Why I'm Not a Vegan - A Story of Intuitive Eating
It’s interesting how many people assume I am a vegetarian or vegan based purely on my being a Certified Nutritional Practitioner.
While in nutrition school I became my own science experiment and put myself through a number of therapeutic diets to see how they would impact my health. I’m sure my metabolism had never been more confused! One of the biggest eye openers for me was trying vegan for a week. Even with my diet well balanced with plant based proteins, nourishing fats and an abundance of colorful veggies; I felt miserable. I was ridiculously gassy, bloated and my energy continued to drop as the week went on. All I wanted was a giant organic grass-fed burger (I’m pretty sure I had dreams about it).
How this shaped me...
I didn’t realize it at the time but this experiment would actually shape my long term ideas of food. It nudged me in the direction of ancestral eating, nourishing traditions and tradition over trendy. I shied away from juice cleanses and leaned into bone broths and fermented foods. I also realized how important it was to truly listen to your body and be flexible about giving it what it needs rather allowing the brain to restrict ourselves in to one specific way of eating. Someone used the term ‘flexitarian’ to me recently and I immediately loved it.
'' I realized how important it was to
truly listen to your body and be flexible
about giving it what it truly needs...'
The truth is; you can be a healthy eater as an omnivore (person who eats plants and animals) or 100% plant based, but extremely unhealthy with either as well. Our eating classifications do not guarantee us good health, but our food quality (animals or plants) affects us considerably.
Healthy & Balanced As an Omnivore...
1. Quality over Quantity: The quality of our animal protein matters. There is some pretty solid evidence to back this up. It is shown that pasture raised animals are higher in anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids while factory raised animals are higher in pro-inflammatory Omega 6’s. Personally beyond all the amazing health benefits the quality of the animal’s life is extremely important to me.
2. Portion size: While a steak filling up half the place to a common sight through North America the average woman only needs around 46g of protein (this varies from person to person). Rather than quote a bunch of numbers to you I prefer the palm approach; the meat on your plate should be around the size of your palm.
3. Veggie up! – Just because you eat meat doesn’t mean you can’t load up on nourishing colorful veggies and fruit full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. The fibre in this goodness is also essential for healthy digestion. My goal is to fill half my plate with a rainbow of veggies. Try my Lemon Roasted Cauliflower!
4. Include vegetable proteins – Don’t forget to enjoy the plant based proteins! Beans, lentils, legumes, nuts, seeds, etc! These babies keep you full, satisfied, and your blood sugar balanced and energy up!