Here’s a visual of what a Sunday trip to Reasor’s (the local grocery store in Tahlequah) now yields for my counter top space. The other veggies, apples, berries, vegetable juice, citrus, and almond milk are refrigerated. The processed food in the basket this? Plain Cheerios. The bananas are not mine.
July 2, 2020 was the day I started eating mostly plant-based foods. “Mostly” means I make a few isolated exceptions when it feels right – birthdays, times with extended family or if I’m in a situation or cultural context when it would be weird/rude to say no. And a few times, I just wanted it. So, I ate it.
I have not kept a food journal but my best guess is that I have consumed meat/dairy way less than 1% of my total food for the past 8 months. When I have strayed, it does taste really good to me and I get momentary satisfaction. I am not one of these (almost) vegans that is grossed out by meat. I totally still love a ribeye. But the few times I have consumed meat/dairy since July, I’ve felt really crappy or at best “meh” afterwards. It might be psychosomatic, but I don’t think so. Especially with the dairy.
I’ve kept a list of positive health outcomes to share with you and to re-read myself. Here’s a timeline for how long it takes to see a difference in the body after starting mostly plant-based eating.
Week 1 and 2: It was hard. The cravings and just the different thought process. The planning was tough. By the end of two weeks, I could tell that my taste buds were changing and “coming alive” or awakening. Hard to explain, but real.
Week 3: The first noticeable physical change was shocking. It was the skin. It looked very noticeably healthier. Other people noticed this. Any blotchiness was gone and the puffiness in my face was going away. It was better than a pricey facial. This was pretty shocking, and unexpected, but cool. It was the first hint that my body was really responding favorably to getting fed better.
Week 6: The first notable health number? Blood pressure. When I got the scary cholesterol wake up call, my blood pressure was not far behind. It was 145 over 91. Not enough to go on meds, but certainly trending in that direction. At the beginning of week 6, my blood pressure had leveled off at a consistent number in the low 120s over the mid-70s. I think the drastic reduction in blood pressure is attributable to a substantial decline in sodium intake when you take meat away. That was a fast fix!
Week 7: The first major weight milestone came at the end of 7 weeks. 10 pounds gone in the first 7 weeks.
Week 19: The first cholesterol lab results were remarkable. Total cholesterol number dropped over 60 points with no drugs. Just food. This was the single most important milestone. My entire plant-based experiment was a “last chance” before going on statins (like both of my parents). More detail on the cholesterol scare here.
At 8 months: Blood pressure 102/70. Total weight loss 24 pounds.
This is the blood pressure chart for a point of reference. I check my BP several times a week because it’s the first time in my life that I want to make sure it’s not too low. That’s a remarkable place to be, given that I have a multi-generational family history of folks being on blood pressure meds, too.
Spring has now sprung and it’s time to start getting really serious about several running events on the calendar for the rest of 2021. Health-wise, it’s a great start.
Wishing you the very best. There’s a reason that cultures and religions all over the globe make a point of March 21 or there abouts.