Level of Difficulty: Nonexistent. I’m amazed at how easy this is. No meat, fish, dairy or eggs except for cream in my coffee and whatever gets into my bread. I’ve been trying to eat “clean” for some time, so going for whole and raw foods is already part of my food-consciousness. And if I don’t mess with sauces and other packaged items, I don’t have to wonder what’s in them. Suh-weet!
Balanced Nutrition: A Perfect Ten. Here’s another shocker. Aldi, the discount grocery store in town, carries everything I’ll ever need to maintain a diet rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Nuts, beans, green leafy vegetables, a rainbow of fruit, brown rice—they’re all there. So, not only do I get a winning score on nutrition, but also on cost.
Weirdness Factor: I lose some points here trying to explain my new eating habits to Iowans. I live in the middle of farm country where beef and pork production are major industries. The slaughterhouse is the largest employer in town. I’m thinking if I ran down Main Street naked, I might reach the level of incredulity and shock I’ve encountered. But, I’ve been to this circus before. I’ve learned how to take it slow and easy with scary, radical personal information. If I can help my loved ones understand bipolar disorder a little bit better, I can do it again with a plant-based diet.
Physical Adaptation: The score is still pending in this category. I find I’m not nearly as hungry as I used to be, and that when I am hungry I can actually feel it in my stomach. This is a new sensation for me, so I’m a little fascinated by it. I’ve discovered that eating too many nuts at night will necessitate a mad dash in the wee hours of the morning (with or without cats-as-hurdles). But it might only be pistachios. More trials are required.
Mental Health Score: No consistent changes at this early stage. I’m still rapid cycling. It’s tempting to hope for a miracle, but I know better than that. A little boost in energy or a smidge smoother moods would be glorious. We shall see.
Weight Loss Marks: The books I read at the library said it was more important to get comfortable with the new diet than worry about caloric intake, so I didn’t pay much attention to how much I ate this week. And I still lost a pound at my TOPS weigh-in. Can I say it again? Suh-weet!
All in all, I feel like I brought home the gold this week. I plan to check prices of more exotic items at other grocery stores (like pumpkins seeds and black beans) to see if I can afford a few non-Aldi purchases. And I’ll be on the look-out for restaurants that will be both affordable and vegetarian-friendly—for those times when my illness makes me bolt. As with any non-typical diet, planning ahead saves on stumbles and belly-flops.
And on a completely different note:
All week, I’ve been hearing a song in my head. It’s from a Porky Pig cartoon called “An Itch in Time” and featured a flea set out to munch on Porky’s dog. Like the flea, I’m feeling pretty happy about the food around my corner.