.Sometimes the timing of things in life is so ironic, you just have to laugh. Its only been a few weeks since I resurrected my blog and feverishly began testing out new recipes, photographing and posting them. I've been on a Paleo diet for the better part of close to 5 years and have lived on meat and veggies to stay lean and healthy....or so I thought.
One night a few weeks ago, my mother told me she was starting a new diet. My beautiful mother was diagnosed with breast cancer over 7 years ago. She had a mastectomy, chemo, radiation and all of the terrible side effects that'll make me cry if I begin to list them.
Eighteen months later, she went into remission, her hair grew back and aside from a few scares due to increased tumor marker numbers, she went back to her normal pre-cancer way of life.
Two years ago, after a routine test, she got the call she'd been dreading (but expecting) for half a decade. The cancer was back. This time, it was in her hip bone. After a short stint on oral chemo that left her sick and frail, the Oncologist pulled her off the poison. Her tumor is slow growing and she's been containing it with monthly anti-estrogen shots.
It was President's Day Monday around 9:00 PM when she told me that she came across some studies of people curing their cancer with nutrition. MUSIC TO MY EARS!!!! She learned that eliminating all animal proteins and eating mostly raw fruits and vegetables, beans seeds and nuts, had helped patients of all ages rid themselves of cancer; including brain and organ tumors.
That was all I needed to hear for the science nerd within me to go into research mode. I've spent hours reading and researching the benefits of eliminating animal proteins.
So sold, that I also got on board and so did the rest of the family.
I'm going to chronicle my journey as I transition from a low carb Paleo diet to a higher carb vegan diet.
Here's a confession: The former fitness model in me scared shitless of so many carbs. Its been burned into my brain that the way to stay lean is with low carbs. I know there will be an initial water weight gain from things like beans and possibly (gasp) oatmeal. Gluten free, of course (hey, you can take the girl out of the cave but you can't completely take the cave out of the girl).
Actually, while I'm on that train of thought, I am on a mission of obtaining optimal health, not to be trendy or just not eat meat. So, I will take the Paleo principles of not eating processed foods with me. My family has adopted the mentality of "if it comes from the earth, we will eat it." No "vegan chicken nuggets" or "McDonald's french fries" (bc they are not meat). Aye, aye, aye, the things that people on fad diets do. I digress.
I'm about a week and a half in and I feel great. I wish I thought to blog my experience sooner. To be completely honest, I felt like a complete fraud. I JUST published my healthy, Paleo blog and here I am cutting all the meat out of my life. AND eating beans. Double whammy.
Then, it dawned on me. Why not share the journey with you? The good, the bad and the ugly. I have been Googling everything from "Paleo vs. Vegan," "Weight Gain When Transitioning From Paleo To Vegan," "Low Energy and Vegan," "What Vitamins Do I Need When I Go Vegan" and so on. So many people have shared their experiences and it helped me tremendously. I'd like to return the favor.
To all of my hardcore athletes thinking about making the transition from Paleo to Vegan; here's my experience.
Day 1 & 2:
RAVENOUS! All I wanted was chocolate. I had a couple pieces of 100% raw, unsweetened cocoa with fruit to curb the cravings. Ate tons of veggies (raw and cooked), fruit, nuts and yes, chocolate.
Feeling good. TIRED at night. So bloated. Pretty bad headache at the end of days 4&5. In my head I'm going to gain weight but down 1 lb on the scale.
Cleared to workout and (finally) went back to Cross Fit. Got a headache around lunch. I knew I needed extra carbs so I had a HUGE helping of rice and beans for lunch. Was going to eat a bowl of mixed fruit pre-workout but was WAY too stuffed from lunch. Worst bloating so far. My knees, calves and ankles are huge. Ankles painfully bloated. Up a pound (but my body's normal set-point weight when I'm eating right and working out).
Workout: Torture. Hard to tell if it was from the diet because I've done NOTHING for 2.5 months. Horrible headache at the gym and conditioning is terrible. I swear I need to go back and see where I left half of my right lung. ;-) Exhausted at night and slept like a baby. ZERO cravings. Very full.
No headache but feelign just okay. I can tell I'm still adjusting. Another CF night so I ate a good amount of carbs on lunch (veggie soup with soaked chick peas). Ate an apple and some grapes with cinnamon pre-workout. It was still really tough but still a lot better than the first night.
I made Chickpea Masala for dinner and the entire family loved it.
Exhausted and ready for bed by 9:00. Fell asleep at 10. Slept terribly. There were "Wizard of Oz" type winds. Usually I sleep like a rock, through anything but between the noise of the wind and having to go potty, I was up nearly every hour. Is this diet related? Not sure.
SO bloated, I saw rolls in my "cankles" when I bent down for power cleans. Maybe I shouldn't wear capri workout pants this week. haha.
Rosanne is a life coach, has her degree in Sports Medicine, is a former state champ and national level NPC figure competitor. As a foodie & lover of all things health & wellness she is determined to make the world a healthier place by sharing one fit tip at a time. She serves up real, easy to digest advice for real people.