FACT: I like to swear.
FACT: If I could have lunch with Marc Maron I would never complain again in my whole life.
FACT: I’ve never eaten meat in my life.
I’m not abstinent from meat because I’m a raging PETA fanatic (I’m definitely not), but because my mom and dad raised me vegetarian and it just stuck. My thought process about introducing meat into my life has always been in the same category as snorting cocaine, dropping acid and watching Star Wars.
I’ve gone this far without, why start?
(Yup, I’m a Star Wars virgin. If you click out of this website right now, I get it. I’ve met Warsies. It’s serious)
I stopped eating dairy and eggs in 2008. In 2011 I was informed that eggs are not considered dairy.
Fuckin’ who knew? A lot of people apparently. I however, never got that memo.
In 2013 I stopped it with the vegan junk food and started eating ridiculously healthy. One of my best friends made the comment, “Oh my god, you’ve gotten worse” when I told her what I’d been eating and not eating. She didn’t know that it got healthier than eating vegan.
I replied by telling her that Oreos are vegan.
I get asked a lot about my experience going vegan and then what changed when I went mainly Whole-Food Plant-Based. I haven’t really covered this topic, mainly because I think it’s a boring fucking story. It’s bad enough that I’ve never seen Star Wars. I don’t want to be responsible for drool and snoring to come out of your mouth right now too.
But because I’ve been asked so many times, here’s a quick overview.
I’ll make this as un-boring as possible.
The gist of the story is that when I switched from eating dairy (and eggs apparently) to no dairy and no eggs I was shocked at how much better I felt.
My skin cleared up, I lost 7 pounds without doing jack and I remember having moments of pure mental clarity.
Honestly, I didn’t expect to feel any differently by giving up dairy and eggs. I did it as more of an experiment than anything else. By day four I was hooked and I swiftly kicked myself in the ass (which isn’t as easy as it sounds) for not making the switch earlier.
Five years later I decided to start eating as nutrient dense as humanly possible. Except of course when I traveled, drank too much the night before, was raging from eyelash to toenail with PMS, or felt like eating Chinese take-out (usually when I drank too much the night before).
To win at eating more like a rabbit than I ever had before, I simply stopped eating overly processed food, and I was diligent about not making it a big deal in my head.
I didn’t stop buying this stuff because I think it’s evil or bad. I stopped buying this stuff because I wanted to see how I felt when each and every bite I was taking was bursting with nutrients and phytochemicals.
So the majority of my shopping took place in the bulk bin and produce sections, and I made fruits and veggies the core of my diet.
I did keep in a few things that have ingredient labels, like sprouted grain bread, organic corn tortillas, organic tofu and sprouted wheat tortillas (Because I’m convinced that anyone who can go without bread is an alien, and life without tofu would suck. End of discussion).
Now, is eating like this more tedious?
Opening a box of Mac and Cheese or thawing out a burger (vegan or otherwise) is a no brainer compared to relying on whole plant foods for all of your meals.
But here’s the thing.
When I made the switch from convenience to nutrient dense, my sky opened up and it rained hot pink glitter. Here’s why.
I experienced the satisfaction that comes with satiation. And it was the raddest feeling ever.
I also stopped getting sick. Like zero cough, sniffles, flu, cold, you name it. My immune system went Terminator on any germ that even attempted to bring my ass down.
The satiation part was the thing that intrigued me the most though.
And the science behind why this happens isn’t all that complicated. When our cells don’t get the nutrients they need, they send signals to our brain in the form of hunger.
Our body basically makes us hungry in the hopes that we will eat something that’s loaded with nutrients so that our cells can bathe in them. When our cells are bathed in the nutrients they need, they all do their jobs famously.
Think about it this way.
It’s totally possible for us to be so full that we have to unbutton our pants, fart really loud and then face plant directly into a nap, and our cells still didn’t get what they need.
It all comes down to the nutrient density of the food we’re eating. And only when our cells get the nutrients they need will we be satiated and satisfied.
Being truly satiated, as opposed to being full was something I never experienced while eating a vegetarian diet or a regular vegan diet. It was only when I switched to eating mainly unprocessed plant foods did I experience this.
It’s like a really good orgasm that leaves you totally and utterly content and happy. You don’t want more, you don’t want less. You just want to relax into the afterglow and observe life from that mindset. Because life from that mindset is charming, endearing and totally manageable.
And this satisfaction, this contentment, overflows into all other areas of your life and before you know it, before you can say “Chickpea”, you’re dancing naked in your bedroom, C+C Music Factory blaring, just WORKING IT OUT. You’re totally hooked and there’s no going back.
So apart from the occasional threesome with chips and salsa, processed food still stays out of my grocery cart (except for the occasional faux meat fix for Luanne. More on this next week).
I create my meals around fresh fruits and veggies; I eat a shit ton of beans, some whole grains and nuts and seeds. I have one green juice or one green smoothie a day; I make eating leafy greens a priority, and I eat one big raw salad a day. I’ll eat a piece of super dark chocolate from time to time and when I go out to eat (which isn’t often), I do my best.
That said, I’m the first to admit that shit gets funky and my food choices get corrupted, illegal porn virus style when I travel or when I’m going through a personal shit storm. But as soon as I get home from my travels or pull myself together from my storm, I get right back on board the rabbit food caboose.
At the end of the day, eating a diet full of whole plant foods has rewired my entire brain around food, what I eat, how I feel and how I operate in the world. It’s safe to say that I will eat like this for the rest of my life. And for me, “falling off” isn’t a concern because I’m not on anything so how can I fall off?
Okay – was that boring? I hope not, but if you thought it was boring, my peace offering to you is this.
Today’s recipe is tasty as hell, and it will leave you more satisfied than you ever thought beans and rice could.
Whole Food Plant Based Rice and Bean Bowl
Small handful of thinly sliced red onion (more if you’re making several servings or if you love red onions)
1 summer squash, sliced into rounds
Black or pinto beans
Squeeze of lime
- Heat a pan (cast iron if you have it), add the onions and squash and cook for several minutes on medium heat. Season with some salt and pepper and add a little splash of water if veggies start to stick.
- Heat the brown rice and the beans (separately).
- Place the rice in the bottom of a bowl and add the beans, onion/ squash mix, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and then squeeze the whole thing with lime.
I hope you have a wonderful week, may it be filled with sparkly things that make you happy.