October 10, 2020. The two month anniversary of my first appointment with my Registered Dietitian, who I now lovingly refer to a my “Food Parole Officer”. (She is, for the record, smart, good humored, supportive, non judgmental and full of good ideas). (I often wonder why it took me 63 years to hire one – but then I note with some amusement that our country that is 50% obese makes little use of the one science based medical provider that specializes in nutrition). Having bared all from the first two weeks of my journey here https://humorforthehorizontallychallenged.com/2020/08/30/moving-towards-a-plant-based-diet/ and here https://humorforthehorizontallychallenged.com/2020/08/30/moving-towards-a-plant-based-diet/ I thought I’d catch you up on the last six weeks.
Have you heard of the “gut microbiome”? If not, take quick peak at the 12,900,000 result of that term as a Google search and come back. Ok? Good? So you know your gut microbiome is integral to your immune system, weight, digestion, mental health, and probably every other system in your body. What you may not know is what it feels like to dramatically change your gut bacteria buddies by what you eat. I have now come to know and love them as a boisterous, loud, demanding, annoying, cantankerous bunch of terrorists. I mean friends
Within a couple of weeks I noticed my skin “youthened” (we have a word for aging – why not for getting younger?). My arms which long had dry skin had started developing the kinds of sores, marks, and coloration ive always associated with 90 ear old men. Or corpses. The dead kind Disappeared. All of it overnight. “Cool”, I thought. (Actually, it was more like “Holy Shit”!!!)
Likewise, “digestion”. Mine was already great but let’s just say I passed Jamie Lee Curtis on the activa yogurt track and left her standing still. Eat some oatmeal Jamie.
Swelling, bloating, inflammation gone. Almost overnight. Now, mind you, I’ve been crawling towards better health for a decade- quit smoking, diet sodas, took up regular exercise- but nothing compares to feeding your “good” bacteria buddies and starving the rest. If you’d like learn more in an easy approachable medical science based way, I reccomed the book Fiber Fueled https://theplantfedgut.com/book/
This really became apparent to me when I heard my dying sugar eating bacteria, say, in their best “Mr Bill voice” (for you missing this SNL reference see here https://youtu.be/ZgpEVzCUr3s) ….”Oh noooooo, we’re dying … need a doughnut, some cake, something…..oh noooooo. I felt a little sad for them really. Now I’m not “on a diet” so I’m not restricting myself from anything but these “good bacteria” are pretty sneaky in that they change your appetite, cravings, and desires. In 8 weeks, I’ve given them half a yellow cake with chocolate icing and 4 Apple fritters. I’m no monster. But they’re still crying.
Here’s the “icing on the cake”. Ok, maybe the nutritional yeast on the veggie burger. After a lifetime of being the poster child for “not a morning person”, I’m waking up earlier it’s more energy and less a desire to go back to sleep. I’m amazed
While on the one hand I’ve spent hours reading vegetarian vegan recipes, shopping for Asian and Indian spices and condiments, rearranging my pantry I’ve been surprised how much I’ve loved the veggie curries and stir fries I’ve learned to make. Like the one pan “basmati ice chickpea, cauliflower, spinach, green curry” casserole dump pictured above. I now consider myself a meat eater who identifies as a vegetarian. Think of it as I’m wearing the make up and clothes but am not getting the surgery.
There are some serious downsides. The good bacteria don’t like weekend binge drinking. Or French fries. Or tequila. We’re negotiating.