My vegetarian, yogi identity
I get it. I really do. Its a great philosophy.
Ideologically speaking, I would be more than happy to eat only a vegetarian diet.
And I did, for about 7 years. With some time as vegan thrown in for good measure.
I remember the day my ignorance was shattered.
I came home to find my then girlfriend watching one of those undercover PETA videos, you know, of humans treating animals in absolutely disgusting ways. Truly horrifying.
I’d never stopped to think where my meat had come from.
I just presumed everything was ok.
Then that video shattered everything. I actually got angry. How could this be happening. Was I a part of it? I suppose I was.
I stopped eating meat instantly.
I went into vegetarianism full steam ahead, my girlfriend and I both did.
Vegetable curries and dahls, salads, grains that nobody knew how to pronounce, ( kwinoah?) juices and smoothies.
As well as adding every fruit, vegetable, nut and seed under the sun to my diet, I also eliminated all those nasties like white flour, white rice, white bread and pasta.
I still ate a fair amount of processed fake meat, because, know, it’s vegetarian, so it must be healthy.
I was the absolute poster child for vegetarian wellness. I bought every seed, nut, green and brown superfood powder you can think of and added them all to my smoothies and juices.
Every smoothie turned into thick brown sludge. Try adding cocoa and spirulina to the same mix.
I was relentless. I once juiced a raw onion just to see what would happen, if it could be added to my litre of juice a day. You can imagine the result. Heaven knows what I was thinking.
I was super healthy I told myself.
The result? I felt wonderful, I really did. The zing and pop of having that many raw veg in ones diet everyday really is noticeable. I lost weight too. Only a little mind you.Had I paid attention, Im sure my skin looked better.
But things started to go wrong almost immediately.
It took 7 years for me to admit to myself that my health and my body were deteriorating.
The most obvious symptom was diarrhoea. Then constipation. Then diarrhoea.
FOR 7 YEARS!
Can you imagine the kind of denial one needs to have to go through that?
The strength of the vegetarian identity I had developed for myself to deny that my diet may not have been working?
I always had an excuse. Not enough of this, too much of that, forgot to do this, ate that thing I shouldn’t of eaten.
Before I went vegetarian, while still on the Standard American Diet or the Western Diet, I was consistent as clockwork. To the minute, everyday.
Now I worried consistently about the consistency of my next poo.
Plus I was bloated. Always. I may have been bloated while on the Western Diet but I never paid attention. Bloating, by the way is a very obvious sign that whatever you just put into your body, is not being appreciated by your body.
I was so permanently bloated that I thought I just had a pot belly, like that was the way my body was shaped. I thought my father’s beer belly had been passed on!
Really inconvenient considering I had been working on a 6-pack for about 15 years at that point.
Next, my joints started to fail. First my knees, then my wrists, then elbows and shoulders.
My knees would hurt even during a short walk to the corner store. If I stepped out of the car at slightly the wrong angle, my knee would twist and it would hurt for days.
Same with my wrists, I once opened a jar of nut butter, or at least tried, but my wrist sprained before I managed to get the top of the jar off. I had to wear a wrist strap for 2 weeks. All I wanted was some cashew nut butter, instead I got a badly sprained wrist.
At work, as a carpenter, I noticed I was getting weaker, like my grip strength, I knew from experience how much timber I could carry around or how it felt to lift it up. I was struggling noticeably to move materials and grip power tools safely.
Was I actually getting weaker?! This terrified me!
According to popular vegan and vegetarian culture, I was supposed to be living the healthiest way possible. Organic, plant based, super foods, all of it. Yet my body was failing on some very obvious levels.
Deeper than that, I began to wonder what damage I might be doing internally to my body!
So, with these worries in the back of my mind, I kept my awareness open to something new.
Enter Bulletproof coffee and the high fat diet.
I heard about Bulletproof coffee while on a trip to the USA. I remembered that I’d heard about something similar in South Africa, adding coconut oil to coffee, as per the Banting diet.
Straight away I bought the book (The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey) and devoured it in only a few sittings.
I was captivated. The science behind the high fat diet made so much sense. Could it be true?
Yes it turns out.
Countless doctors, scientists and authors are out there bringing awareness to the science of the high fat diet.
I slowly began to implement all the recommendations of the high fat diet and 2 years down the road, here I am, in better shape then I have ever been. And I eat a block of butter a day!
But thats a story for another day….