science

Am I risking my health by eating 80/20?

I've been plant based for a year now! Time has flown. To revisit what eating 80/20 looks like for me you can head here or here. I decided it was time to my measure my health. I feel great, but I wanted to be responsible and do a real check-in. #SELFLOVE! I still eat meat and dairy, but not everyday so I felt it was best to look at the test results as if I was vegan. What are the risks? If you are eating a true vegan diet you may be deficient in vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and zinc. It was time to check the numbers and see if my health was at risk. I went to my doctor and asked for the full buffet of tests. Here are my results:

Vitamin B12- On the higher end of the normal range.

Calcium- Smack dab in the middle of the normal range. 

Iron- At about the middle of the normal range. 

Zinc- On the low end of the normal range. 

And lastly, since there are a lot of people who think that plant-based protein is hard to come by and will not do the trick... my protein level is normal! 

Now that we have cleared the risks, it's time for the magic. What are the benefits of eating plant based? Eating less animal products will improve your...

  1. Cholesterol. Sorry to brag, but my total cholesterol is 126. Normal range is less than 200. Boo-yah!  
  2. Blood Pressure. How low can you go? I cannot limbo, but I do have super low (but healthy) blood pressure. Normal range is 120/80-140/90 and mine is 129/82!!!
  3. BMI. It's not a guarantee that eating less animal products will help you lose weight, but if you switch out big macs for veggies/beans/whole grains, then yes your weight should decrease. My BMI was not abnormal before I became plant based, but it has helped me maintain. It's currently 23.7 which is in the normal range. Yahooo! 

TIME TO CELEBRATE! I am relieved to hear that I am officially in good health. When was your last full physical? Treat yourself to some tests. You deserve to feel happy, healthy, and energetic! 

If you are ready to eat more plants, then I'm ready to support you! Jump in now or subscribe for later. My newsletters have rad gifs.  

*Full disclaimer: I am not a licensed medical specialist. This is my personal experience, not a recommendation written by a health professional. 

 

The problem with Meatless Mondays

When something good is problematic… 

A woman who I know to be smart and compassionate laughed at the idea of participating in Meatless Monday. It made me depressed. It was a reminder that many people do not understand that consuming animal products negatively affects the environment and it is within their power to make a difference. Does it require some effort? Yes. Will it be harder than getting a high school diploma or taking care of a child? No.

Unfortunately, I don’t think it matters if she participates in Meatless Mondays. 

Did you know that your body is home to many microscopic organisms? They are separate from you, but “you” wouldn’t be “you” without them. This is the human microbiome. Visualize little organisms with tiny hats and briefcases on their way to work on the surface of your skin. Once they reach their place of employment, they will positively and negatively affect how your body functions. Now zoom out! Keep going. Pretend you are watching a show on National Geographic. Once you are in space with a beautiful view of the earth stop!  

The earth is home to 7 billion people. Think of humans as the little organisms living on the surface of the earth. We wear our hats and carry our briefcases to work. Some of us negatively impact the health of the earth and some of us positively impact the health of the earth. Most of us do both. When the earth is sick, it affects the tiny humans (droughts, flooding, rising temperatures), but together the tiny humans can make the earth healthier. 

When you choose to eat less meat you are responsible for positively impacting the earth. 

Abstaining from eating meat on Mondays will not move the needle. Impactful action requires effort. As someone living in a country and a time obsessed with “hacking” everything, I am concerned that people who participate in Meatless Mondays will think that they are part of the solution to climate change instead of being part of the problem. If you have started to take this viewpoint personally then zoom out! This is not about you. It is about all of us currently living on the earth and those of us who haven’t even been born yet.

Meet Harry. When Harry participates in Meatless Mondays he is abstaining from eating meat three times that day. If he typically eats meat three times a day, then he is still eating meat at 86% of his meals. This is not helping the environment. 

Meet Selena. When Selena participates in Meatless Mondays she is abstaining from eating meat two times that day. If she typically eats meat two times a day, then she is eating meat at 57% of her meals. This is better than Harry’s habits (he is not a bad person, but a person with harmful habits), but by adding new recipes to her rotation she could easily become a part of the solution. What if she only ate meat once a day

She would have a strong positive impact on the environment because this habit would cause a chain reaction. The meat producers would see a drop in sales then produce less meat. The odds that Meatless Mondays will help decrease consumer demand for meat are unlikely. Improvement of regular habits will help the environment. If you eat meat twice a day, then eating it once a day will help. If you eat meat three times a day, then eating it twice a day will help. 

We take a lot from the environment. This planet deserves our regular consideration-not just a light celebration one day in April. 

I'm here to support you if you are ready to jump in. Sending you and everyone else on the planet my plant-based love. 

Happy Earth Day. 
 

Science Review: Are Organic Foods Healthier?

Michael Greger, MD has a full-time job during the day, but at night he reviews medical studies and creates videos to help explain his findings to those of us who do not have medical backgrounds on his site NutritionalFacts.org. Here's one video where he discusses the facts around organic vs. "conventional" food based on the current research available to the public. My takeaway was that eating more plants in general is helpful for optimal health. If you can afford organic it may help you avoid cancer, but that's not a definite. Watch it and decide if you hear something else in his analysis. What's important is that you are knowledgeable about what you put into your body. Wishing you the best of health!