Because I’ve been plant-based for nearly three years and eating only whole plant-based foods is now a habit, I hadn’t really thought about it until I was asked the question. And it made me realize a few things.
While eating whole plant-based foods may be considered being on a diet, I consider it more of a lifestyle than a diet. A lifestyle encompasses food habits (the diet that you normally consume) as well as exercise, work, recreational, spiritual, educational, and financial habits. I think of food habits as the foods we default to – those foods that we consume automatically for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Those are the foods that make up the diet that is our lifestyle.
Many lifestyles include foods typical of the Standard American diet such as animal-based foods and highly processed and refined foods that are loaded with salt, sugar, and fat. The same foods that are responsible for obesity and many chronic degenerative diseases related to obesity.
My lifestyle prior to reading “The China Study” by T. Colin Campbell included a low-sugar version of the Standard American Diet. After reading the hard, scientific and clinical evidence presented in “The China Study” clearly showing that animal-based foods trigger many cancers and other chronic degenerative diseases, it suddenly became easy for me to not eat meat, poultry, fish, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, eggs, or any other animal-based foods. That’s because in my mind, they suddenly became “non-foods”.
It’s pretty easy not to eat “non-foods”. If you were served a piece of wood or a sponge on a plate, you wouldn’t think: “boy, that piece of wood sure looks good, maybe I’ll just have a little bit”, or “I hope there’s more sponge because I don’t think one will be enough”. The thought of eating those things would never even cross your mind because they’re not food!
The evidence presented in “The China Study” and other work published by the likes of Dean Ornish, MD, Caldwell Esselstyn, MD, John McDougall, MD, Michael Greger, MD, and many others have consistently shown over and over again that animal-based foods are the main cause of the epidemic of obesity and poor health we’re experiencing.
So, to me, animal-based foods have become non-foods. Sure, they may smell good, but so does perfume, and I don't eat that. I look at a piece of meat or a piece of cheese (or any other animal-based food) and see something that to me is inedible. And if it’s inedible, I won’t eat it. Period.
So what does that leave? You guessed it – whole plant-based foods. Loads and loads of amazing whole, plant-based foods! It was certainly an adjustment that I did one meal at a time to create new habits that have become my lifestyle. And my body has rewarded me handsomely by dropping weight, giving me more energy, eliminating back pain, eliminating all GI problems, eliminating asthma, rarely getting colds or flus, keeping my cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure in check, and overall making me feel great! Plus my body quickly eliminated cravings for animal-based foods, which to me is a sign that my body doesn't really even need those foods.
This is not a diet that I will ever go off of. This is a lifestyle that I will never change.
How do you stick to your diet?