Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Proof is in the Plants!

For those who are curious about the observable effects of my going “veg” back in March, I’ve listed some of the ways my body has already shown its appreciation. Some of these improvements may also be due to the more consistent exercise routine I've adopted, but food and exercise should go hand-in-hand anyway.

  • Chronic connective tissue symptoms, such as muscle pain and sensitivity, basically disappeared while off medication (arms and legs would feel bruised to the touch, for ex.)
  • Much clearer skin! 
  • IBS symptoms have improved dramatically (woo fiber!)
  • Woman problems have waned (the ladies may inquire for more details, if they wish)
  • Mental functioning seems better. My ability to think, process information, and formulate my ideas is faster and clearer. I’ve really noticed it while I teach.
  • Great energy! I feel more alert in the mornings (NOT a morning person here!) and more productive throughout the day.
  • Moods are stable and positive – I feel happy, calm, and collected more consistently than I used to. Food really does affect our psychological health. Just think about the complex ways caffeine influences our systems.
  • Speaking of caffeine, chronic headaches went away and I no longer feel dependent on coffee to get through my day.
  • Can taste food more clearly – my threshold for salt and sugar has lowered dramatically.
  • Have learned to differentiate between "real hunger" and "toxic hunger" and to feed myself accordingly (see Eat to Live for more on that). 
  • Food cravings have dissipated – I no longer experience the salty-sweet cycle that we vacillate through during the day (you know, that need to eat something salty, then to finish with something sweet, then to eat something salty again an hour later… and the cycle goes on and on).
  • I've also been able to develop a resistance to my intense carb and sugar cravings... as a recovering starchivore, it's definitely huge that I can pass the bread-and-butter baskets at dinners or toast Zach's bagels without needing to dive on one myself! (Not that I don't eat bread, I just consume a whole lot less of it).
  • Can sustain more intense workouts! Don’t get winded going up the stairs anymore. :)
  • Total weight loss of 18 pounds in 3 months. It came off like water when I wasn’t even looking!

I also feel, on a spiritual level, that pursuing better discipline in this core area has strengthened my capacity for self-control in other areas, as well. My general approach to life just feels more organized, manageable, and productive. We like to compartmentalize the various categories in our lives (isolating our spiritual life, our food life, our school life, our sleeping habits, our daily moods, etc.) as though one has no bearing whatsoever on the other, but these areas are actually interdependent in profoundly influential ways. I feel like the Lord has been blessing these efforts to beat the "food beast" into submission and helping me to obtain greater discipline in other areas as a result.

I was looking forward to some recent blood work to see if anything numbers-wise would have changed with my autoimmune markers. From what I’ve learned so far, autoimmune disorders aren’t typically reversible with diet and lifestyle, but they are certainly improved and stabilized by those two factors!

I was pleased to see that my typical antibody markers were in the low bracket (they do vacillate from time-to-time but have tended to be in a higher tier over the last couple years). My hemoglobin looks better than usual (only .2 units below the normal range which to me means: basically normal!) which is great news for my anemia, so something must be working in that department!

So these are just some of the many reasons why I’ve really loved eating for health and why I’m definitely motivated to carry on! Obviously a lot of these “improvements” aren’t claims that can be scientifically measured, but I can remember when I carried all of these little burdens and how draining it was! But oh, how sweet it is to be rid of them now!

I'll let you know if I develop the ability to walk through walls, read stacks of books merely by thumbing through them, or find the fountain of youth in the bathroom at Wegmans. Until then, this list should suffice! :)

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