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How easy is it to radically change your diet?

“Covid 19 has not been kind, on top of a pretty unhealthy lifestyle the tipping point of lockdown had resulted in pretty significant weight gain so coupled with a fairly appalling diet it was time to take action.”

I was decided to see what a plant based diet might look like after watching Game Changers and stumbling on Dr Michael Greger from . Or at least something akin to it.

Both Game Changers and Dr Greger make compelling arguments for not ever eating meat again. Dr Greger founded Nutrition Facts after his grandmother was diagnosed with heart disease at the age of 65. She switched diets and I believe lived until she was 92.

This story is not disimilar to one discussed in Game Changers where a change to a plant based diet didn’t just add years to life it also added life to someones years.

So why now? Covid 19 has not been kind, on top of a pretty unhealthy lifestyle for the past couple of years. The tipping point of the pandemic and lockdown resulted in pretty significant weight gain.

Having slipped into a fairly appalling diet it was time to take action.

The question was whether or not the move to a full blown plant based diet was realistic. I weighed 84kg at the start of this process and needed to shed 8kg. It had to be a change of lifestyle I could stick to, not something temporary.

Spoiler alert – I’m still eating animal products, I like cheese, eggs and bacon way too much. I have found out a few things about how making simple changes can make a big difference. I’m only a couple of weeks in so will post learnings as I go along. Here’s a few things I’ve learned so far

Alcohol is bad

Obvious I know but there was little point in changing my diet otherwise. I’ve started tracking not only calorie intake but also nutrition (fibre, protein, fat and carbs primarily)

There is no nutrition in alcohol as we all know.

Actually it doesn’t seem possible to get enough good calories and drink so it had to go.

So far so good but giving up alcohol isn’t easy.

However at 200+ calories for a bottle of beer/cider it’s hard to justify when my limit is 1500 calories a day.

Maybe one day again but not for now

Getting enough protein in your diet is hard without meat

My sister is vegtarian as are many of my friends… personally I don’t like tofu!

I’m trying to stick to a ratio of 45% carbs, 30% protein and 25% fat. I’ve read alot about the various diets but in the end resorted to science based information. Like our government but my diet has no waffle…

You need all three food groups in your diet. Low fat products are full of sugar and you need good fat anyway, not eating enough carbs breaks down protein in your body which can turn to glucose and protein boosts weight loss the fastest.

If you want more info this article explains it well Ask the dietitian

Protein in my eating regime is the biggest issue, if you want to limit meat and don’t to get all woke by eating tofu and soy then you’re going to have to get inventive.

Biggest sources in the vegan world seem to be beans, lentils and nuts. I’m about to try quinoa, I’ll post a recipe when I find something that doesn’t taste like cardboard.

In the end I’ve decided the best approach is to limit meat and get more from the other food groups.

Work in progress but I’m staying away from red meat and sticking to lower fat alternatives like turkey mince or low fat pork.

Variety is the key to success

I have found my love of cooking again – probably for the first time in a decade and probably because I’ve had to.

Up until now it’s been all too easy to make pasta dishes, stir fry’s and currys, mostly using chicken. Easy, quick and cheap to make.

While I’m still eating meat I want to curb it so my fridge is stocked with all kinds of greenery. I’ve rediscovered salads and have a much better understanding of just how much more I can get from eating tasty healthy food as opposed to junk.

Trying to balance the various food groups makes you look for new foods you may not have tried before. You may also rediscover some you may have forgotten about.

I’ll post some recipes up as I try them, no one is reading this anyway. This is just as much a reminder for me as it is for anyone who stumbles across this unfortunate ramble.

Empty calories are as bad as alcohol

Yesterday I did a lot of exercise. I had a magum ice cream as a treat. I can’t actually remember the last time I had ice cream. At 280 calories it was a sixth of my daily calorie allowance and a fifth of my total fat intake.

It was good but I was hungry post the sugar rush. By then I had effectively lost a meal I could have which was annoying.

Today I had a pomegranate, avocado and bacon salad with cucumber, tomato and some feta cheese. Minus the dressing (olive oil is an issue but I refuse to compromise on some things) the calorie count was the same as a magnum.

If you’re serious about losing and maintaining weight just accept that eating better, with better ingredients is the way forward.

(Not faddy diets where you can eat what you want as long as you stay within a specific scoring system.)

I’ll probably write a separate blog around this subject. It seems to be critical in eating healthier without compromising on the things you enjoy.

Despite what they say a calorie is not a calorie (Dr Greger again)

So in summary it seems ok for now, i’m eating well, have lost a kg already, rediscovered my love of food, avoided hangovers, got my five a day and feel a lot better. Not a plant based diet more plant enhanced.

Lets see if I can make it through another month…

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