Monday, August 31, 2015

Leaving Veganism Behind

It's been 8 weeks since I transitioned from a high-carb vegan diet to a low-carb pescatarian diet and there's definitely been some changes. The biggest differences have been in my skin and hair. The eczema is still present but it has calmed down, however a lot of people have said that I have more color in my face. Hub and Mom said that I looked like a pale vegetarian and since changing my diet my face looks much healthier. I'm thinking this was down to my iron levels. First I should say that I'm a carrier of this genetic disorder called thalassemia, which makes me mildly anemic. So cutting out all animal products probably didn't do wonders for my iron coupled with the fact that I was shit about eating dark leafy greens like spinach, which are rich vegan iron sources. Hence my former blanched complexion. Who knew, hey?

march on a vegan diet
today on pescatarin diet (same room, same light)

My hair has really changed since I started eating fish and eggs daily. When I transitioned into eating more of a vegan diet, I didn't notice any of the changes in my hair. It seemed healthy to me if anything maybe a little dry. I could get away with not shampooing for a like a week, which I thought was convenient. Since July my hair has become much thicker and shinier and feels so different. Also after two days it becomes oily and needs a wash. Before my hair used to grow so slow, but now it's going through a growth spurt. This article explains the importance of dietary protein in healthy hair and how animal proteins are more easily absorbed by the body. As a wannabe vegan I was fully aware of how little protein I ate. I wasn't keen on the vegan sources available here in Rio and beans are one of most important sources of protein in a vegan diet, but I can't love them as a staple food.

My weight hasn't really changed but I've become more lean, especially around my belly. I'm not sure if I've lost body fat, but I do think I've lost excess water weight. What I've discovered in my low-carb research is that you lose water weight when you cut out starches and sugars and it's kind of awesome. The only thing I need to work on is upping my water intake in lieu of this.

march on a vegan diet
july 13th two weeks in on low-carb

Has it been easy? No, especially when I'm at work and have easy access to french fries, fresh baked sourdough bread and butter chocolate cookies. So yes, there have been moments where I've strayed from my healthy eating plan and I hate it when that happens. I am, however, becoming more aware of just how insulin resistant I am. I'm working through those uncomfortable moments where I just have to keep telling myself "no, Lisa" and I'm checking my blood sugar after every meal, which is really helpful.

It's been interesting reading up on the literature that supports low-carb lifestyle for treating Type 2 diabetes and it's gotten me to question my brief dip into veganism. I've taken comfort in the fact that I'm not alone in the mistakes I've made with my health. And it's about the journey, not the destination right? I look forward to sharing my thoughts and confusion with you all.


(Salad above is my current lunch favorite - 1/2 canned tuna in oil (dolphin-safe/friend of the sea), 2 cups lettuce, 1 cup celery leaves, 1/2 red bell pepper, 1/2 cup of raw walnuts, 1 cup cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar. SEriously yum.)
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