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Wed, Feb. 19

Flores: Plant-based diet will improve your health

Britt Flores. (Courtesy)

Britt Flores. (Courtesy)

Last year I made the decision to listen to my doctors and slowly transfer from a very strict, Paleo, “meat-heavy” diet to a plant-based “Vegan” diet.

The reasons for my change weren’t political - the reasons were justified by my damaged gut issues due to being diagnosed with Celiac at a 30 and the news that I had entered perimenopause at the age of 41.

After numerous trips to the Urgent Care and ER for fibroid cysts that had grown to the size of softballs, causing the same pain as misdiagnosed kidney stones, my physicians suggested I cut out any and all foreign, nonhuman hormones from my body, hence the suggestion to adopt a plant-based diet.

I was not happy. Being already relegated to a very stringent gluten-free diet, I found myself resentful of the idea that I would have to give up yet more foods I enjoyed just to live a normal existence. I wrestled with the idea for a few days and discussed (whined about it) with my husband. Truthfully, after we weighed both sides, the positive possible outcomes of adopting a plant-based diet outweighed me staying on my stubborn path.

After two months on a plant-based diet, here’s what I’ve learned and here’s what I’ve experienced, both positively and negatively and why I would suggest this to anyone.

I no longer have nonstop gas. Ok — I realize it’s hard to talk about THAT part of our gastric existence, but hey — get over it — everyone poops and everyone farts. Those of us with damaged guts tend not to be able to control it as well as others. After years of embarrassing gas, and two weeks of “onboarding” into the plant-based life, I am happy to report less gas, bloating, uncomfortable public situations etc. In short — my IBS continues to improve, week by week.

I have regained lost energy. It turns out, cramming meat into my body every two hours on my strict Paleo diet was taxing my digestive tract and diverting energy to constantly breaking down animal proteins. Without having difficult foods to digest, I find I get better sleep, have more balanced moods and have more daytime energy stores.

I recover from sickness in half the time. So, we caught the norovirus AND the flu, all roughly within the same amount of time. Normally because my immune system is compromised due to the Celiac, I take FOREVER to get over the flu, the common cold, a papercut — this time around, I was sick for a matter of days, not weeks.

I have lost weight. Not drastic weight, but that nagging, “age-specific” six pounds that’s been keeping me out of my “happy jeans” — well, it’s gone. Also gone is the desire to weigh myself every day. I’m in a better mood, and know what I eat can’t possibly put weight on me or hurt my gut, so my obsession over my weight has disappeared. I’m not sure how much weight I’ve lost, but I can tell by the way I fit into my clothes again, that it’s been healthy transition.

Eating out is hard without planning. Ok — so not really a negative, but a consideration for those thinking about a dietary change like this. I plan my food intake and make sure I have enough whole foods to make healthy meals. You can be unhealthy on a plant-based or Vegan diet so it’s important to do a lot of research, follow plant-based nutritionists on Instagram, read a lot of articles and make sure your supplement intake is on point. Vegan-trash foods are just as hard on your body as eating nitrate-rich breakfast sausage.

In conclusion, I continue to get stronger, have better sleep, have less brain-fog, have less cravings have more balanced moods AND I’ve lost at least a jean size. All in all, I would suggest incorporating Vegan meals into anyone’s daily regime. It will improve your health!

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