so much BETTER.
Here is a link if you want to know more