The Food Dilemma - Vegan vs Paleo | Your Body vs Environmental Consciousness
I've always considered myself a healthful eater, but a food lover at heart. Growing up my parents exposed us to many flavors, many types of foods, and instilled a love for eating. But they also taught us moderation. Understanding when to treat yourself, and when to practice a little restraint, and they did it so casually I never even realized that they were able to provide me with such a healthy relationship with food until I got a bit older.
That said, I've always been very curious about food, cooking, eating and dieting alike. The way we ate growing up was colorful in as much as bright veggies were always present at every meal, along side a well-rounded plate of some well-prepared protein and sometimes a starch.
So as I ventured off on my own as an adult that was the way I cooked, and still is! But over the past year, I've become more curious and as one friend put it more #dietconfused between the trends that are swirling around out there in the land of internet food.
It started a year ago when I tried Whole30 which I adored. I never had stomach problems but was curious if I'd notice a real difference but cutting out certain foods that could be inflammatories. And what I discovered was that legumes & dairy make me feel heavy and even bloated so for about a year I've avoided eating those things 75% of the time. That meant swapping my daily half & half and Greek yogurt for homemade almond milk and hard boiled eggs. It meant swapping hummus as a snack for roasted little potatoes or shredded chicken. Everything was going pretty well for me, and then earlier this year I watched Before The Flood and decided, for environmental reasons, to cut out red meat. I no longer cook it at home and choose to avoid it almost all the time when out. I do choose to leave myself somewhat flexible though so that if we are at a dinner party or in a situation where it would be really difficult or rude that I just go with it and try to minimize how much I consume. See awesome info graphic below from One Green Planet.
Still, things were going pretty well, and then some weeks back we were at a wedding with friends who had recently gone plant based vegan and convinced us to give it a try.
So I spent a week eating that way, and yes the photos were beautiful, and yes everything was delicious but I found two problems for me physically: 1) I was starving even after big seemingly filling meals 2) bringing legumes back into my diet just doesn't make me feel good.
I don't get terribly sick or have any real stomach issues, but I feel heavy, bloated and lethargic.
So here's where this all brings me: from a physical standpoint eating Whole30/paleo is what feels best for my body HOWEVER environmentally and morally I love the idea of being plant based/vegan. So what's a girl to do?
Well, I think my plan going forward has to be this: Practice sustainable consciousness, choosing fishes and poultry that come from places I know have a focus on the environment. I'll still plan for red meat to be a very occasional thing in my life, and veggies will definitely become even more prominent in my eating - probably choosing to eat a few vegan meals a week to cut down on poultry.
How do you eat? Would LOVE to know!