Let me introduce the chap on the left. He's me in 2013. He is 39 years old, lives on a mostly processed food diet with meat and dairy and smokes, his only saving graces are that he doesn't drink much and exercises. In fact he's quite active, clocking up an average of 4,000 calories a week in the gym ... but he kept getting fatter, and caught every seasonal flu and cold as well as suffered from acid reflux. The chap on the right is me in 2016, he is 42, lives on a plant based diet with only a little dairy and processed foods, drinks more (wine) and exercises less...(still working on the smoking thing) and never seems to get flu or any other sickness and ... and thankful doesn't suffer from acid reflux anymore.
So how did I transition from one to the other?
It started with a lazy night in July 2015 flicking through YouTube looking for something to watch, we watched earthlings! For those who don't know it is the 2005 documentary that graphically depicts the suffering of animals in factory farms, research labs, puppy mills and other industries. After watching both Joanne and I decided to stop eating meat (stop eating earthlings), but just as importantly we decided to learn about food. At the time Joanne* was studying nutritional therapy and so was already on the road to eating more healthy, but I still had a lot to learn. Luckily I had Joanne and she designed a diet for me that would increase my nutritional status, thus healing my body, while also removing my dependance on processed foods and animal products.
For the first couple of weeks I found the change a little hard as my tastebuds returned to normal and I went through withdrawal from the sugar and chemicals in the processed foods, this was eased by Joanne's skill as a chef (see some wonderful recipes here). After that, the change was dramatic; my energy levels increased and body fat started to come off at a steady rate of around 1Kg a week. Because I was eating lots of plant based fats and proteins I stopped snacking and craving processed carbohydrate / sugary junk food and I felt full all the time. Joanne was also grateful that I stopped snoring and in turn she also started to sleep a lot better than she had in years.
By September 2015 my weight had stabilised and my skin, although still a little lose around my stomach and waist was starting to shrink, perhaps I could have helped it along by doing the odd sit-up,... but that's hard work. By this point I had changed my exercise plan to focus more on walking, light training and jogging ... i.e. more fun and less stressful exercises as apposed to slogging it out in the gym.
"Real food doesn't have ingredients, real food is ingredients"
So now its September 2016 and my weight has been stable since April at around 65kg. I still eat a plant based diet with minimal processed foods, although we do still eat the odd takeaway and processed cake while out, we are Vegan and predominately Raw Food.
So what did I personally discover on my journey of how to eat real food again? Well the first and probably most important thing I learned was that real food doesn't come in a packet or from a factory, and in the words of Jamie Oliver "Real food doesn't have ingredients, real food is ingredients". Real food is the stuff that grows from the ground; vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds and beans which give me everything I need to be healthy and happy and have the energy to live my life. They contain the fats, proteins, carbohydrates to fuel me and the nutrients that my body needs to work efficiently. Yes I still get asked the question "Where do you get your protein from"? My answer is to show them a photo like the one below and answer: "The same place as this guy, just with more beans and less tree bark".
*Joanne is now a certified Nutritional Therapist and is currently training to become a Raw Food Coach with the renowned Karen Knowler so that she can coach others and take them on their own incredible journey to a healthier life.
About the GrassRoots Health Blog
The Grassroots Health blog is written by Dean and Joanne. Joanne's passion is vegan raw food, nutrition and wellbeing while Dean likes to explore the real science behind health.
The equipment we use