I see a lot of people wanting to follow a plant-based nutrition but somewhere along the way they feel so light-headed and/or dizzy, feel like they can’t concentrate anymore and soon this whole idea starts to look like a bad… bad bad idea. Aren’t we supposed to feel energized and powerful? After 3 weeks of feeling kind of starved and light-headed you FINALLY allow yourself to bite into your chicken-cheese-sandwich and aaahhh that feels good you feel like you’re finally EATING something. I see this happening aaall the time. What is going on here?
First of all, switching to a plant-based nutrition takes time. Adapting to every single principle all at once is not only exhausting it also won’t allow your body to get used to the changes you’re making. You can also monitor the benefits way better sticking to one principle at a time. A lot of the principles make so much sense though (“eating light to heavy”), you want to adapt them right away. Be careful and really stick to one at a time. They seem like “easy” principles but they often times turn our nutrition upside down. So to switch in a few days or even a week – please! Allow your body to get used to what you’re practicing to avoid the situation I described above.
The biggest “mistake” I see people do when switching to a plant-based diet, is replacing every meal with healthy choices but eating roughly around the same amount of it. So at the end of the day you ate everything you wanted to eat and are supposed to eat but why don’t you feel better or even worse? It is most definitely the amount of what you’re eating. A smoothie, medium sized salad, 1 banana or 2 apples are not cutting it!! The thing is, through processed and packaged foods, our sense of what has how much value nutritional and calorie wise is kind of off. So we think if this packaged lasagna has this many calories my replacement dinner will most likely be roughly around the same amount. No no and… wait for it.. no. We really can’t compare whole foods and a plant-based nutrition to a diet that includes processed and boxed foods when it comes to calories. It’ll blow your mind how little calories you really eat by simple and clean eating. My best advice and most helpful for me was to monitor my calorie intake just for a few days or even a week to visualize how much more you have to eat to meet your daily calorie intake (=your energy!). More? Yes on a plant-base diet get used to eat more! Yippieh! You’ll notice that fruits and vegetables but also unprocessed foods are low in calories and therefore we’re able to eat a lot if it. I recently talked to a person who said: “Wow all the time I felt like I had to learn how to eat less and now I’m trying to eat significantly more”. Yes! And you choose! But, you’re right, this lifestyle is absolutely NOT about counting calories. This monitoring is only meant for you to learn about the foods you’re eating and to see what you have to eat in a day. When I first started to monitor my calorie intake I found out that I’d have to double my intake to reach my estimated “goal” in terms of calories a day. No wonder I felt light headed! Gradually adding more food to your meals will help you to feel satisfied and also will train your body to be able to eat more of it all. You might feel full fairly quick but your stomach will expand and contract, so don’t be afraid of gradually adding more to your plate. There is a reason for certain movements such as 30 bananas a day or even people who go fully raw and eat astonishing amounts of fruits and vegetables. As crazy as they sometimes sound or look especially if you’re new to it all, you’ll see that if you’re seriously getting into this and this is really what you’re eating, it seems to be more reasonable bite for bite. The core of it all however is, that it is important to talk about the amount of what you’re eating when learning about a plant-based nutrition. So we don’t have to eat 30 bananas in a day and we most definitely won’t be able to afford a weekly farmers market for our taking, BUT we can learn and keep an open mind when it comes to eating more of what is good for us. (Check out Kristina from fullyraw.com or fullyraw on Youtube!)
So how can you monitor your intake with getting all the information? Try cronometer.com. It is a free service that allows you to type in the foods you consume and it will present you with not only nutritional information about a single fruit or vegetable for example but also will present you with an overview showing you how many percent you have reached from your daily calorie intake. Your daily calorie intake will be calculated according to your height and weight. Again, this is to visualize your overall intake, not to depend and live on. You want to learn how much you have to eat to get your daily calorie intake. Eating healthy is however, not about counting calories as there really is no need for that. So after monitoring your intake you are welcome to say goodbye to such services as cronometer and live happily without.
Short recap: With a plant-based diet comes the need to eat the right amount of it to satisfy your needs. Boxed and processed foods are high in calories with little to no nutrients, whereas fruits and vegetables as well as unprocessed whole foods are low in calories and have a high nutritional value. Because you do need to meet your daily calorie intake to be able to function properly and have energy, you might find yourself eating too little of what is good for you. If you have already started switching and find yourself in the situation above try gradually adding more foods to your diet and eat more of it all. As you can see, with this whole lifestyle you’re really NOT on “a diet” and you’re not restricting yourself. It is about learning what works for you fuel your body with foods it deserves to function at its best.
Through years of eating highly processed foods and consuming dairy and/or meat, it is also possible that your body is not able to absorb all the nutrients right away. So you might start to eat well but if your colon for example is still backed up you might not get all the benefits right away. This is normal as it take time for your body to detoxify and get all bad things out of your body and also to clean out your colon. A clean colon makes a happy body! I’ll definitely talk about digestion on this blog as it is one of the most important topics to talk about when it comes to eating healthy and detoxifying your body. There are things you can do to speed up the process and detoxify efficiently such as helping your body digest the huge amounts of fiber you’re now eating and cleaning out your colon by taking a daily probiotic or digestive enzymes after heavy meals (post will follow!) or even a colonic. But first of all stick to the healthy choices you’re making and I promise you’ll see changes. It does however take willpower, often times because you might deal with detox reactions (post will folow!) along the way as toxins are leaving your body. But more of this in upcoming posts!
Puuh we cut on so many topics in this post, but I promise I’ll break it down for you in smaller packages. So in the upcoming blog posts I’ll talk about more principles, healthy habits, digestion, nutrient absorption and detox reactions.
Stay hungry! 🙂