Whole Food Plant Based | fourth month

I am 1/2 vegan!
Son

Numbers

I weigh 70.5kg, running/core-training for 15-30 minutes 3-5 times a week. Some stretching (NO, it’s not YOGA).

Typical day of eating

  • Pre-breakfast: 1/2 liter of water
  • Breakfast: oatmeal with berries and/or banana
  • Lunch: wholegrain bread with Mustacado or leftovers from dinner
  • Snack: 1 appel or banana
  • Dinner: maki w/ Spinach Salad or ORFA
  • Snack: nuts

Perception

I’ve learned to make my own maki! This is awesome because everyone here loves maki, and I love getting creative with what I put in there.

I am eating as much as I want but my weight is dropping quite fast. I try to consume more avocados and nuts these days for the high-caloric fat they provide.

The only con to a HCLF vegan diet I found so far is social incompatibility. If I meet friends in a common restaurant it is rather difficult to find something on the menu without animal and/or tons of fat in it.

All Calories Are Equal

Everyone has heard multiple times in their lives that vegatables are healthy, colesterol is bad and how “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, right?

Common sense is though, that it doesn’t really matter what we put into our mouths. Yeah, yeah, if we eat too much we get fat and if we don’t eat enough we starve but besides that: as long as it tastes good it should be OK.

This is weird because we accept that these little pills our doctor has put us on do make a difference to our health. But those 35 tons of food we eat during our lifetimes do not?

A presentation by Dr. Neal Barnard addresses in depth how food-choice is linked to degenerative disease in western societies.

The Paleo Diet

We need to eat like our ancestors of the Paleolithic Period did because this is how we have evolved!
Paleotitian

Seems legit at first glance, doesn’t it? Let’s give it a little more thought. Our ancestors goal, 2.5 million years ago, was to get into their late thirties without starving. Ours is not. We’d rather live into our eighties without degenerative deseases these days.

But let’s just assume it would be a good idea to mimic their behaviour for the sake of argument, shall we? Imagine wandering a Savannah with wood spear and stone knife in hand. You are also equipped with the knowledge of sparking a fire and identifying edible plants. Medical treatment consists of a Shaman dancing and chanting. Would you rather plug berries and dig up roots or hunt animals?

Maybe there has been a drought so no berries to plug and no roots to dig up. Because starving isn’t an option either, you grumpily decide to hunt that gazelle over there. You run after the poor beast until it collapses from heat. This is called Persistence Hunting and works because we can regulate our body temperature by sweating. Gazelles can not. Unfortunately that whole running burns a lot of calories and is quite dangerous (broken ankles, stirred up lions, etc.). If only there had been no drought 🙁

You now loom above a collapsed gazelle. Luckily you got your tools at hand, your body alone is neither capable of carving nor digesting the animal. After you have eaten the roasted meat you sit at the fire, musing about how desperate and bloody that hole endeavour had been.

Considering the risk/reward ratio, hunting must have been a rare and frantic act in the beginning. As our tools and techniques evolved over the centuries, this ratio shifted to the better. The big game-changer had been the invention of agriculture around 11,500 years ago. From then on we had carbohydrates without foraging and animal produce without risk.

This is what a Doctor of Medicine has to say about Paleo:

The human body | Master Of Utilization

Everything you put into your mouth is either carbohydrate (carbs), fat or protein – a macronutrient. Ideally, brains run on carbs (glucose), while muscles run on carbs for high intensity (anaerobic), and fats on low intesity (aerobic) activities. But what if things are less than perfect? Your body will metabolize subpar energy sources in order to function. Even the protein your muscles are built from can be consumed for energy in a starvation-scenario. You can also run on fat alone if the preferred carbohydrates are unavailable. This is called Ketogenesis and smells pretty bad.

“Paleo” is a low-carb, high-protein diet. It works really well for weight loss, because you force your body into an adverse situation, where the preferred energy source (carbs) is scarce. I went down to 10% bodyfat on this kind of diet over two years, vast amounts of sports involved.

Paleo as a lifestyle

If your single goal is weight loss, it might work out for you. For me it didn’t and here is why:

Strain

My body did send a clear message after those two years: stop that, it hurts! I had an inflammation built up in my right shoulder and elbow. Now, eight years later, my shoulder is not back to normal.

Doubt

As mentioned above I no longer believe that we are born to eat diets high in fat and protein. When I look into the mirror I see a primate, not the teeth/claws of a carnivore.

Mood

You’re Not You When You’re Hungry
Snickers

On a low-carb diet I’d been pretty much hungry all the time because my body lacked the carbs to burn comfortably. Again: this works well for weight loss, but it’s not a feel-good lifestyle to me. Even a friend of mine noticed that “I am not the fun guy I used to be.”

Have you experienced a Paleo or low-carb diet yet? How did it work out for you?

Whole Food Plant Based | third month

I want a burger with BEEEF!
Son

Numbers

I weigh 71.8kg while slacking at the beach or city-triping.

Typical day of eating

  • Pre-breakfast: 1/2 liter of water
  • Breakfast: oatmeal with berries and/or banana
  • Lunch: wholegrain bread with Mustacado
  • Snack: 1 appel or banana
  • Dinner: vegan burger/ORFA
  • Snack: nuts

Perception

Denmark is expensive. Luckily, basic foods like rice, pasta, potatoes and vegetables not that much. I had a vegetarien Quiche in Esbjerg. Never before had I this much butter & cream in one single meal though.

Weird thing is, I am losing weight at a decent pace without even trying. I am eating as much as I want, whenever I want. I do not feel deprived of anything without meat, fish and dairy. Quite awesome!

One Rice Fits All

If you’re cooking for several people, like I do on a daily basis, you will want to know dishes that are at least “accepted” by everyone, suitable to prepare in large quantities and storable for several days in the fridge. I think of these as staples and here is my favorite.

  1. cook wholemeal rice (see package for instructions)
  2. heat big pot with a minimum of rape oil
  3. chop up every vegatable you want to get rid of (bell pepper, zucchini, carrots, etc.)
  4. throw vegetables in pot and stir-fry
  5. add some chilli and garlic
  6. deglaze with vinegar
  7. add can of chopped tomatoes in own juice
  8. bring to a boil
  9. add can of cooked kidney beans and/or frozen peas
  10. season with oatcream, kurkuma and paprika-powder
  11. add rice from 1.
  12. add herbs to taste (basil, parsley, etc.) and/or nutritional yeast

You should end up with a big pot of tomato-based vegatable rice, not too dull and not too spicy. This works just as well with pasta and potatoes even. Now is when the magic starts.

My wife is more on the sweet side when it comes to taste. She will drench my ORFA in tomato ketchup.

heinz ketchup
HEINZ Tomato Ketchup

I like my food hot so I will sprinkle sriracha on top of my ORFA.

sriracha
sriracha HOT chilli sauce

My five year old son adapts my brilliant and healthy ORFA to his liking by demanding a ham & cheese sandwich 🙁

sandwich
ham & cheese sandwich

Too bad there is neither ham nor cheese in our fridge. He then grumpily eats the rice only, avoiding the vegetable-bits.

Whole Food Plant Based | second month

Eat your vegetables, they are healthy!
Mom

Numbers

I weigh 72.9kg at light core-training/stretching 10-20 minutes 3-5 times a week.

Typical day of eating

  • Pre-breakfast: 1/2 liter of water
  • Breakfast: chia soaked in soygurt with strawberries and/or banana
  • Lunch: wholegrain bread with various vegan spread + cucumber + tomato
  • Snack: 1 appel or banana
  • Dinner: potatoes/wolegrain pasta/wholegrain rice with vegatables, green salad or zucchini-spaghetty as side dish

Made Hummus and Mustacado which I like much better than the store-bought spread. Growing sprouts in a sprout jar. Homed in on ricemilk to go with my coffee.

Perception

My digestion has improved, partly due to my high intake of filtered water, I guess. I underestimated the amount of food I had to eat to meet my caloric needs at first. No wonder, as fat is 9 calories per gram while carbs are just 4 calories/gram. Once realised, I have fun eating an abundance of diverse and spicy meals.

I will be on vacation in Denmark for two weeks now. Curious how that will work out.

Mustacado

My favorite spread/dip/dressing and all-purpose weapon when something creamy is urgently needed.

  1. cut 1 ripe avocado in half, extract stone and carve flesh out with spoon
  2. add 1 teaspoon of lemonjuice
  3. add garlic to taste (1 clove)
  4. add mustard to taste (1 taplespoon)
  5. mash with fork until desired consistancy is met

This spicy cream sides really well with tomatoes. If you want it extra-creamy you can add flaxseed or olive oil. I usually don’t.

Whole Food Plant Based | first month

I can not eat that. It is too GREEEN!
Son

Numbers

I weigh 73.8kg at light core-training/stretching 10-20 minutes 3-5 times a week.

Typical day of eating

  • Breakfast: 1 banana with wholemeal oats and soymilk
  • Lunch: wholegrain bread with various vegan spread, cucumber, tomato
  • Snack: 1 appel
  • Dinner: potatoes/wolegrain pasta/ wholegrain rice with vegatable, green salad as side dish

Cream cheese is difficult to replace. The buyable vegan spread is either laden with sunflower oil, tastes like cardboard or both. Finding a replacement for the milk in my latte is equally challenging. The various plantmilks either taste weird and/or flock out on contact with coffee.

Perception

This is more fun than I thought it would be! Before, I would concentrate on the animal content while preparing a meal. Vegetables were just accessories of moderate to low importance. They are the meal now, combined with whole food starches.

Bought some vegan cookbooks and tried several meals. Some were great, some good but nothing really disappointing. Best so far: Vegan für Faule (German) – too much refined oil though. Worst: Eat to Live Cookbook – health over taste & convenience.

Found Dr. Greger for solid information on nutrition. Love that guy!

Japanese Spinach Salad

My mother-in-law is Japanese. This made my taste buds adopt a weird mix of German Hausmannskost and asian quisine. My undisputed favorite is this sesame-flavoured salad, often served as side-dish with sushi.

  1. blanch 500 grams of spinach (frozen works well too) and rinse with cold water
  2. roast sesame (2 tablespoons) without oil
  3. put tahini (2 tablespoons) in bowl
  4. add soysauce (4 tablespoons)
  5. add sugar (4 tablespoons)
  6. add vinegar (2 teaspoons) – Mirin if at hand
  7. blend dressing and add squashed spinach from 1. and roasted sesame from 2.
  8. add crumbled Nori (1 sheet)

While not essential, the seaweed with its crunch and mild fishy flavor is what elevates this dish from solid to pure delight. Damn, I’m hungry now!

The Vegan Menace

According to the German Vegetarian Association we had around 10% vegatarians and 1.1% vegans by January 2015. So refusing animal products can safely be considered “not normal”.

But are these vegans a menace to society, as some claim, ready to overthrow economies by force and plunge us all into a dark age of minimalism? Or are they just delusional but harmless individuals fond of yoga?

I will provide intel by gathering vital information from the battlefield of vegan nutrition to aid you in your quest for wisdom. Yes, I am that heroic.