Four Days of Veggies and I’m Still Alive
For the past 96 hours my wife and I have only been eating plant based, whole foods. It’s not horrible.
My wife has been jonesing to start a plant based diet for several weeks. I generally eat pretty healthy but I’ve always been reluctant to stray too close to full-on vegan territory. Still, after a three month pre-and-post-holiday, fat and sugar binge, my knuckles were aching, my muscles were sore and I was involuntarily devoid of useful energy. I was jonesing for a pharmaceutical-free solution.
Before giving into my better half’s well intended, gastronomical fad of the quarter I contemplated an exhaustive listing of my most unwarranted concerns. A freewheeling conjurer of predilections toward absurdist hypochondria, I worried about some of the unintended side affects of a meat, fish and poultry-free diet. Understanding full well that the following problems rarely, if ever occur in well fed adults, I, nonetheless, wonderned if they would happen to me. Always struggling to achieve a one percent wealth mindset, I never seem to have a problem channeling the .01 percent health-problem mindset.
First, would I be hungry all the time? What would happen? Would I slowly starve to death on a diet of fruits and vegetables? Even if I didn’t starve, would I lose too much weight. I’m a few pounds overweight right now but I lose mass quickly and easily. Been there, done that.
Last year, the wife and I tried the Whole 30 diet. Although it was pretty good I was always hungry and I lost a lot of weight. That being said I was actually quite healthy. Results from a blood test were awesome. Still, I felt tired and unsatisfied.
Full disclosure: So as not to offend often maligned and beleaguered members of the Whole 30 community, I wasn’t really doing it right. I was doing my version of Whole 30.
Irrespective, just as I opted to get off the diet, I picked up a wicked case of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease from my four year old son. It can be a nasty virus in adults, a short-term descent into the smoldering, tormented bowels of the viral underworld. It’s really no big deal after the first two weeks and it goes away completely in less then a month.
I’ll spare you the the gory, despicable, unpalatable details suffice to say that I could only eat cold watermelon for a full week. Why watermelon? I have no idea. Apparently watermelon was the only antidote to the acute, barbarous, uncontrolled pestilence that erupted inside of my mouth.
The voluntary diet followed by the involuntary diet left me looking gaunt and tired. My elder sister, as much a sensitive tactician as she is a humble wordsmith said, “You look terrible. Why the hell did you lose so much weight?” I’m sure that my sister is relieved that I’m now mildly chubby and that my sugar levels are probably pre-diabetic. She’s certainly happy that my pencil neck sports three quarters of a double chin. I don’t want to piss her off again with an unsightly weight loss.
What about time? Even if I survive the physiological effects of a vegan consumption plan, do I have time to research and implement it? I watch my son for several hours during the day and I write at night. I’m just over three years into an all out push to resurrect a prosperous freelance writing effort. Like a career phoenix rising out of the stale ashes of a decades long addiction to self loathing underemployment, I hope to write inspiring Medium posts about my uber-successful rise as a rags to riches, political journalist and opinion writer.
How will I find the time to learn about essential vegetable proteins and well balanced meal plans? What about the innumerable complexities of complex carbohydrates? For god’s sake, at the very least I would need to set aside several hours to binge watch a few dozen farm to table and Knives to Forks documentaries! Has my wife lost her mind?
What about meat? The hell with meat. Who cares? What about chicken? Won’t I miss chicken? At least once a month I eat a devilishly tasty chicken parmigiana sandwich from La Bella Roma, my go-to, neighborhood pizza joint. I’m never going to have that again? For fu@!s-sake, what about fish? I make fish every Wednesday night. Do you know how long it took me to master cooking fish? I make a melt-in-your-mouth, crunchy skin salmon that you would sell your beloved grandmother for. You can keep your grandmother, I would give you the fish anyway. But it’s never gonna happen because I won’t BE ALLOWED TO MAKE IT ANYMORE.
Take a Deep Breath
Let’s back up off the ledge for a moment and take a deep breath. Before we go any further, understand that I’m a little bit nuts and I have frequent moments of high strung, well intended, over stimulation. Get your filthy mind out of gutter. I’m talking about anxiety.
I’m still allowed to have meat. I don’t want any right now, but I can have it if I want it. From time to time, I will still treat myself to Uncle Vito’s chicken parmigiana. (Vito owns La Bella Roma and my son calls him Uncle Vito). Wednesday night is still fish night, for now. I’m still going to make my salmon and if you like, you’re welcome to cover over. (You’re really not.)
I don’t intend to sacrifice sleep to learn the in’s and out’s of a plant based, whole foods diet. My wife, a former exercise physiologist and current medical professional is obsessed with this stuff. She loves doing the research and miraculously finds the time to feed her well intended obsession. I have no desire to do any of that and I trust her judgement implicitly.
I don’t have to worry, like a madman, about losing weight. There are millions of Americans who would love to have this problem. I’m blessed with an active metabolism. At fifty-one years old my goal is to build up healthy muscle through exercise while improving the health of my gut through diet. I’m also very aware. If I notice weight loss that I don’t like, I can always make simple adjustments to my diet, long before my sister passes judgement on status of my small frame.
In just four days, I feel great. I’m not BS’ing you. Of course, given the opportunity, and if I needed to, I would happily BS you. It’s not necessary. Things have changed.
There is no pain or stiffness in my knuckle joints, none. The achey tiredness that I was feeling in my legs whenever I ascended the stairs is simply no longer there. It’s gone. My mind is clearer. I can’t really explain it. If you like, feel free to chalk this one up to psychosomatic, wishful think-feeling. Real or imagined, I’m going with it.
I don’t feel hungry at all. The food fills me up. After I eat to my heart’s content, I don’t feel bloated, or gross, or tired. The food is not disgusting. My wife and I are both really good cooks. Even though we don’t know what we’re doing, we’ve been applying the same cooking techniques to veggies that we apply to meat. Flavor, flavor, flavor. Spices, seasoning, no overcooking and sometimes undercooking is in order.
If you’re thinking about going plant based and you’ve been too scared to try, go for it. It highly unlikely that you’re as crazy as I am, and I’m doing it. You can do it. Starting the diet doesn’t mean that it’s going to work out or that it’s right for you. If you try it and you hate it, quit. Who gives a sh$!? It’s your body and your life. On the other hand, if you try it and you experience the results that my wife and I are experiencing, you might be onto something life changing.
We’re going to keep going. If, like me, you have no interest in learning the in’s and out’s of this appraoch to eating, let me know. Send me a DM or whatever the hell we do here on Medium to communicate. Maybe I’ll document the stuff that she learns, and tells me about, and subseqently send it out in a newsletter…or something like that.
If you’re an experienced vegetable eater please share your advise, your thoughts, your stories, your complaints and your personal muses in the comment section.
Thanks for reading.