Apr 9, 2020

Day 72 on a Plant-Based Diet

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

The world may be in chaos, but it is still important that we focus on treating ourselves well through healthful living, managing stress, and showing kindness to others. 

That’s why today I thought I would share a little bit of what it was like for me to give up meat and dairy products. 

For the record, I am not pushing anyone else to do so, and I am not judgmental of anyone. It is a great choice for your health, and for the environment, but I’m 37 and just starting, so I don’t have much of a high-horse to sit on. 

The first thing that stands out to me is that it was easier than I thought. As I was adjusting I ate a TON of bread and did plenty of exploring vegan junk food. For me, it was about minimizing any sense of loss or missing out. Also, this is a great time to be plant-based. I was able to get through a 4-course meal at The Melting Pot dairy-free (I was amazed) and I even did a trip to Disneyland and was able to indulge in some truly wonderful meals and treats without stepping out of my rules. It was amazing.

The second thing is that there is a lot of bad food out there still, even on a plant-based diet, and it took a little work to get myself on to a healthy diet. Potato chips, french fries, Oreos, Pop-tarts - I’ve been forgiving with myself, but it has taken a little while for my body to adjust to where those snacks and convenience foods don’t drive my diet. 
The third thing is the health results - I’ve had high blood pressure ever since my preeclampsia. Within 7 weeks of a plant-based diet, my blood pressure reached a normal range without medication for the first time in almost three years, which was a MAJOR victory for myself and my health, and really helped solidify my commitment. 

Another thing it’s important to know about my results is that I’ve been working with a nutritionist/personal trainer that works for the great State of Utah as part of the community outreach program, so it’s totally free for me to see her! She has me on a workout routine of High Impact Interval Training (HIIT) and incorporating specific protein intake after my workout, which I believe is making a great difference. They always say you have to combine diet and exercise for real results right? She has also been measuring my cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and those numbers have been showing consistent improvement - even if I have had a couple of days of pounding Oreos.
Beyond my blood pressure, I have lost 12.5 inches and 5 pounds, as I have been building muscle at the same time I have been losing fat. I think I pretty much look the same, and I’ve got a long way to go, but knowing my body is regulating itself better and that I am lowering my risk for all the health problems associated with obesity (even while still obese) is worth everything. Even in these dark times, taking time to treat our bodies well will make a great difference, however that works for you.