After researching these last few months what the WFPB (Whole Food Plant Based) diet is all about, I have decided this would be my next diet/lifestyle trial for the next 3 months starting today Monday 30th Sept 2019.
I have read The China Study, and Whole by T.Colin Campbell over these last few months, and been trying WFPB recipes and foods, and investigating new grains and produce to use to see if I can make it interesting enough to stick too, and I do think the answer is yes. And I am looking forward to it now too.
I always suffer with high cholesterol, probably because I love my meat, fish and dairy. And it shot up when I trialled the Keto Diet too last year, and never came down. Sometimes its off the chart, and my reader just says 'H' which means its higher that it monitors! Whoops! Now, I have read all the information and books written by those who say high cholesterol isn't actually an problem, and that its fake news started by Ancel Keys hypothesis in 1956. From where stems most peoples belief that high cholesterol causes heart disease. Now, the likes of Dr Eric Berg and Dr Jason Fung (who wrote the fabulous book The Obesity Guide) do have good arguments that this is no longer the case.
But on reading The China Study by yet another educated and experienced individual, does throw a curve ball on these arguments and opinions. And as I always like to put my money where my mouth is, I thought I needed to test the WFPB diet out and see what its all about.
All the statistics on how it can slow down and even reverse heart disease have pulled me in. As well as also prevent cancers, and many sources also repeatedly claiming the diet can can also shrink cancer growths, and some have claimed it to have totally gone. As well as reversing blood pressure issues and cholesterol issue and so much more. Some vast and interesting research has been done on this WFPB diet. And its all intriguing.
Now, I don't see this as a 'Vegan' diet/lifestyle. I'm not going to stop wearing leather shoes and start insisting friends and family to follow this lifestyle. I just want to see how I feel and how I look on just plants and whole grains. And if some of my stats improve. And as all my diet trials, try it for myself.
I recently had my Insurance check over which always check my stats, and they always don't like my high cholesterol. This time, I did WFPB for 2 weeks on the run up to the test. Beforehand my overall Cholesterol reading was around 11 mmol/l. Ideally it should be 5.2mmol/l and below. My results from the insurance testing after these 2 weeks was 5.5 mmol/l!!! In only 2 weeks it changed this dramatically. And Insurance company was happy. And I felt happy. This helped me decide to trial this diet/lifestyle. Incidentally, after going back to eating meat and dairy etc after these 2 weeks resulted in it shooting back up again.
I also have had issues in the past with my kidney test readings. My GFR test sits at about 49 ml/min, and this should be 90ml/min and over.
This was of great concern for my GP who said I had the kidneys of an 80 year old (she was wrong), but the specialist pointed out that this often the case that body builders have these low kidneys readings. It could be caused by years of massively high amounts of meat proteins eaten, and readings can be distorted by taking creatine type supplements and protein powders. Although, I didn't share with him that I don't actually take any body building supplementation. I haven't touched pre-workouts, protein powders or creatine for years. To me they are processed fake foods. But I figured I had for many years previous to this, and long term usage or build up, could also have been the reason.
He wasn't overly concerned and thought these would correct themselves by cutting back on the proteins and creatine. And in fact, cancelled my appointment once he found out I was a body builder. Or an athlete as he put it. Shame we didn't meet, I think I would of like him!
I also know of many a body builder pals and acquaintances who has kidney problems from years of being in the sport. And I do believe that huge amounts of protein supplements, meat and fish proteins exhausts the kidneys and over works them (and has been proven and suggested for years), and eventually can damage them. We aren't actually made to eat multiple meals of meat/fish a day. We are made to eat these occasionally when they are hunted. This is my belief anyway. So another reason then for me to give them a break on the WFPB lifestyle. Rest up the kidneys a little!
Plant proteins also have no impact on cholesterol, as they don't contain the fat levels meats do and are easier to digest as they also carry high amounts of fibre, which speeds up and aids digestion, and pack more nutrients in less calories. So also easier to process for the digestive system and the kidneys too.
Some also argue that meat is better as a protein they are a complete protein, however there are some plant foods they are a complete protein such as Quinoa and Buckwheat. So, by eating a good range of plants and whole foods, you can get complete proteins, mixed proteins on top of a whole bunch of fibres, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that don't come quite so packed and diverse in meats, dairy and fish. This is , and was me, talking myself around over the last few months!
Over the years of being on many an extreme diet, I know I have also damaged and slowed down my metabolism. I often explain to people how low calorie diets for long periods of time can permanently damage your metabolism. Making it harder and harder to maintain your weight, and resulting in you eating less and less just to stay where you want to be and not gain weight.
For instance, if I do a long drive to work, do a days classroom training, often sitting, and drive back, getting up at 5am and not getting home until 8pm (this can often happen) I haven't been able to train and have been sat most of the day, the calories I have burnt on my watch is normally around 1500 calories for the whole working day, so this is work active and not quite sedentary. This is all I need to eat on this day so not to gain weight.
If I then do a cardio workout for 40 mins, that'll burn about 300 calories, or a weights workout about 200 calories. So an average work/drive day for me, I only work off 1500 on a no train day, 1700 calories if I go to the gym and do weights, and 2000 calories if I work, do weights and do cardio. I can't eat over these amounts each day based on activity, as the weight piles on. This is due to years of dieting, a damaged metabolism, and of course I'm now no spring chicken, and age will have a natural impact. So my calories have to always stay quite low, even with all the training I still do everyday.
Think about this example - An average woman wants to loose weight 10 lbs in 10 weeks. Loosing 1lb a week 'healthily'. She knows that there are 3500 calories in a 1lb of fat. So she splits this over 7 days. meaning she would have to under eat by 500 calories a day to loose 1lb a week. So, as an average woman (national RDA 2000 calories a day remember), she will need to eat 1500 calories a day to do this. So she starts her diet, religiously sticking to these calories.
**Thought for you - If she continued to eat 1500 calories forever, would she disappear? No, of course not. So what happens?
She looses 1lb a week for the first 4 weeks, then the weight loss starts to slow. Until at 7 - 8 weeks she stops loosing weight.. Shes confused, she has been so good? What has happened?
Well, her body has adjusted itself to survive on 1500 calories. Our bodies is very intelligent and can adapt to exist. That's why us humans are still here, we adapt to survive. It learns a pattern and adjusts itself. Our organs adjusts the speed of which they pump, our body temperature lowers which uses less calories, everything changes to adapt to this new way of functioning on the fuel its being given. This is called slowing down you metabolism. Your 'Basal Metaphoric Rate' (BMR) resets and lowers to survive.
She now gets disheartened, and would either eat even less (encouraging even more bodily adjustments) or starts eating what she thinks is back to normal again. 2000 calories a day. She doesn't want to gain the weight she lost so is good at sticking to her normal 2000 calories a day. BUT...she suddenly starts gaining weight. Putting it back on and some. Sound familiar?
Why? Because her metabolism is slower. She no longer needs 2000 calories. Her body has adjusted to 1500 calories. So now it sees her as over eating by 500 calories a day! And it rarely changes back now its formed this habit. The damage is often done. It might improve slightly, but here begins the yo-yo dieter. Gaining and losing forever, wondering why you always gain weight so easy. Not realising every time you do a long term low calorie diet that adjustment becomes more and more ingrained in your being.
The reason for this example is because WFPB diet has been reported to improve your metabolism. To naturally speed it up. People often report being able to eat many more calories without gaining weight. Due to the high fibre and good nutritional value to all foods you eat. Nothing is processed, all is easily digested. Toilet visits are often more frequent, and (providing you eat a range of good and diverse foods and produce) you gets stacks of nutrients the body needs. Meaning the organs, digestive system and body functions become more efficient again. My toilet trips are always a bone of contention. Although they have improved from my lifelong issues with being regular, there is still room for improvement. Nuff said.
So this is something else I want to monitor. Will I eat more without gaining weight? Will I become more consistent with my toilet visits? I guess we'll wait and see...
I do also intend on doing one or two 24 fasts a week as this as I have said before is for life for me for reasons explained in previous blogs . Incidentally, you can also understand now why fasting is often raved about for dieters, because based on the previous paragraphs, it doesn't damage your metabolism. As you don't eat low calories for a long period of time, just those occasional intermittent days. Not allowing your body to reset and lower its BMR.
And lastly, the other reason for trying this is the amount of professional athletes who are now being trained on WFPB diets with masses of success. Just recently a film has been released about this with none other that Arnold Schwarzenegger in it talking about the benefits of plant based diets. I am yet to see it, but I am looking forward to seeing what it's all about. It's called Game Changers. Keep an eye out for it.
Recently, there are more and more competitive athletes are being moved to WFPB diets by their coaches or by choice, and getting massive gains and/or athletic improvements from doing this. Stronger, faster and muscle mass being grown without masses or meat/fish/dairy proteins or processed supplements. So could this really be the case? Again.. I guess we'll wait and see....
So what am I going to be eating?
Basically whole, unprocessed, unrefined plant based foods. No dairy, no meats, no fish, no eggs, no refined sugars (no packaged bread which are nearly all shop bought, no pastas, cous cous, cakes, sweets, pastries etc). Sugars can be eaten if from whole organic unprocessed grains such as Spelt Flour, Sourdough and Rye. And in the natural forms of honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar,.
I can eat grains - such as Spelt, Oat Groats, Rye, Buckwheat, brown rice, quinoa, barley.
And legumes - all types of beans, peas, lentils. All vegetables and fruits, seeds and nuts, spices and water, honey, maple syrups, plant milks/yogurts, herbal teas, green teas and coffees.
I will be trying a brand new recipes every week, and making new breads, none of my old favourite Almond & Coconut recipes, as they all contain eggs, so new bakes and recipe ideas will regularly be added. Made a great Spelt and Oat loaf today which was lovely with Hazelnut Butter and Banana on top! Delicious and within my boundaries of WFPB.
Here's one to try. I make this great Parsnip and Ginger Soup with Sourdough roll last week -
So, whats my starting stats?
This morning my body stats were as follows -
Weight - 69.5 Kgs / 154lbs / 10st 10lbs
Muscle Mass 49 Kgs
Water - 54% (Good)
Visceral Fat - 5 (Excellent)
Body Fat % - 26.5 (Normal)
Fasted Blood Sugar - 5.7 mmol/l (Good)
Blood Pressure - 118/72 (Good)
Total Cholesterol - 9.16 mmol/l (High - My machine only takes total and doesn't split HDL/LDL)
So overall, all pretty healthy to start, apart from the cholesterol. My last results from my full body scan done by medical professionals (above are my own home readings), and kidney readings were as follows -
I plan to have all these readings done again by medical professionals again the end of November, 2 months into the WFPB, so I can report back on my final blog the difference, if any of course!
So, the reasons for this is to see -
1. Will my Cholesterol get to an ideal range?
2. Will my Kidney reading improve?
3. Will my metabolism improve?
4. Will there be improvements in my workouts or athletic ability?
5. Can I gain muscle mass on plants and grains?
6. Can I make the food tasty and interesting enough for me to last 3 months?
7. Will my toilet trips improve?
And finally, I know everyone loves a before pic! So these were taken today -
I am not doing this diet/lifestyle for purpose of exterior change. But it's always good to keep a log of all progress, and will be interesting to see what or if anything changes.
Incidentally I was quite happy with these shots for 2 years off competition and 48 years old. Not bad for an old dot! No make up, no filter this morning. I also had this one taken below. Incidentally I was going to scrap it as my wrinkly skin on my belly showed. And then I remembered a conversation with a lovely lady who was competing who messaged me on my FB page, saying she can't shift the saggy skin around her belly. Well, I said nor can I! Its wear and tear and comes with age. Normally careful photography and posing covers it, as you can see above, there's no sign of it, but below there is.. But we are in the real world, and this is just how I am out of show. I am growing to like my bodily wisdom crinkles and stretches!
Food wise, my first day of prepping my WFPB food for this week, is going to be as follows -
Breakfast - Soaked overnight Oat Groats with Apple and Blueberries with a spoonful of soy Greek Yogurt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Lunch - Walnut, Pear and Avocado Salad. Salad was shredded white and red cabbage, onion, fennel and radishes. In a dressing made of almond yogurt, seeded mustard and apple cider vinegar.
Dinner - Jamie Oliver's recipe for Indian Potato burgers with mint yogurt and pomegranates. With a 'Terri' recipe of stir fried chickpeas and spelt, with turmeric, paprika, garlic, ginger, kale and spinach.
When I prep food I generally prep it for the week as I find it easier for one person. And I am SO looking forward to eating all this again tomorrow.! It was all delicious, if I do say so myself!
Well, there it is. The beginning. I hope you've enjoyed this blog. And will catch up with me again when I am due to finish which will be Christmas Eve! Will I stick to it or will it be a forever choice? Who knows! I'm looking forward to finding out!
Thanks for reading! Catch you soon! Terri xx
If you enjoyed this diet blog so far, please have a read of some of my other diet blogs by clicking on these links -
Intermittent Fasting Part 1
Intermittent Fasting Part 2
My Ketosis Journey Part 1
My Ketosis Journey Part 2
My Ketosis Journey Part 3
My Ketosis Journey Part 4
My Ketosis Journey Part 5
My Ketosis Journey Part 6
Update Keto Conclusion Part 7
Five Day Extended Fast
Can I Reverse Diabetes T2 with Keto and Fasting?
The Prebiotic and Probiotics Diet