My transition to eating a plant-based diet did not happen overnight.
In fact, eating plant-based had nothing to do with whether or not one should eat meat.
But instead has everything to do with what effects eating certain foods has on the body at a biological level.
My journey started about 10 years ago after I watched a YouTube video entitled ‘Sugar: The Bitter Truth’.
In it, Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin.
What really stood out to me was his section on High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
HFCS has the same biological effects on the body as alcohol, but because HFCS is not processed in the brain, we do not feel the same effects that we get when we consume alcohol.
Most of our processed food and sodas contain HFCS as a sweetener so on a biological level as we consume soda after soda, and sugary food after sugary food, we are walking around intoxicated all day.
For this reason, we are seeing a rise in fatty liver disease, a disease usually found exclusively in alcoholics, across cultures that consume a heavy Western Diet.
This realization about the effect of HFCS on the body, and his central argument that we consume way too much sugar (especially in liquid form via sodas, coffees, and energy drinks) is leading to an obesity epidemic, really got me thinking about the foods I was consuming on a daily basis.
At the time I was working straight nights on the ambulance and I was really beginning to notice my uniform was getting tighter and tighter.
I was living on soda and lattes, believing the caffeine in it would keep me alert and awake at night, but were the sugary drinks really a major contributor to my weight gain?
So I decided to conduct a little experiment to find out.
I cut out all sugary beverages for 1 month.
No soda, no coffee, no gatorade, etc… and instead only drank water.
This was not easy. My body was addicted to the sugar and caffeine.
Within days I had headaches and was extremely irritable as my body detoxified, but within a week or so, something amazing began to happen.
As I began to recover from my sugar addiction I became more awake and alert, no longer experiencing the highs and lows from drinking sugary beverages.
The weight also began to come off.
Having changed nothing else except replacing sugary beverages with water, I lost 10 pounds over 30 days and my clothes began fitting much better again.
The theory about sugar being a leading causal factor in obesity was validated in my experiment since I could observe its effects first hand.
Since then, I rarely consume soda anymore, reserving it mainly for those times that I eat out. In fact, I really don’t even like the taste of soda anymore. It is really sweet and has a strange taste that I never noticed when I was consuming it on a daily basis.
This little experiment 10 years ago started a domino effect in my interest in how the foods we consume affect our bodies, especially on a biological level, and ultimately lead me down the path to adopting a plant-based diet.
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