Diet, nutrition, and my 3-week vegan cleanse
Anybody who knows me, knows I enjoy having meat as a central part of my diet. From bacon to steak, chicken to fish, most meals are meat-centric. I was blessed with one of those moms who never forced her youngest to eat anything he didn't like. And what I didn't like was vegetables!
Now I consider myself to be pretty healthy - I exercise with a great trainer twice a week, plus I work at the gym on my own; I play in a volleyball league once a week and get a checkup at the physician regularly.
So when my wife Melissa suggested we try a 3 week vegan cleanse program, I was, to say the least, a little resistant. But, I knew it was very important to her, so after a little research, I agreed. The cleanse was through a lady named Kris Carr who has an amazing story of surviving cancer by changing her lifestyle and diet. I figured, what the hell!
My biggest concern was that I wouldn't like the food or it would be full of broccoli and cauliflower (my least favorites.) Much to my surprise, the food was not only edible, but it was delicious! Better yet, the cleanse got both of us working together in the kitchen regularly - something that we really enjoy, but sometimes get out of the habit of doing.
What I liked about the program is that it told us how and what to shop for, how to prep the ingredients and when we needed to eat what. All we had to do was put it together and enjoy. There were smoothies, juices, snacks and full entrees. It was truly vegan, no meat or dairy. Also, no gluten and only one alcoholic drink per week.
Although it was scary to jump into this, we both did great. For the most part, I never felt like I was missing anything. Physically, there were very few of the typical 'cleanse symptoms'. We just went, day by day, following instructions.
So yesterday was the final day of the cleanse, and other than a couple of minor cheats (some cheese and an extra drink or two) we both came through with flying colors. My head didn't explode (and neither did my gut.) And now that its over, I actually feel like I'm missing the structure of the plan. What am I going to eat today???
The results? Well, I lost about 10 pounds; dropped my body fat percentage from 16.5% to 14.3%; greater mental clarity; more energy and impactful workouts; deeper and more restful sleep. I ran my fastest 5k ever last Friday: 23:46 on a treadmill. Not bad for 47!
Going forward, we will integrate the principles we learned and definitely pull recipes from the plan often. While I don't see myself going full vegetarian or vegan anytime soon, I do see us having a much more balanced and less meat-centric diet. I think the whole diet game is about being intentional and prepared. Where have we heard that before?
Oh, and lets not forget that meat production is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gasses on the planet. Scientists say that minimizing meat consumption is a necessity for us to reduce our personal greenhouse gas emissions and climate impact. Every little bit helps!