Hi, my name is Marcie and I am a vegan. I have been eating this way…with no meats, eggs or dairy….for more than a year, but I still can’t seem to lose these pesky 20 pounds, and I feel tired all the time. What’s up with that? Take this morning, for example, I had almond milk on my bowl of frosted flakes, NOT cow’s milk! I was feeling a little peckish by mid-morning, so I ate some low calorie BBQ flavored rice cakes and a diet coke, hardly any calories there. Needless to say, I was starving by lunchtime, so I treated myself to McDonald’s, but in keeping with my vegan diet, I just had a large fries, and a diet coke. I try to have a really healthy meal for dinner, so I’m preparing a salad (iceberg lettuce, tomato and Russian dressing), mashed potatoes….with margarine, not butter!….and some veggie nuggets which I found in the health food section of the supermarket. This evening, I will be watching a movie with my boyfriend, so we will have some chips and salsa, with more diet coke, of course. I love being a vegan, and I cannot for the life of me understand why people would put garbage like meat and dairy in their bodies!
What’s wrong with this picture? I think it is pretty obvious that, for optimal health, Marcie needs to be more concerned with ADDING things to her diet, not just eliminating meats and dairy. That’s why Susan and I, in our book 100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It, avoid using the term “vegan”. It implies that if you don’t eat animal products, you are following a healthy diet. As you can see from Marcie’s diet, this is not always the case. We prefer the term “whole food plant based diet.” That means choosing food as close to their natural source as possible: like fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. So how many of Marcie’s foods would fit with OUR way of eating? The almond milk is a good choice and just like cow’s milk, it contains 30% calcium! The iceberg lettuce and tomato are okay, but as a caution, if you are choosing lettuce, the greener the better. And while you are at it, don’t smother it in bottled dressings that are packed with fat, sugar and preservatives! You can also count the potato as a whole, plant based food, but be careful with the added fat! Aside from that, most of Marcie’s food choices came from a factory and/or have the nutritional value of a piece of cardboard.
Just for today, take note of how many of the things that you eat come from a factory, rather than right from the earth. How can you add more of these health promoting and cancer fighting whole, plant-based foods to your daily routine?