Today is Day 7 of my plant based diet. And I’m done with it.
I know that will come as a shock…me quitting an eating plan and all…feel free to flame me in the comments. I don’t mind. I have my reasons.
Here they are:
1. The Forks Over Knives bubble has burst:
A thoughtful commenter brought my attention to a really excellent article: Denise Minger’s analysis of the science behind Forks Over Knives….the movie that got me interested in giving up animal-based protein in the first place. (Aside: Denise is such a great writer. I wonder how long it took her to research and compose this article.) I won’t go into a ton of detail – you can read the article if you wanna – but I will say that a LOT of information was omitted from the movie, like the entire context of a lot of the studies that were presented as evidence that healthy living starts and ends with plants. For example, the diets that folks were put on which led to great before/after stories were not just free of meat and dairy – they were free of all processed food and fat too. Confounding variables, anyone? Also, massive conclusions about cause were drawn based on correlational data (and not very good correlational data at that). The original science was good but the reporting on it was terrible and completely misleading. It’s like a group of militant picket-waving PETA members got together and decided their slaughterhouse horror movies weren’t doing the trick so they better try a new angle – hey I know! Let’s find some really good science on nutrition and get a couple of doctors [i.e., not scientists] to interpret it for us using their own personal bias! We’ll just have to hold the camera steady.
Too bad, because it was an entertaining film.
2. My tic has returned.
I know this is going to sound a little weird – I’ve never told the internet about my weird tic. For years I have had this odd motor behavior, probably best described as a tic. It’s something I’m able to control enough that I don’t do it around other people in any obvious way, but basically it involves my wrists. When the urge hits to engage in this tic, my wrists absolutely must be stretched or straightened out or shaken vigorously, or I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s a little like OCD but just for this one very specific behavior. It gets worse when I’m under stress – like, when I had that horrible job in California, it was all the time and my wrists became sore. I haven’t noticed the tic at all for many months…until 2 days ago. Nothing in my life has changed except my diet. I don’t know for sure that I can blame the diet, but as soon as I felt that old familiar, obnoxious urge, I started wondering if there’s some amino acid or micronutrient that I’m not getting since I stopped with the meat/dairy. I guess it could be a complete coincidence. Having worked with people that have Tourette’s though, I can tell you for sure that tics have a basis in neurological processes and are affected by things that affect the brain and the neurotransmitters. They’re not just weirdness or mental illness – there’s something going on biochemically. It’ll be interesting to see if going back to eating meat/dairy makes it go away again.
3. Doing no harm (to myself).
One thing I learned about eating a plant-based diet is that it’s REALLY hard to eat a balanced diet with enough protein and a good array of micronutrients. I think it’s possible to research the food combinations that MUST be included and in what quantities and frequencies in order to have a nutritionally balanced diet and to avoid the many processed vegan foods out there that contain things that are downright dangerous, like soy and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
I like animals just fine, but am I going to be the first in line at the PETA rally? No. It’s just not a cause that happens to touch me emotionally. One would need to be fully committed to this way of life in order to have it be healthy – and even then it’s questionable. I’m just not that committed.
After eating starches I get heartburn. Not always, but enough that there’s a definite correlation. I haven’t had heartburn in so long because my starch consumption has been really low for about 2 years. And it’s been back for…oh, about a week.
5. Gut flora
I don’t really want all of my meat-lovin’ gut flora to go away and be replaced by exclusively plant-lovin’ flora, especially since I don’t feel committed to doing this for life.
6. I don’t really like it.
Vegan food is probably satisfying – again, if you’re that gal researching, planning, shopping, and cooking and lovin’ every minute of it. But otherwise I find myself eating potatoes for dinner. An apple and an orange for breakfast. It’s like side dish hell. I know this is just my preference, and honestly of all the above reasons for abandoning ship, this is the least important. I do believe it’s important though to like what you eat. This is just meh.
So there you have it.
And now, I’m going to go eat some cheese.