For the past 3 months I have been following a majority plant based diet which has yielded incredible results in more ways than I could have imagined. I recently made an instagram and blog post (check those out first before reading this one if you haven't already) detailing my experience and my progress thus far. The responses i've received since posting have been crazy, so I decided to create a blog series about my plant based experiences.
To start, i'd like to make it clear that I don't think meat or the overall consumption of animal products is a bad thing nor do I shun those that eat animal products. The problem I have with animal consumption is how the animals are raised (diets they are fed, living conditions, injection of hormones, etc.) and the amount of meat that is consumed.
As previously mentioned, I follow a majority plant based diet and have been gradually reducing animal consumption as the weeks progress. I am now at the point where I eat meat every 3 days and eggs every two days. I have also switched to eating pasture raised meats and eggs and have cut out 98% of dairy (i've had a few slip ups).
It's no secret that i'm pretty fit, and the biggest question I get is how/where do I get my protein from? The topic of protein in regards to fitness and being "ripped" is a whole blog post in itself, so i'll save that one for another day. I will say that everything I thought I knew about protein consumption in regards to building muscle is bullshit and we actually eat waaaaay more animal protein than is necessary. But again, thats for a different day.
Weren't you already healthy?
This has been another common question, "but weren't you already healthy to begin with?" Prior to switching to plant based, I wasn't eating like complete shit, but I also wasn't the cleanest eater either. For the past 3 years, tracking macronutrients has been my way of life. As long as whatever food I wanted to eat fit the general range of my macros (your daily intake of protein, carbs, and fats) I ate it. For majority of those 3 years, my daily macros were in the range of [Protein: 120g, Carbs: 220g, Fat: 70g] The calculations of how I reached those numbers aren't important for this topic, and i'm honestly pissed that way of eating is what I followed and advised my clients to follow for years. Meanwhile i've been on this plant based grind for all of 3 months, and have seen more progress than I have in 3 years, and have not tracked one GD macro. Seriously ya'll, i'm so salty about this.
Tracking macros meant that if I had 40 more grams of carbs and 10 grams of fat to spare, 9 times out of 10 my day was ending with ice cream. That also meant that most of the time I would eat relatively "clean" in the beginning half of the day so I could eat like shit at night and not feel bad about it because everything I was eating fit my macros. This led to me being overly obsessive about counting and logging my macros and the foods I was eating. When cooking food at home, I measured/weighed out every single thing I put into my food and I hated going to restaurants because I didn't know what exactly or how much of something was in my meal. Which arguably isn't a bad thing, but still. This obsessiveness over my food came in spurts. I'd go 2 months straight of tracking the hell out of everything then the next minute I wouldn't care at all and just ate. Doing so was my idea of staying balanced. Basically, I wasn't healthy, but I ate junk in an organized and obsessive way that made me think I was being both healthy and flexible.
Lmao, get it? Shouts to my friend Charles for this one
Other than the obvious decrease in animal consumption, some of the major changes with my diet are:
- I stopped tracking macros
- I only weigh my food to see how much a serving is (ex. one serving of oatmeal is the perfect amount for me so I weigh out the oats but I don't log the 27g of carbs that are in them)
- I eat hella veggies...so much that i'm realizing how much I wasn't eating before
- Even with high intensity training/lifting throughout the week, I'm eating about 400-500cals less than I was before. *Calories in vs. calories out = weight loss or gain. This is how i've dropped weight
- What appears to be "smaller" portions of food, fill me up and hold me over longer
- I drink more water
- I don't feel "fat" and i'm not as bloated after a meal or a full day of eating
- I eat hellaaaaa veggies, ya'll
- I eat multiple starchy carbs in one meal (used to be a huge no-no)
- I don't have the same cravings anymore (ex. I used to crave ice cream all the time. I had ice cream a week ago and didn't even want to finish it)
What I eat
I've been telling people I was going to do this for a while now, so here is a quick list of some of my favorite things I eat. Keep in mind, i'm a simple eater and my meals are nothing fancy. Most of this stuff are different variations of essentially the same foods and that is what works for me.
Here is what a sample day of eating looks like for me:
1st meal: 11am (*Keep in mind that I do intermittent fasting so my first meal of the day isn't until 11am or later)
Remember I mentioned weighing out my serving
Cooked with almond milk then usually topped with chia seeds, fruit, nut butter, cinnamon, drop of honey
2nd Meal: 2-3pm
PesScience's vegan protein, probably the best i've tried as far as taste and price goes. Almond milk, water, chia seeds, frozen blueberries, bananas, stawberries, spinach, kale, pineapple, scoop of protein. Previously, my smoothies were made with greek yogurt and I used a whey protein powder (plus the fruit)
Bowl of pineapple, apples, and mangoes with Tajin seasoning <--- [insert fire emoji here]
3rd Meal: 7pm
Roasted corn, black beans, lettuce, bell peppers, shrimp, and avocado. I make this bowl often and sometimes i'll add rice to it if I know I have a heavy lift the next day.
1st Meal: 11am
*I eat oatmeal almost every day. If i'm hungrier in the morning (usually post workout since I do them fasted) i'll either eat a bigger serving of oats or i'll add eggs, like on this day. Two pasture raised eggs, collard greens, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms.
Previously, I would have ate 5 egg whites and 1 whole egg + potatoes, then topped with cheese...yikes
2nd meal: 3pm
Acai bowl topped with granola, berries, bananas, almond butter
3rd Meal: 7pm
Leftovers from the night before of black beans, corn, peppers, and tomatoes. Then I added purple cabbage and mangoes to the shrimp plus a corn tortilla.
1st Meal: 11am
French toast: almond milk, 1 egg, chia seeds, cinnamon, vanilla + sprouted whole grain bread. Topped with almond butter and usually fruit
2nd Meal: 2-3pm
Mixed green salad usually with avocado and I use lime juice for dressing
My snacks are usually nuts, fruits, or a protein shake
3rd Meal: 7-8pm
I use dinner as my time to experiment with new meals. Here a couple different things i've tried:
I tried vegan cheese for pizza. I read great reviews on the cheese but I honestly thought it was whatever and I probably wouldn't buy it again. The cheese didn't have a taste to it and was just really creamy. It tasted like topping a pizza with cream cheese. I would prefer to just eat pizza crust, sauce, and veggies next time
Jackfruit tacos. Its the meat of a jackfruit with taco seasoning basically...it was cool I guess. I'd probably buy it again but it wasn't anything life changing.
Everything listed isn't all I eat or all that i've tried, but like I said, most of my meals are pretty simple and I've been trying to capture some of the more aesthetically pleasing meals i've made. I've experimented with different types of rice and bean based pastas, different grains, animal substitute/ vegan proteins and random recipes I find on instagram. My go to throughout the week is anything with 3-4 sauteed veggies and greens, with a different type of beans and those are the simple things that work for me. I eat a lot of fruit and nuts, nut butters, and avocado almost daily as things that I add to main meals or as snacks. Coincidentally, both of the pictures of my dinner I included on here have shrimp in them. While I do eat a good amount of shrimp, I also still eat chicken and sometimes beef every 3 days (as previously mentioned) for my source of meat.
A client just gave me the "Thug Kitchen" cookbook (vegan recipes) so hopefully i'll be experimenting more with different foods so stay tuned.