It all kind of started with eggs. They were one of the last things that I finally took out of our diet so we could be completely vegan… but I’d always intuitively felt that they were healthy, and I missed how good they made me feel. When I had an omelet that my brother made me in Arizona, I really began deliberating over the whole vegan thing. Only lately staying strictly on a high carb vegan diet, my weight refused to budge even an ounce. Even working out really hard, such as in a group class, in a cycling class, on the treadmill, nothing was working. Next I made a strange discovery that whenever I ‘cheated’, and ate an egg, would I lose a bit of weight. And that began to really make me think critically about the way I was eating.
I looked into the reasons why other people had ‘fallen off the vegan wagon’, and discovered that it was because they were lacking vitamins to make their body run correctly. They were experiencing fatigue, digestions issues, hair loss, cavities, loss of appetite, weight gain, unrestful sleep, lowered immune system, depression… I was surprised to realize that my husband and I, combined, had all or most of these problems… and that we didn’t have them before. And in kids, symptoms of vitamin deficiency included unrestful sleep, less vibrant skin, loss of appetite, fatigue, and distended bellies… the girls were showing all of these ills, things I had noticed in them, but had not even considered was due to our ‘perfect vegan diet’.
I remember feeling so wonderfully healthy when we started eating vegan about a year and half ago, so what had gone wrong? How did we get so unhealthy, and how did we not notice? I imagine what made the biggest difference at the beginning, was merely removing all the processed foods from our diet, and starting to eat vegetables that caused us to feel so well, but slowly we became deficit in the foods we were restricting ourselves from, and the last couple of months we’ve just been feeling awful. So, after reviewing everything I had learned, we decided to stop being vegan.
But then… what do we eat? I started looking at how people eat, and why, and success they have with their chosen diet, and as I researched I put all the ‘diets’ into a simple chart. What I discovered was that the people eating ALL these different diets… were ALL healthy! But how could that be? Some don’t eat meat, some eat meat but no dairy, some eat grains, others don’t, and it became very confusing. Finally I started looking at the linking factors, which seem to be vegetables. A LOT of vegetables. Everything else had its place in the food habits of these people, but veggies at every meal seem to be at the core of success for them all. Also, quality of food was a link between the diets. Pasture raised eggs, organic grown produce, raw nuts, whole grain bread. No junk food, or processed food. Whole, natural food, that was the reigning theme throughout all the library books, eBooks, medical sites, diet sites, and blogs that cataloged how this or that diet was the best because BLANK. The link I am sure is the vegetables, and quality of food.
Here is my chart, the green is things that you are allowed to eat on the diet. The light green with “Lim” is for things that are allowed to be eaten in limited quantities. The dark green with “Focus” is the main food group of the diet. There are complexities to each diet, but undressed, down to the basics, these are their do’s and don’ts.
Click on the photo to see it clearly, or download it here: Diet Comparison Chart
I had eggs for breakfast this morning, and am full and satisfied. I’m glad that we did the vegan thing for a while, because it stopped our cravings for most processed foods, and we had to learn to cook and enjoy vegetables. So with our new healthier eating habits, we’ve started incorporating meat and dairy back into our diet. And instead of focusing on any specific diet, as a family we agreed to simply eat the best quality food we can.