Eleven months ago, after researching desmoid tumors and what they have in common with breast cancer I decided to become a vegan. Primarily due to the fact that both share estrogen receptivity and avoiding the hormones in produce seemed to make a lot of sense to me. Plus Kris Carr is one of my guru's and she is very passionate about her vegan lifestyle and it's cancer fighting properties. So I decided it was worth trying.
Eating purely vegan wasn't as difficult as I expected. At least there was almond/coconut milk and even almond milk ice cream even on offer. But I was conscious that I didn't want to adopt an unhealthy vegan diet (we all know how possible that is, fries with that anyone?!). So, I was really trying to eat healthily and primarily plant based. I did well until I travelled to Panama six weeks later and this way of eating would have meant starving. I then decided to re introduce seafood and eggs whenever challenged menu wise (or just for a treat at weekends). I stayed on my mostly plant based diet for another six months. I felt great and not like I was particularly missing out on anything.
But all year I have been stuyding with IIN (the Institute for Integrated Nutrition) and in the process have been exposed to 100 different diet theories. Over time, I've become less convinced of the way I've been eating as the most optimal. Sure I do a lot things right. But there's a lot to be said for having good quality animal protein in the diet. Particularly in favor of eating a lot of grains and sugar - both hard to avoid if meat is off the table as well.
When I found out my tumor had grown despite my way of eating I immediately responded with dietery change. I started having dairy again (not a huge amount but wow feta cheese and greek yogurt are delicous!). I also found myself considering more change. In fact I pretty much decided that once I hit one year meat and chicken free I might gradually reintroduce them. Not much mind you. And in fact I feel more comfortable with beef or pork than chicken (hormones!!!).
Right now I am on my way back from Austin Texas where I just spent an amazing weekend at a music festival. Talk about good stuff - it was an epic weekend on every measure. In Austin I was a "corporate" guest in a very meat based food environment. Given I'd already made the big decision that I was going once more evolve my diet, it didn't seem a big deal to do so a month early.
I don't need to go into the details of what I ate. I will say this, at the BBQ I had a few mouthfuls of different meat dishes. Then I stuck to sides. Two days later (yesterday) I returned to the Elizabeth St Cafe (if you go to Austin you MUST go there), where I simply had to have my favorite dish - the pork steamed bun. poached egg & hoison sauce breakfast. It was every bit as good as I remembered. And yes that's the photo above.
I feel good today. that said in no way do I plan to eat meat every day. I'm still very committed to my heavily plant based diet. In fact I just enjoyed a delicious green smoothie with almond milk for breakfast and I'm very much looking forward to my veggie patty on chinese cabbage salad for lunch. I think the real test is how I respond to this shift in terms of energy, digestion and sleep quality. For now my theory is that animal protein is best as more of a garnish than the main event. Time will tell.
As a health coach to be, I'm looking forward to giving a few different diet theories a practice run. I think it's important to have some first hand experience. I want to provide positive direction, not rules. So that's what I've adopted myself. After all, experimenting on yourself is the best research tool at your disposal.
Have you been experimenting with your diet too? Tell me what you did if so and how it made you feel? Please click below to comment. I'm very interested to hear how different people respond to diet changes as I build on my own experience in this area. Thanks!