Going #PlantStrong. A 21 Day Adventure in Nutrition

Posted on Jun 25th 2012 by Florida Blue

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I’m probably like so many other women my age. I’m a mom that works full-time. I know the basic principles behind good nutrition and I know how good it feels to eat right. BUT… it is really hard to eat right when the world gets busy (which it does every day of every week). With an 8-month old baby girl, a full-time job, a dog, an old house that needs work, and a busy husband, I’ve stopped doing the things that I know I need to do to take care of me so I can continue to take care of other things. It’s a vicious cycle. Because I’m not eating all that well and I’m not exercising regularly, I don’t have as much energy and don’t feel at the top of my game, so I am tired so I don’t eat well and I don’t exercise... and on and on. The problem is I don’t have an OBVIOUS problem. I’m not overweight. I appear to be relatively in shape and I have no current big health issues. It’s easy to be complacent in this state. A friend told me about this book she was reading: “Crazy Sexy Diet” by Kris Carr. I picked up the book and WOW! I’m inspired. In Kris’ opinion, she has been able to use good nutrition to successfully combat cancer for about a decade. Cancer runs in my family (breast cancer, to be specific) and because of that I’ve thought a lot about what I can do to prevent it for me, for my sisters and for my daughter. Time and time again the road leads me back to nutrition. Just think about the diet that is prescribed to heart disease patients, to people with diabetes or cancer or any other chronic condition. The prescription is clear: eat lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, limit animal protein and dairy. Stay away from caffeine and alcohol. I’ve started the Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet 21 Day “Adventure Cleanse” to see if I can’t reinvigorate my quest for optimal health and make it an integral part of my family’s regular routine. Game On! So here’s the protocol I’m following for 21 days:    
  • A big glass of water with lemon first thing upon waking
  • Green juice or smoothies for breakfast
  • Lots of vegetables and whole grains the rest of the day
  • Oh yeah... and probably a piece or two of dark chocolate somewhere along the way.
No dairy, no meat, no gluten, no (I cheated a little, so let’s say “limited”) sugar, no coffee and no alcohol. This plan sounded scary to me at first, but let me tell you: two weeks have passed and I’m a fan! I recommend this diet change to anyone and everyone that wants a jumpstart on resetting their taste buds and establishing a healthy lifestyle. In the interest of full disclosure, however, days 1 through 7 were tough. Really tough. I am self-admittedly addicted to coffee and I definitely eat a lot of bread and cheese. I suffered through late afternoon headaches, a slump in energy in the afternoon and probably better left not described gastrointestinal issues. Detox is rough. Like I said, today is Day 14 and I feel awesome! I have so much more energy in the morning and I just feel … happier and sort of empowered. The other thing I’ve realized is that by committing to doing one healthy thing for me, it’s been easier to add other healthy habits. I’ve exercised more in the last week than I have in any one week since my daughter was born. So where will I land when I’ve reached the end of my 21-day adventure? I’m pretty sure I’m leaning towards a vegan or a ‘vegan-ish’ lifestyle. From everything I read, it just makes sense. Here are a few things I’ve learned: PH Our bodies are designed to be slightly more alkaline than acidic, but the Standard American Diet is heavier on acidic foods. Ideally, you should eat 60% alkaline foods to 40% acidic foods, but for most of us it is the other way around. So what foods are alkaline? Fruits and vegetables, many grains, nuts, etc. Protein I know a lot of people worry about whether or not they will be able to get enough protein through a mostly vegetarian diet. In reality, most of us take in double the amount of protein we really need. Almonds, black beans, broccoli, quinoa, and soy products are, among numerous other plant sources, are all excellent sources of protein. Dairy Human babies need milk from their mothers. It’s nature’s perfect food. However, when we’ve grown out of that stage, we no longer really need dairy. Have you ever seen other animals drink the milk of another species as an adult? Enough said. Worried about calcium? Almonds, arugula, cabbage, flaxseeds are all plant foods that are high in calcium. Interested in learning more about good nutrition and living healthy? Visit a local Florida Blue Center and ask one of our Care Consultants about nutritional changes that are realistic for you. Also, here are some online resources I’ve been exploring. North American Vegetarian Society Mayo Clinic Kris Carr’s Website – Crazy Sexy Life Engine 2 Diet Forks over Knifes Note about the Author: Annie Erstling is a member of the Florida Blue Marketing Communications team. She loves yoga, gardening (aka playing in the dirt) and her awesome little family. Find her on Twitter @annieerstling  

Filed under: Mind/Body/Soul  


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