Photograph by silviarita
The benefits of a plant based Diet.
Since 2013 I adopted a whole plant based diet and I think it’s an apt time to make conclusions as my general health is a concern. What I can say for sure is that it got much much better than I used to be.
When I was in my early thirties, I was diagnosed with some illnesses that were situated along my gastrointestinal system which is the system that deals primarily with food.
I was diagnosed with an ulcer in the stomach and duodenum. I had chronic constipation and a severe case of hemorrhoids, as you can see I was suffering from all the “beautiful stuff!”
My psychology was down, my self-esteem was non-existent, and my self-confidence was, to say the least fighting to survive like a castaway holding that piece of floating debris and praying no sharks will get him.
At the time I was diagnosed with all these problems I was an also a chain smoker of tobacco cigarettes and an avid drinker of caffeinated drinks and also coffee.
I was 31, and I had the body of an 80-year-old!
I was 31, and I had the body of an 80-year-old! My energy levels were, to say the least minimum, I slept a lot, my complexion was a mess, I had pimples often, mostly on my chest and sometimes on my face, I was lethargic, and I lacked the motivation to do anything in my life.
They all started when one day the doctor diagnose me with a stomach ulcer; the doctor told me to stop drinking coffee and quit smoking immediately because these two are poisons for the body and especially for the stomach.
I remember telling him in my then drug addict behavior that I can give you coffee, meaning I will stop drinking coffee but I can’t quit smoking. At the time yes I had the mindset of a drug addict, a nicotine junkie, I was a prisoner and a slave to the deadly poisonous toxin, a toxin that is widely used as a pesticide and is responsible for a big part to the extinction of the bees.
So I stop drinking coffee and continued smoking. I took some pills the doctor suggested and followed a diet he proposed, and after a few months the ulcer was reduced, and I did not have the painful sensation every time I was eating something anymore.
I manage to contain my stomach ulcer, but my hemorrhoids and constipation (chronic) were still there, and let me tell you they were times my hemorrhoids were so bad that I was afraid to use the toilet, it was excruciating.
Four years passed and I was still a smoker, but I had an epiphany a moment of realization that shook me to my core and made me realize that if I didn’t stop smoking, I am probably dead by the age of fifty.
I quit smoking using the willpower method which is not the right way to stop smoking, there is a much better method to do it, and if I only knew it, I would not have had the psychological mostly withdrawals of quitting smoking.
I will be nine years smoke-free this year (2018), and I couldn’t be happier, I left my drug addiction behind, and I can say with 100% certainty that I will not smoke again, those cancer tubes are not for me anymore.
A year passed without smoking
A year passed without smoking, and I sadly replaced the mechanical movements of using my hand and mouth to smoke with eating food, I would eat with a vengeance every time I was thinking of smoking or thought I needed a cigarette. I end up gaining 22 pounds. Plus the 22 lbs I already had and were above my healthy weight I was 44 pounds overweight.
After receiving my blood results which were a disaster, I had high cholesterol, and triglycerides levels were off the chart! When i saw myself in the mirror, I saw a fat man looking back to me, overweight, sick out of shape looking at least 15 years older than his biological age.
Right there I decided that this situation cannot go on, this is not me, I used to be lean and healthy and energetic. After that I wore some running shoes and headed to the high school track of my high school.
I think I walked three loops, and that was back in April of 2010. You can find about that story more in my first book Thirsty for Health.
This April it will be eight years of me still running, those three first loops was the beginning of a beautiful journey, one that includes racing in many 5k, 10k, half marathons and marathons!
I started running purely for narcissistic purposes I am not ashamed to admit it, acknowledging your motives and why you do what you do helps you become a better person with a gradual and responsible way.
As I was getting better in running, I learned through books mostly the beneficial effects of exercise in our life’s, and gradually my mindset shifted from running just to lose weight from running as a mean to improve my health.
The competitive bug bit me at some point, so I started researching ways to improve my running performance, to run faster and also to run further.
I discovered that a vegetarian diet offered more advantages
I discovered that a vegetarian diet offered more advantages than an omnivore one. I started experimenting with it resulting in my decision in 2013 to adopt a strict vegetarian diet (Vegan) one that turns into a lifestyle and one that I keep follow “religiously” until today.
My times did get better; I did run further, I haven’t had a single case of flu since 2013! I recovered faster than when I was on an omnivore diet, my lungs are getting in better shape, and I am pretty sure a lot of the toxins and tar that were accumulated there by my junkie years as a tobacco smoker are mostly gone.
My stomach is completely cured and also my duodenum according to with the last stomach test I did and also now I have no constipation I don’t have to push, and my hemorrhoids are 90% cured and do not bleed anymore! I did that with no medicines, pills, surgery but with significant lifestyle dietary changes.
Fiber along with able consumption of water, the only liquid our body is designed to use, will guarantee a clean large intestine and the removal of toxins in our body.
We evolved by eating a massive amount of fiber every day about 100 grams! Our body and especially our liver who along with our kidneys work 24/7 to remove toxins and poisons from our body dump the toxins in the large intestine so they can be carried out and disposed of through the fiber.
When your bulk of your diet is eating animal products and processed food which lack fiber, then all those toxins and poisons are reintroduced back into our bloodstream, and that’s when you start observing situations like acne, and eczema, fever, and headaches!
If you can’t give up your meat yet then don’t
If you can’t give up your meat yet then don’t, my advice is if you don’t eat any fruits or salads you should start and if you already are then trying to increase your volume of fresh fruit, vegetables, and legumes (beans, chickpeas, etc.). Of course, it is paramount to hydrate yourself well, drink lots of water it won’t kill you.
If you follow this regime for a few weeks you will see that your skin will get clearer, your mood will be better, your energy levels will go up. You will start feeling lighter in the stomach, possible constipation problems or hemorrhoids will start to get better, and gradually this will become a lifestyle that is improving your health thus making you happier.
The luck of this regime will make you sick and miserable and spend all your hard-earned money on drugs and doctors while you can invest that money in your health by buying more fruits, vegetables, legumes, starch, cereals, and nuts.
Another issue that my plant-based lifestyle helped me overcome is weight loss. I managed to lose 44 pounds, and the best thing was that I did it safely and gradually and I never gained them back.
The reason is very simple. Your brain understands that you are full, that you are not hungry anymore when a signal leaves from the stomach and notifies the brain by saying hey stop eating I am full.
Now that signal in order to be released your stomach much be at least 50% full, sensors along the stomach detect that, and then the signal informs the brain in order for us to stop eating.
There is a downside to this; the signal takes about 20 minutes to reach the brain! So what happens is most people are full but because the message did not reach the brain to let us know that we are full we keep eating and we end up eating more food that we need which means eating more calories that we need.
That’s why is important to chew our food well
That’s why is important to chew our food well and take our time, every big meal I am not talking about snacks now should be enjoyed and be more than 20 minutes in length. Why is that? Well, let’s do an example, let’s say you eat fried chicken. If you eat 400 grams of chicken in less than 20 minutes you are full, but the signal did not reach the brain it needs another 10 minutes, so for the rest 10 minutes, you can gulp down another 400grams of fried chicken, calories that you don’t need.
Now if you eat the 400 grams of fried chicken in 30 minutes then you won’t eat more chicken because the signal already arrived in the brain and let you know that you are full so those extra 400grams and unnecessary calories are not in your body anymore.
Now that’s one thing to have in mind about weight loss, eat slow and chew your food, make it a habit of eating your food more than 20 minutes.
Another thing that will help you with weight loss is that plant-based foods are bulkier than nonplant foods.
Let’s use the same example as before, if you eat 400 grams of chicken, then you be full, but you will have eaten about 1000 calories! Now if you ate 400 grams of boiled potatoes then you will also be full, but you will only get about 350 calories!
Plant-based food is not calorie dense, making it a perfect way to lose weight without feeling hungry all the time. Also, you can eat to your heart content and never worry that you gain weight because with plant-based food the more food you eat, the fewer calories you consume! Animal-based food, on the other hand, you get less food but with more calories.
Of course the axiom if you eat more calories than you burn you will gain weight it is true, lets not forget that.
If you are a smoker then drinking natural fruit and vegetable juices
If you are a smoker then drinking natural fruit and vegetable juices will help you quit smoking. Ask yourself this, do you want to smoke after having an orange juice? Think about that.
Fruits and vegetables have a lot of vitamin C; vitamin C makes our urine PH acid, so the body takes the nicotine from the smoker’s bloodstream and throws it into the urine to bring the PH back to its normal levels. (Nicotine is an alkaloid). By eating fruits and vegetables and plant-based foods will help you eliminate the nicotine from your body faster thus reducing the period of withdrawal symptoms.
Providing, of course, you stop smoking cigs or using any other method of introducing nicotine into your body again like nicotine patches, gum, inhaler, chewing tobacco leaves, vapers or hookahs.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I urge you to read some more of my articles here so you can get an idea of who I am and what I am talking about. Also, I invite you to visit and register to the site of Dr. Michael Greger’s nutritionfacts.org I am sure it will change your life completely.
If you can buy his recent book How not to Die you be placing your self’s ahead of the game nutritionally wise.