Earlier this year I changed my eating habits completely.
From one day to the other I decided to leave the tribes of omnivores to become a herbivore.
For those who know me, I always loved to eat meat.
Having an asian background where food is celebrated and meat is typically a significant component of every meal, I never thought I would one day be able to embrace the journey of a plant based diet.
What the hell happened?The Trigger
Around the same time last year, I was kind of struggling emotionally.
I was in a bad mood most of the time and didn’t have much any energy to do anything at all.
I was dealing with too many things at once: getting my own product ready, creating content for my blog, reading loads of personal development books, pushing my social media accounts, redesigning my personal website, etc….and of course my full time job.
All those things added together and I found myself working from 5:00 Am – 23:00 PM most of the time.
I realized that I had to make radical changes at some point.
In February, I quit my job at frog and decided to freelance in order to make more space for my own projects. This was the first step.
The second step involved physical health.
I realized that the mental body cannot sustain without having a healthy physical body supporting it.
James Altucher, quite a successful entrepreneur, made the same observation after losing millions and getting into deep depression. After making drastic changes to his health, he published his learnings in his bestselling book, Choose Yourself.
I’ve always done physical exercises in my life but I was always lacking the nutritional part of the equation.
After quitting my job, I had time to experiment. I watched an interesting documentary on Netflix called Food Choices.
It wasn’t much about the environmental effect that animal farming has like Cowspiracy but rather focused on the health aspect of nutrition. It explained very well how much impact meat consumption has on heart diseases and increased cancer rate.
Of course, statistics should always be looked at with a grain of salt and you will always find studies that will proof the opposite.
However, the studies shown in the documentaries were quite convincing to me and totally changed my perspective so that I decided to make changes to my eating habits. So yeah, I’m perfectly ego driven in this regard, but hey, as a side effect I’m helping to save the world. Bämm!
My daily meal is focused around eating more plant based meals and reducing the amount of processed food.
In other words, more green, more veggies, more fruits, more nuts, more seeds, more legumes, less chocolate, less pizza, less pasta, less prepackaged meals ( not that I did that a lot before anyways).
What positive impacts have I noticed?
I dont want to beat around th bush any longer. Here are the changes I’ve noticed after 9 months.
1. I feel less tired
Over a longer period, I’ve noticed that I feel less tired than before. Especially after lunchtime.
I am sure that most people can confirm. If you have a huge steak for lunch you will feel tired very soon after. It’s hard to focus at work because you feel sleepy. That’s because your body pumps all the blood into your stomach to break down the food. And the more resistant the food is, the more energy it takes. A plant based meal is easier for your body to digest and has a positive impact on your energy level.
2. I feel lighter
This goes along with the previous point. If a meal is easier to digest for your body, it can get rid of toxic waste more quickly. In other words: you will run to the toilet more often. At first, it was strange for me but I learned that it’s healthy for my body to get rid of things quickly instead of keeping the toxic inside and causing congestion.
3. I feel like I lost weight
This one is of course totally subjective and I have no data for proof. Maybe it’s also a placebo because of the previous point. However, since I drastically reduced the consumption of oil and sugar, I’m totally confident that I lost a couple of kg’s. When I visited my family in Vietnam in September, my family confirmed that I lost weight compared to last year July. Since I’m not doing much more sports then before, I can only conclude that it’s related to my eating habits.
4. I feel more positive
This is not necessarily tied to a plant based diet only but I’ve noticed how a healthy nutrition definitely helped me to stay more positive throughout the day. Because I feel better and more healthy, I caught myself smiling more. And if I smile more then it impacts directly my environment in a positive way. I found that loads of people reciprocate positivity by simply smiling back. Especially in a coffeeshop or restaurant a positive attitude increases the chances to get better service. Sometimes.
What about the downsides?
Ok I wouldn’t necessarily call them downsides, but rather side effects I’ve observed after switching to a plant based diet.
I spent more money
Especially organic food can be very costly and many times I found myself paying almost 20€ for a piece of tofu and some veggies when shopping at Basics or Allnatura. Some ingredients such as grilled tofu, Tempeh or other vegan stuff are just not available in mainstream supermarkets and therefore quite expensive.
Sometimes it’s hard to go out with others
If you decide to go on this journey, you cannot expect everyone to go along with you. I cannot expect my friends to have vegan food when eating out. This makes it sometimes hard for me to decide on a place that caters for all. However, many place have at least vegetarian options which is totally fine with me. And sometimes I even make exceptions which brings me to my next point…
I can’t be consistent 100% of the time…
..n.or do I particularly care to be. Because I switch from 0 to 100 from one day to the other I sometimes got cravings for a good steak or just a juicy burger. I was a heavy meat eater for the first 30 years of my life and these habits cannot just be suppress in a blink of an eye. My personal rule is to eat plant based 90 – 95% of the time and make exceptions when there is no other choice. I believe that if I’m not frantically trying to fight my body, I will be more successful creating long lasting habits.
Should you embrace a plant based diet?
I’m not trying to convince anyone to become vegan. Absolutely not, because I ‘am very early on this journey myself and cannot really tell how sustainable this lifestyle is. Especially if you travel to a lot of countries with different food cultures.
However, it can never hurt to educate yourself at least a little bit about this topic in order to be able to make better choices.
For me, the change was welcoming and I observed more positive impacts over all.
Now the question is, should YOU do the same?
Personally, I believe that everyone should at least give it a try for 30 days and reduce meat and dairy products.
If you feel a positive change, continue. If not, go back to your old habits. The more important thing is to stay openminded and try new things once in a while to stay on top of the game.
In the end, your health is depending on it. Understanding that your health will ultimately determine how successful you become should be enough of a motivation.
Because your mental body depends on your physical body to function. In the same way as a car needs the right fuel to perform at its max.
The documentaries mentioned above are a good start. If you don’t have Netflix, I did the heavy lifting for you already: