Oh no…I’m turning into that girl.
At the beginning of March, I adopted a vegan lifestyle based on the book, “The Engine 2 Diet,” written by Austin Firefighter and Professional Triathlete Rip Esselstyn. While his concepts of a plant-based diet are far from new, his approach to this “freakish” lifestyle is. For whatever reason, I found this new way of eating (no meat, fish, chicken or dairy) relatively easy. It helps that I live and work about 2 miles from Whole Foods and there are now many meat alternatives out there that taste just as good (if not better) than the real thing.
My reason for adopting this new way of eating was not political, ethical, or social. Simply put: I have high cholesterol and wanted to see if I could improve my numbers without taking medication. In six weeks, my cholesterol dropped 41 points and I lost about 10 pounds in the process (which fluctuates slightly). Somewhere along the way, I’ve also grown to love the variety of foods I am eating on a daily basis. While most would feel deprived without animal protein, both Shawn and I feel like a whole new world has been opened to us. He’s lost 25-30lbs! We’re trying all sorts of new dishes, ingredients, restaurants, etc. Yes, I’ve bent the rules along the way and enjoy some dessert every now and again, but I can’t begin to tell you how good I feel overall about the choices we’ve implemented into our groovy little lives.
So–feeling high and mighty, we visited the Alamo Drafthouse yesterday to eat an early dinner and watch the documentary, “Food, Inc.” You owe it to yourself to see this movie about the food industry and what it’s doing to add to the health and obesity epidemic. Can you imagine the outrage if you found out an American automaker was intentionally building unsafe cars with fake seatbelts because the production saves time and money?? Well, that’s what the food industry is doing to all of us. They are creating cheap foods and fake ingredients that we are putting into our bodies. The meat we eat (unless organic or grassfed) is literally filled with poisons—growth hormones, corn used to make the cows and chickens fat, feces, etc…and there’s really no regulatory control over what to do about it. The only time there’s ever a recall is when people begin dying…nice. We are poisoning ourselves and our children every day with the foods we consume.
Believe me. I’m not giving the soap box speech. I’m actually sickened at my own ignorance and apathy to the issue. We all know it’s freaking disgusting, but we also all turn our heads…kinda like every other social issue on the planet. I’m FAR from perfect. I still put a splenda in my coffee every now and again. I still drink a diet soday when I need caffeine. I’m a sucker for chocolate and I love junk food like everyone else. However, slowly but surely, I’m making healthy changes that are becoming permanent. I’m eating as many natural foods as possible (if I could only give up gum and mints) and filling up on brown rice and veggies instead of ham and cheese.
Everyone says that eating organic costs too much. I’ve never known a price-conscious triathlete. I know I spend THOUSANDS of dollars every year on triathlon nutrition products including gels, electrolyte tablets, salt tablets, recovery drinks and pre-workout fuel. Why the hell wouldn’t my “real food” be as healthy as possible?!
Needless to say, I highly recommend the movie. Yes, it’s filled with it’s fair share of disturbing slaughterhouse and meat packing scenes, but it’s also packed full of intelligence from farmers who are trying to make a living and keep Americans eating real food. If you do go see it at the Alamo Drafthouse, I recommend you stay away from the burgers and chicken strips.