5 Diets That Transformed my Life
Over the last several years, I tried a wide variety of diets that challenged my discipline and brought me to a better state of health. I’ve learned that not all diets are forever — or for everyone. The key is listening to your body and giving it what it needs. You have to be honest with yourself and willing to step out of your comfort zone. If you can do this, you have the potential to change your entire existence.
I know some people who only eat hamburgers and french fries and I know some that eat just like me. In both cases the people are generally happy and healthy. However you are eating, time will tell if it truly works for you. Our eating habits are part of our lifestyle, which plays an extraordinary roll in our health (along with genetics).
I will shed some light on 5 diets that I have tried, not to persuade anyone to change their diet, but to unveil what I have discovered from my journey.
S.A.D. (The Standard American Diet)
I grew up eating what my family taught me to eat. My mother was a great cook. My favorite meals that she made were spaghetti, lasagna, and chicken noodle soup. There is a lot to be said about home cooked meals. My great grandfather ate eggs and bacon every morning, and he lived to be 97. When something is cooked with love, it is intrinsically nourishing.
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith (Proverbs 15:17).
That being said, eating three meals a day, and only being guided by what your taste buds tell you could create problems in time. Especially, when you consider that the food we eat today is not the same as our ancestors. Many of our foods are genetically modified, processed, and have many added hormones and chemicals. That is exactly what happened to me, unbeknownst to me.
I had a very severe reaction to this kind of diet at an early age. I am grateful that I did. Many people do not attribute how they feel with what they are eating. I did not either. When I started changing my diet I experienced the world in a completely different way.
As someone who grew up hunting and fishing, I was trained to believe that vegetarians were evil. I actually thought that you had to eat meat in order to survive. I was in for a complete shock that shook the core of my belief system.
It was completely by accident that I stopped eating meat.
During college I began shopping at a co-op called The Community Mercantile. Since I was a youth, I was always fascinated with being ‘green’ and supporting local business. I bought a share and became a part owner of The Merc during my sophomore year.
The meat prices at the co-op were much higher than at the store. I remember buying hamburger and sausage at the supermarket to make some of my mom’s old recipes. I thought nothing about where the food came from. At the co-op, it was obvious that you were paying extra for things to be done the right way.
I would buy yogurt, eggs, blueberries and bread instead. After a few weeks of eating this way, I noticed: “I haven’t eaten meat in 3 days”. I thought to myself, “what would happen if I went a week without eating meat?”. As the days passed by, I was moving my arms and body around feeling how light I was becoming. I became more sensitive to my emotions and to the environment. I realized that I had been desensitized to feel compassion for animals, people, and myself because of the food that I ate my whole life.
While eating vegetarian food, I began to draw the connection between how I eat and how I feel. Giving up meat really wasn’t a challenge for me, but feeling accommodated proved to be a huge obstacle for me. Eating is extremely social. When your eating habits are unique to the group your are in, be prepared to face some criticism.
I lived in a fraternity house my junior year. I was promised vegetarian meals if I stayed there, but in reality, I ate kitchen scraps. I rarely had a vegetarian meal prepared just for me. I had to subsist off of the side dishes around my brother’s meals. It became very frustrating for me to pay the same amount as everyone else and to be left with green bean sandwiches for dinner. . . Excuse me, I just gagged in remembrance. The worst part was that the chef, my so called brothers, and the executive board didn’t see it as an issue.
I finally had to leave the fraternity. Looking back, I am very thankful for this learning lesson. Though, at the time, I was frustrated. I lost almost 40 pounds, my hair was falling out, and my grades were dropping. When I left, I wanted to prove that my loss of health wasn’t because of my diet. I decided to eat a vegan diet and regain my strength and dignity.
While I ate a vegan diet, I experienced the most profound effects to my health. Not eating meat allowed me to overcome my depression and anxiety, but the social stress prevented me from healing all the way. Now that I ate total plant-based food, my stress levels and mood were finally balanced.
When I cut out dairy, my skin finally cleared up and the severe acne that I dealt with my entire life finally disappeared.
I thought I had reached the peak of my physical health, then I discovered something quite profound. There was a group of fanatical health conscious people that promoted a raw vegan lifestyle. I was so intrigued by this diet, since I had never heard of such a thing. I used to think you would die if you didn’t eat meat, and here are people who eat nothing but raw fruits and vegetables. Some of which are athletes and in great shape. There was no question for me, I had to find out for myself.
After only 6 months of eating vegan I decided that raw vegan was the next step in the process. Over several months I transitioned from cooking every meal, to cooking once a day, to never cooking at all. I thought eating vegan and vegetarian with others was tough.
Eating raw vegan has to be the most anti-social diet on earth.
At the same time, while I ate this way, I became the most physically fit I have ever been. I vibrated with the planet. I radiated positivity everywhere I went.
Eating Healthy for The Most Highs
Now that I had found the most extreme diet on Earth, and jumped off of the ledge, I had nowhere to go but down. I was constantly researching and studying myself to find how every herb and plant effected my body. I fasted and experimented with all sorts of eating habits to find the right balance.
Eventually, the great health that I had achieved started to deteriorate. I became adverse to anyone who didn’t share my beliefs. I thought that anything that wasn’t raw and organic was going to ruin me. This is what I call over-health-conscious.
I identified myself by what I ate, rather than who I was. And what I was becoming was an a-hole. . . I had the realization that “we are what we eat” but now I needed to learn how to define myself outside of some diet.
That is why today, I am not a vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or any other label to classify food. I eat healthy for The Most Highs. What I eat is my own business. I am not trying to change the world anymore, or convince everyone that eating plant-based is the best. I let others make their decisions, that is their karma. I just focus on myself. I prepare one fulfilling meal a day and that allows me to do everything that TMHs needs me to do.
“Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man” (Matthew 15:11).
Yeshua says, “its not what goes into you mouth that defiles you, but rather what comes out of your mouth”. I feel bad for all of the times I turned down someones offer to feed me because it didn’t fit my diet. Nowadays, I eat things that are outside my comfort zone just when I know someone made it with love. I go out to restaurants that I know are poor quality just to see someone I care for. For this reason, I choose to eat by myself most of the time. Every once and awhile I get to eat with people that share my same views about healthy lifestyle. This is a great joy of mine. I am willing that one day I will be able to share a healthy meal with a table full of friends and family every day.