January 18th - Martin Luther King Day - finished THREE MONTHS on WFPB diet!
I have gotten kind of defensive about my diet. I don’t know how to handle it best when I have to eat with others. You have to feel pretty strongly to adhere to such a huge departure from what you have been doing for 57 years. So I guess that makes sense. But I am also thinking about all the times in the past when I have failed to keep going on a diet. I've let a little stress or the expense, or a thoughtless comment, or the comfort of others weaken my resolve. So now, all those past times are coming to the surface again and I am responding to not just what is happening now but what happened throughout my life.
And there are plenty of dissenting votes about the details of this particular diet - not so much the plant based part, not about the processed food part, but about fat - oil. I have not felt immovable about that either. There is a lot of space between no oil and the amount of fat I used to eat. Most of the reasoning for no added oil and no high fat content plants (nuts, avocado, coconut) is based on research that is looking at only one aspect of health. When you consider all aspects of health, some dietary fat is seen as healthful, and I'm not just talking the tiny bit that shows up naturally in plants like grains. If we are not getting it from meat and dairy in ultra high amounts, is a little avocado or some nuts going to do us in?
Right now, as I still have so much fat on my body that I am in a sense, eating, I don't need it from any outside source, but once I reach my goal, which my body will decide about on its own, then I think I will need some dietary fat.
I am a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, joining when I was a month from my 17th birthday. From the day I had my first missionary discussion, I stopped a number of behaviors cold turkey. It was like, all I needed to know was there were good reasons to do so, and I just immediately made the changes. And I never looked back. I felt no inner resistance. I haven't missed the things I gave up. At least not very much. I hadn't developed a taste for alcohol, or tobacco, or even coffee up to that point, so it was not even a sacrifice at all. I did have some bad habits, and I just stopped. And though my friends and family didn't stop what they were doing, I felt no pull to abandon my new-found convictions. I did enter a new social group, however, who had been living this way their whole lives, in most cases. So I entered a built-in support group. And I pretty much thrived as a result of those two factors - the examples of my new group, and the opposition of my past associations.
I like me some opposition. Them's fightin' wordz. It crystalizes my resolve. I remember how surprised I was at first when not everyone was supportive of my choice - in fact, no one from my life was. To a greater or lesser degree, they were suspicious of my choice. I didn't bargain on that when I decided I'd found what I'd been searching for since I was 8 years old. Why should anyone be skeptical? I had friends of every religious background and didn't care which church they went to, or if they went to church at all. Why, all of a sudden, should me choosing a church cause a negative response from everyone in my life? But it did, and that made me mad and determined to prove them all wrong. That was 40 years ago!
Now, I could repeat that scenario with this step to begin a WFPB diet - and in some ways, I have, but the fat/oil thing I am not really sure about. You could say that avocado and coconut are exotic and 100+ years ago, unless you lived in sub-tropics or tropics, you never would encounter them. But nuts? Except the extreme dessert, most people are going to encounter nuts and seeds - and I imagine, eat them as a healthy part of their diet. So I don't see how this is a Word of Wisdom thing. It is a Caldwell Esselstyn thing. And as much as he has helped seriously ill people regain their health, I am not sure he is the end all be all - he is not God, and he may have blinders on. I said MAY. And that ambiguity might make me question the whole thing, but I am not going to let it do so. This diet is working for me.
I am not going to start eating nuts, but I am not going to militantly advocate that others stop eating nuts. Nor am I going to feel the need to confess to my bishop that I ate something with nuts in it. Nuts don't make me sick - some people can't eat them, they have an allergy to them - but I don't. Now Dr. Esselstyn commented that most people don't just eat a tablespoon of nuts - they eat a whole can of nuts in one sitting. Or a 1/4 cup of peanut butter - and I get that - 100+ years ago, you had to shell your own nuts to get to the edible part, and that work limited how many you might eat all at one time, whereas today - it is so easy to eat a lot of nuts without even thinking, you can overeat them.
So if I am served a salad with avocado or nuts, I will just eat them. But I won't shop for them and add them to my home prepared meals. This is back to the point I started with - being defensive about my diet. I don't want to over-react and make a scene every time I go out to eat or to a social event where food is served. Some things I will refuse, but some I will just accept as a very untypical departure from my WFPB diet.
The other day I had a business dinner. There wasn't much to choose from that didn't at least have SOME ingredient that wasn't on my diet. I avoided the worst offenders and then just quietly ate the broccoli salad with a little sugar and probably mayonnaise, and the pesto dressing on my green salad that surely had oil in it. But when I don't stay on plan, I pay for it. According to my scales, I've been on a weight-loss plateau for over a week, but my clothes are visibly baggier than even a couple weeks ago.
When it is available, I will choose a restaurant with options I can eat, but there aren't many like that. I usually eat at home. This is a big change for me. Used to be that if I got in my car, my mind immediately started calculating where I might grab something yummy while I was out and about. The other day, I took a much needed drive into the mountains, and I started calculating what I was going to have to eat when I got home! I started thinking about beets and potatoes and parsnips and carrots! Not the Deli on 4th, or Gourmandise Bakery!
I think over time I'll find a balance I don't have to feel extreme about - not allowing the people in my life undo influence over my choices nor donning boxing gloves and drawing undo attention to myself in social settings at the expense of everyone else's feelings.