Making Changes to Lifestyle
One of the most important things you can do for your health. It is a major decision since it involves changing life-long habits not an easy thing. However, the good part is that "habits die hard" both the old bad ones and the new good ones. So once you get on the new diet, that becomes a habit too. And then it is easy to stick to, especially once you have experienced the benefits
How do you go about? That depends on the kind of person you are. Some people can quit smoking right away, some like to gradually reduce the number of cigarettes until they are down to zero. So what kind of a person are you? You have to decide based on that. However, if you make a drastic change, you will get results quickly and that will motivate you to stick to the new diet. Slow changes give slow results and motivation can die down.
So what I suggest is = For starters
- Give up all animal products limit yourself to eating non-veg once a week, if at all
- Dairy products give up limit to once a week, if at all. Even then avoid milk. Go for one cup of yoghurt or a glass of buttermilk.
- Lot of Fruits for breakfast along with some other light items. Beans if you want to feel full
- Try having a salad before lunch every day, but definitely before dinner
- Deep fried food, sweets eliminate entirely at most again once a week, very small portions.
- Processed food, soft drinks to be eliminated
Once you are comfortable with this, after about three months, you can completely eliminate the various items listed above that you are having once a week. Now you can have those items once a month, or once in a blue moon Also try to have the salad both before lunch and dinner Six months later, once a week, have an all-fruit day. That is, fruits for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One year later, once a month, try if you can go for a whole day on nothing but fresh tender coconut water. This is optional.
A few tips:
- Don't set extravagant goals for yourself. Just try to do this for 21 days for starters. See ow it goes and then take it from there.
- Don't be too hard on yourself if you eat something you ought not to have. Just forget about it and get back on track. Don't go on a binge, saying "Now I've eaten this, so what difference does it make, let me eat everything"
- If you have some favourite food eg Tandoori Chicken, or chocolate cake, don't deny yourself entirely at the initial stage. Decide that you are going to eat this say once a week or once in ten days. Then on that day, have a large salad first and then eat whatever you wish. The next day, eat light meals, if possible stay on fruit alone.
- This will help in many ways. First of all, you are not denying yourself your favourite food so there is not much tension. Secondly, when you eat that unhealthy food, it will be very tasty to eat, but the next day, your body will complain you will have a heavy stomach, maybe bloated, gas, flatulence, discomfort, heavy feeling, stomache, bowel movement problems etc. Slowly you will realise that whatever it was, it was not good for you. The ten minutes of eating enjoyment does not make up for the ten or more hours of discomfort. So slowly, the DESIRE itself to eat that food goes down and then dies away. Finally the day will come when you can look at that chocolate cake and have no desire to eat it at all. That is when you have finally overcome it. It is very difficult to reach this stage, it might take a couple of years. Initially you will feel tempted and have to fight it. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But slowly you will win more often, until the battle becomes effortless and then one day, there is no battle at all.
- DO NOT OVEREAT. Eat three meals a day to your stomach's contents, but stop when you burp. Stop when you feel you can still eat a little more. If you feel heavy and sleepy after a meal you have over-eaten. Adjust the quantities until you know how much you can handle. Overeating on even the healthiest foods will cause serious problems. Dr. Shelton used to say that an alcoholic might live to a ripe old age, but not a glutton.
- Visit a health food store. Use transition foods to satisfy cravings. Refer to our health foods page for details.
- Join a support group of people with similar interests
- Read, read, read...
- Refer to the articles in the link section alongside for more info.
You are likely to face several problems while implementing this system. Lets see how to tackle each one in brief. All of these are tough ones and have to be resolved individually. Nevertheless we can give some broad tips here
Symptoms of Detoxification and Healing
You might find yourself falling sick frequently - minor irritatnts like getting headaches, bodyaches, fever, rashes, boils, diarrhea etc. All this is nothing but the body eliminating its accumulated toxins. Its best not to interfere with this process using drugs etc. Grit your teeth and bear it. Go to bed and either stop eating or have light food like tender coconut water or fruit juices or fresh fruit only. The problem will soon go away. After you are fully cleansed these problems will also dis-appear.
So it is important to be able to recognize and understand these symptoms for what they are, and not confuse them with disease. For details, read these two articles from Health Creation.Net and Dr. Bass
Motivation Losing interest and motivation in the new diet.
Don't set lofty goals. Take one day at a time. Keep track of your weight on a weekly basis. When you see results that are measurable the morale goes up. Theres nothing like the feeling of your pants slipping off your waist, of having to get an extra hole in the belt.. Join a support group of like minded indiviiduals -either in your locality or on the internet.
Don't try to convert them. Avoid arguments and fights. Quietly do what you have to. If they have serious objections, address them one by one using hard facts and figures (much info is on tis site itself). When the family members see the benefits you are getting, they will either join you at best or leave you alone to do your thing at worst.
This is opposition for its own sake. Don't be bothered too much. Certainly its not worth getting into arguments. Quietly do what you have to and don't make much fuss about it.
Plan your day. Live on fruits salads and simple meals. Try to identify restaurants which serve salad. Or worst case, break the rules for a few days..
How far to go?
This is a very individual decision. Some people can go all the way to a 100% raw diet. This might be possible for them and might suit them. It might not be the same for you. If such a diet does not suit you, then it could even cause problems.
So the way to go is step by step. See how much you can handle. Gradually increase the proportion of raw food in your diet and see how you are feeling. If all is well, try going upto 885% raw. That much is enough for most people. If you are eating 85% raw, and the balance 15% conservatively cooked food at one meal, that is very close to ideal. 100% raw may not be the way to go.
But even if you cannot do this, there is no need to despair. Even 66% raw, or 50% raw is very good indeed. Even if you just have fruits for breakfast and then have normal meals for lunch and dinner still you will get a lot of benefit. Even if you disregard everything on this site, but just eliminate animal products, and increase the quantity of raw food, still you will get something.
The only thing is, the more you do, upto the limit and potential of your body, the better for you.
There is no fixed goal. You have to set the bar for yourself at the level at which you are comfortable.
Note: Some people are propogating a fruitarian diet i.e. 100% fruit. This is not a good idea at all and several people have fallen seriously ill following it. A diet 80-85% raw comprising of fruits, vegetables, nuts seeds and sprouts, plus 15% conservatively cooked food (steamed vegetables, some steamed rice, or wholewheat bread with pulses/lentils) is perhaps the way to go. This can be supplemented by small quantities of yoghurt every few days for Vitamin B-12
What about protein?
Will you get enough protein on this diet? Here are some comforting facts:
- The human body recycles 70% of its proteinaecous waste. Only 30% needs to be ingested
- The maximum protein requirements are when we are growing. Once we have reached adulthood, we only need protein for mainteance and repair which is much lesser.
- At the maximum period of growth (infancy), nature's food, mother's milk, has only 1-2% of protein. So that means we need 1% or less of proteins as adults. Probably 50 g per day is adequate.
- Eating animal protein is no guarantee that you are getting enough protein. The body actually has to break it down into its constituent amino acids and re-assemble them into human protein. Out of the 23 amino acids, 15 can be synthesised by the body. The balance eight (called essential amino acids) need to be ingested. And fresh fruit contains all eight of these acids.
- Vegetarian sources of protein are plentiful nuts, seeds, beans, lentils.
- Every food contains proteins even rice, wheat, potatoes. On an average diet of rice and dal and potatoes, you couldn't get a protein deficiency even if you wanted!
- Note: Pregnant women and nursing mothers need extra protein and should take care.
Proteins in the vegan diet : http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/protein.htm
Also read this article.
The problem is not that we are eating less calcium, but that we are losing more of it due to a high protein diet. Eating high protein food (eg animal products) creates an acidic environment in the body, which needs to be neutralised. So the body withdraws calcium from its stores (bones etc) to neutralise this. So meat eaters need more protein than vegans. And though vegans may be consuming less calcium, they need less too.
The dairy industry has brainwashed us that milk is the best source of calcium. Actually milk has low grade calcium and when it is pasteurised it is even less utilisable. And where does the cow get the calcium from, that it puts into the milk? From grass!
Green leafy vegetables are very good sources of calcium, as are nuts and seeds. Sesame seeds are the richest source of calcium on this earth. Tofu is also a good source. Sprinkle a small quantity of sesame seed (raw, not roasted), preferably powdered onto your salad which has lettuce leaves, or a small quantity of yoghurt and you will have no cause for concern about calcium.
More information: http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/calcium.htm
Vitamins and Minerals
Fresh fruits and vegetables are the world's richest source of vitamins. What's more when eaten raw, you get even more benefit since heat of cooking destroys vitamins. No worries here.
Muscle - Strength?
Herculean muscles come from Herculean exercise and not from Herculean eating. Of course you need to eat a nutritious diet. Excess protein does NOT build muscle bulk and strength - exercise does. So all those protein supplements and powders make you lighter in pocket not heavier in muscle. Eat a balanced diet and work out.and see for yourself..
Small amounts of yoghurt every other day may be added to your diet if you feel that you are not gaining strength and muscle on a pure vegan diet.
It is very easy to get the required number of calories on a vegan diet. Fresh fruits supply lots of calories, as do grains, lentils, cereals etc. If you are feeling hungry, that means you need more food, i.e. more calories. If you eat three balanced meals a day, and are not feeling hungry, listless, weak. You are doing fine
Anybody going on this diet is likely to experience weight loss, as the body goes through a detoxification process, and cleaning itself out. As the toxins go out, the fat that the body retains to insulate itself from the toxins also gets thrown out. So you are likely to lose that excess weight that has distributed itself all over the body. But once you have reached your optimum weight, the weight loss stops and if you eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly, slowly you will put on weight and muscle. The same diet results in wieght loss, weight gain and weight maintenance. It is basically a diet to get you to your optimum weight and keep you there!