It’s called a health journey for a reason. So truth be told. I am shaking things up with my diet. I have hinted at it before through different mediums but something’s got to give.
I have been a vegetarian or plant-based if you will, for almost seven years now. Loving every bit of it. Doing it out of compassion for animals, health reasons and just pure love for eating this way. No health crisis, just following my own heart that eating more plants and less animals was the best thing for me. It has been and will remain that way, with some slight modifications.
Having written a book Plant-Based Diet for Dummies and operating my Food Studio where the main premise is to teach people how to eat and include more plants – this may come as a shock to many. Let’s just be clear, my belief that plant-based foods should be the foundation of a healthy diet hasn’t changed. Nor has it changed how I run my business or teach my classes. However on a personal level, I am making some changes and I have opened my mind to other possibilities and ways of eating in a healthful way.
Let me get real with you.
For the last year – although feeling relatively “great” most days, others I have not been feeling like myself. Good thing I am so in tune with my body, as the slightest difference in my daily routine is a big deal to me and wildly noticeable. The changes or shifts that I am experiencing aren’t necessarily completely related to my diet, but they could be. It could also be my living environment or other factors out of my control. Who knows?
What I do know is that I don’t feel my healthy, vibrant self and I need to get back to that Marni. My diet is something that I have control over every day, so I figure I better start there. It’s also what I focus on daily with my students, clients and community – so why not turn the tables and work with my most difficult client, myself!
With everything that I know and have learned over the years, I have begun to shift my paradigm around food and how it related to me. Where once I was not open to the idea of changing my pristine balanced diet, I have now opened my mind to incorporating a moderate amount of high quality animal protein, while reducing so many of the the plant starches that have been the foundation of my diet. Naturally the plant-based diet provides so much in terms nutrient dense foods and that will remain the core of what I eat, with some changes.
When you get caught up in your own world, sometimes it’s hard to see or understand how things could be different or better for you. It’s about getting out of your own dogma. My naturopath has been telling me for over a year to change things up, he looks at my blood, urine and saliva and everything was pointing to minimizing my grain, starch and (natural) sugar intake. So there’s the science. I also know that The Ultimate Health Podcast that I co-host with my boyfriend Jesse, has been a partial influence on this decision to transform my eating habits. We get the chance to interview so many incredible experts that have a wealth of knowledge and their own personal food experiences. Many stories and health journeys that I can relate closely too. After hearing it enough times, and reflecting on how I am really feeling, I had to ask myself “how much longer are you going to go on like this?” My own intuition has been pointing me in this direction for a while now, I was just ignoring it.It’s crazy!
Don’t get me wrong, I am not in terrible pain and I can still get out bed and function daily and you wouldn’t even know that anything was up. It is almost worse this way because everything is happening on a on a base level. There are some daily symptoms that I have crept up and progressively gotten worse. As we all do, I put things off until they got pretty unbearable. What I am getting at is some digestive problems, itchy ears and other skin irritations. Most of what is happening is pointing to the overgrowth of Candida. It’s not normal to have your digestion not function properly or to be scratching your ears daily. I won’t tolerate it. I hadn’t experienced this before, and I don’t plan on experiencing it any longer. Enough is enough.
I am putting my foot down and I am making changes.
This is where things get interesting. I am making changes to what is already a clean diet. I have people praise the way I eat and comment how limited they “believe” it already is (which it’s not). Eating plant-based, mostly vegan has served me for many years. I have always made balanced meals and nutrients a priority and always choosing whole foods as the core of what I eat. Lots of colour, lots of variety and lots of texture. That is how I have structured my meals, my recipes and all my cooking classes. I don’t eat out often, I don’t eat red meat, wheat, cow dairy, coffee, fried foods and I haven’t had refined sugar in years. So you may be thinking, what is she doing taking even more things out? Yes, this is going to be a challenge and it’s not going to be easy, but I actually think it’s going to be fun – in fact it already is. I have a chance to be creative with my meals. I get to experiment with new recipes and balancing them with new flavours. Now that I am taking out my good old reliable staples (that I have never really had to think much about being part of my diet), it’s forcing me to think outside the box.
The run down of what I am doing.
I now incorporate goat and sheep dairy (which I have been for years on and off), organic eggs and wild fish and I even had my very first (only one) serving of chicken based bone broth. Which, as you can imagine, was really hard to get my head around. I must tell you that this isn’t because I broke down and gave in nor was I craving “meat”, it was strictly for health reasons. I plan on having it again down the road when I am ready.
I have also been adding in loads of good healthy fat into my diet. I have always included good fats but still quantified my portion sizes. Where as now, I am just going all in. Using coconut oil, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocado in copious amounts. While at the same avoiding most carbohydrates including grains, beans and sweet fruits. Which if you can imagine have been making up more than 50% of my diet until now.
If my symptoms start to subside long term, then I am on to something. From there, I can begin to carve out the next phase of my health journey. This doesn’t change the way I feel about the consumption animals, this doesn’t change the way I feel about plant foods. In fact, it only makes plants more of a priority and keeps my respect for high quality animal protein where it was. In moderation and only if necessary.
I really hope you will follow along and join me on this journey. Maybe you are on the same one? If so, I want to hear about it. It’s about trial and error – and ultimately about feeling the best that I can. If this doesn’t work, I try again.
I am more or less following a Candida Free Diet and using Ricki Heller’s Book as resource along with Dr Mark Hyman’s book Eat Fat, Get Thin (just know that I am not doing this to get thin). He talks about a Pegan diet, and that is pretty much what I am taking on! I also have the support of my friend Josh Gitalis and Dr Tara Campbell who are both giving me tips and protocols to tackle this safely.
WHAT I AM NOT EATING
Any source of natural sugar (fruit, maple syrup, honey, dried fruit, etc.)
Beans and legumes
Condiments – mustard, balsamic vinegar
Luckily I don’t eat very many packaged foods so this will be easy!
WHAT I AM EATING
Lots of green leafy veggies
Wild Blueberries and Cranberries
Lemons + Limes
Nuts and seeds
Coconut oil, coconut meat, coconut water
Yams and squash
Chlorella and spirulina
Fermented food (sauerkraut, miso, tamari, tempeh, coconut yogurt)
Moderate gluten free + pseudo grains (buckwheat, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth)
Moderate Eggs and Fish
Tempeh + Sprouted Organic Tofu
Sweetness from gojiberries, yacon, stevia, lakanto and berries.
To follow my daily postings, recipes and tips as to what I am eating and including follow me on:
My report after one week:
I am feeling amazing. My energy has gone through the roof, I feel mentally focused and clear. My metabolism has sped up, I am constantly hungry, which I am surprised by with the increased fat, but it could be just my body weaning it’s way off the sugars. My skin feels and looks great, I am sleeping really well and no gas, no bloating and my body feels clean and clear. If this is a picture of what the next month is going to look like – then I am pretty excited.
Once I get to a good spot, I will start to add back in a few things at a time. But I am going to keep things pretty strict just to test and see how I do. Wish me luck!
My first PEGAN Recipe!
Herbed Zucchini Fritters
- 3 small to medium zucchini’s
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- 1-2 Tbsp fresh parsley or dill
- ¼ cup almond flour
- ¼ cup brazil nut pulp (left over from making brazil nut milk) or you can just use more almond flour
- 2 organic eggs
- Salt to taste or herbed sea salt
- Optional: 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Coconut Yogurt for garnish
- Homemade Sauerkraut for garnish
- Sautéed greens to serve on top of
- Grate zucchini with a medium sized grater so you get decent shreds of zucchini.
- Add salt and place shredded zucchini in a clean dishtowel and squeeze to get as much liquid out of it as possible. (It doesnt have to be perfect but do try to get as much as you can)
- Once squeezed place back in bowl and add beaten eggs, thinly sliced green onions, herbs, almond flour, brazil nut pulp and salt, mix thoroughly. Add lime juice.
- Place mixture in 1/4 cup amounts onto a lined baking pan. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the look cooked through.
- Place on platter and server with coconut yogurt, sauerkraut and greens on the side.