Thursday, November 12, 2009

When the Student is Ready the Master Appears

Day Four - 28-Day Vegan Challenge

"When the Student is Ready, the Master Appears."  ~ Buddhist proverb

I didn't even know it, but I've been on a journey toward a vegan diet for at least 10 years, perhaps much, much longer.

I remember my frustration, in my thirties, with the conflicting reports of what constitutes good nutrition.  Eggs were bad for you, then they were ok.  Fats are bad, then just some fats were bad, but try to figure out which ones!  Sugar substitutes caused cancer, then they didn't.  Pesticides on the fruit caused health problems, but the rate of those health problems were just as high in people who ate only organically-grown produce, so was there really a connection? I had neither the time (too busy living the over-scheduled & hectic life of the average American family) nor the inclination to search out scientific data; after all weren't there gov't agencies whose job it was to do that and then report back to us, the public?

I wished someone would just give me a list of the exact foods I should eat each day in order to be healthy and I would simply eat them and be done with it!

Last week I learned that there IS such a list!!!

It's on page 243 of "The China Study," by T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and it's in the form of a simple easy-to-read chart.  Yep, one. single. page.  And the list not only includes the foods of which you can eat all you want (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains), the foods you should minimize (refined carbohydrates, added vegetable oils, and fish), and the foods to avoid (meat, poultry, dairy, eggs).


It's pretty darn easy to determine whether or not a food is animal- or plant-based making it child's play to figure out what to eat!

Why NO meat, poultry, dairy, or eggs???  For the scientific explanations, discussions on the essential nutrients our bodies need and where they come from, read the book.  No, no, don't be intimidated - it's written in every day language that's understandable, and makes total sense.  I can guarantee you'll have several "ah hah!" moments.  I sure did!

I haven't had to struggle with the "Why NO meat, poultry, dairy, or eggs?" question because for years I've noticed that the less I ate of those foods, the better I feel.  Being told I had high cholesterol, and knowing that cholesterol enters our bodies via animal-based foods, simply nudged me one step further toward a diet heavier in plant-based foods.  Years ago I gave up mayonnaise, butter, and any cream-based soups or sauces, and drastically cut my consumption of ice cream (which I love). These days, if I eat ice cream or something like beef stroganoff with its heavy cream sauce, I get a stomach-ache, and feel crappy for hours.  Our bodies know what's good and what's not, if we would just listen instead of reaching for the Tums.

Now that I've learned that "there are virtually no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants" ("The China Study", page 230), this 28-Day Vegan Challenge has taken on even more importance.  I'm only 4 days into it and already feel better and, unexpectedly (because I didn't set out to), I'm also losing weight, which is weird because I'm eating more than usual, and more frequently!

Ready to join me???

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