So, you're thinking about going plant-based series. Episode 1: Cold Turkey Turmoil.

This series of posts will be about my journey from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to a Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) diet. It is also a series on do as I say, not as I do. Or rather, don't do the same dumb stuff I did because I simply didn't know any better! It's my hope that this series will help you on your path, as well as give you a chuckle at my expense. Let's jump in!


I'll Just Go Cold Turkey!

A noble sentiment, to be sure, but it's much harder than I thought. I've never met a burger that I refused to bite, a chicken tender I wouldn't taste, a pork chop I'd fail to chomp. So, what made me decide to give up these delectable meaty treats?

The precious little girl in the cheeseburger hat. I might add that only those that finish a 1lb cheeseburger in the time limit may pose with that hat. No, it was me that took it down, plus a milkshake, onion rings, half of my mom's burger, and maybe a couple of spoonfuls of the Chicken's (the little one's nickname since birth) ice cream! So, that's it, me at my heaviest. Size 42 stretchy pants, 302lbs, high blood pressure, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Was that the turning point? Absolutely not! I continued feeding myself crap and setting that example for my daughter until late 2019.

My turning point came when a co-worker told me I should read a book called The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan. While this is not a fitness or plant-based book exactly it led me to the wholesale consumption of many books on the subject later. The most eye-opening being How Not to Die by Gene Stone and Michael Greger. I was hooked. I knew what I had to do, and I had to do it NOW!

So, out the window went all meat, milk, eggs, honey, cheese (sweet mother, I miss cheese). All of it, immediately. What a waste. Then the restocking cost of my kitchen was absolutely dumb. Because, as with most things, I failed to look into cost-effective ways to stock a plant-based kitchen. Also, one reason I started this site. However, that's another post. So, the first mistake of the cold turkey method was not doing enough research to understand that wading in is the best method.

Those Cheat Meals

Seriously, I was sneaking Double Whoppers, chicken tenders, cheese by the pound, and guzzling some milk when I would have a craving flare-up. I'd hide from my family and take down ramen by the square at 2 am like a junkie! I'm not saying that you won't have cravings if you gradually change your diet, but it won't be quite as aggressive. As we change how we eat, so too do our tastebuds change. My mom was a hardcore Diet Dew fiend. However, we were able to get her on the sparkling water for a couple of months. She even got to where she enjoyed the sparkling beverages. However, she snuck and had a taste of the forbidden elixir and found that it was too sickeningly "sweet" to finish. Yay, tastebuds to the rescue!

As you gradually come off of something, your tastebuds will start changing, and you'll give your body enough time to adjust to your new normal. The change is so subtle that you probably won't even notice until you decide you've been off the stuff long enough to treat yourself. Then your body lets you know, real quick, just what it thinks about something.

My Body Wasn't Happy With Me!

I hammered down the first week. There was not a processed or animal product that went into my body. I knew I was going to wield phenomenal cosmic powers in no time! The second week was much the same, and then I hit the wall. I couldn't keep up with my workouts, I was having trouble taking in enough calories (despite being sickeningly full of bulky calorie sparse veggies all the time), and I just wanted to take a nap at my standing desk in the office. What gives? I'm feeding my body the best diet that my meager earnings can buy.

Turns out our bodies are what we continually feed them. So, mine was used to digesting processed garbage that makes up the SAD. So, when I start feeding it WFPB stuff, my gut went into shock. I didn't have the right good bacteria for the job, so my system was constantly in overdrive dealing with all this extra fiber and complex carbs. Plus, I had no idea about B12! You can only get it from animal proteins. Mine seemed to leech out pretty quickly, but I've read that it's not always the case, so give that try if nothing else is going for you. I got on a B12 supplement and most of my tiredness went away.

Drink Water

Like, lots of water. If you're taking in as much fiber as I did when I got started, trust me... you'll want to be downing water like nobody's business. It helps... move things along.

Don't Go Cold Turkey

It's great that you want to start this new way of living, or at least you're thinking about a healthier way of eating. I applaud you, but I also ask that you not just jump in without some research. Look at recipes, books like the ones I mentioned above, other blogs that deal with the same content, grab a podcast or two, and Google everything. I promise you'll be rewarded with a much smoother transition that I was able to fumble my way through. The first step always seems the hardest, but this way at least it may be a bit less daunting!

Stay tuned for more of my plant-based failures this week!

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