Protein, Fatigue, and Plant Life
Here We go With Protein Again
I blacked out at work in the middle of the vitamin department. I’m the health consultant, ready to serve, and I fall out hard. This is a series.
Ok, so I’m in my mid twenties, and I am healthy as a horse. I’m fit, I’m vegan, I run everyday. Well, at least that was my story. How much of it was true?
This was one of many blackouts I had over the course of about 6-12 months. In my mind I was the picture of health, but in reality, I was oh so broken. Depressed, barely eating, and living a bit rough.
Self Care Doesn’t Mean a Day at the Spa
Self care is SO important. I am no talking about the type of self care that means you go to the spa and get skin treatments and massages and fancy hairdos. I am talking about meeting your basic human needs. Food, water, sleep… I wasn’t doing that. I wasn’t feeding my body enough food to live. I wasn’t drinking water, I wasn’t sleeping. I was staying out til 2 or 3 in the morning, drinking and smoking, and then getting up to run at 6 am every day and going to work all day. Get off work, circle back to going out all night, rinse and repeat.
Y’all. Do not live like I did! Sleep. Eat. Don’t smoke. Drink very little alcohol, very much water. Eat. Eat a lot. A Plant Based Life requires lots of calories so do not restrict them.
Problem: Fatigue, Lightheadedness
I dredge up this unsavory bit of my past because I have had several conversations this week about the phases of going to a Plant Based Life, and how some people have experienced fatigue, or light headedness.
When it comes to protein, as long as you eat enough food, you will get enough protein. Period. No such thing as protein deficiency. You can have a vitamin deficiency, lacking in nutrients causing problems because you don’t eat enough food. Do you know anyone, past or present, who has suffered from lack of protein? Been hospitalized? OK, how about do you know anyone past or present that has suffered from gout, arthritis, heart disease stroke, or diabetes? What does the gen-pop eat? #PlantsWinEveryTime
You don’t need animal protein and it is not superior. The complete protein, followed by the need for vegans to food combine to get all their protein, is a myth from the 70’s that has been well debunked.
Animal protein contains all of the essential amino acids in the flesh (which it got from the plants it ate.) Eat the flesh, and your body has to break it back down into the separate amino acids, which are stored for assembly back into proteins. Very taxing work for your body, hard on your organs and gut.
MUCH MUCH easier on your body to get those amino acids from the plants, they don’t need to be broken down. You do not need to eat certain foods paired together at certain times, your body has a pool of amino acids ready for assembly, to be used at any time. So keep eating plants to fill the pools, and you’re good to go!
Here’s a whole post on protein if you want to learn more: Protein: Can We Get Enough From Plants?
It’s important to understand that you are going to need to eat A LOT more. We have been conditioned that weight loss takes calorie counting and excess exercise. Totally normal thought, with unhealthy results.
You must consume enough calories when you are active to sustain you. You can’t just eat salad. You really need to put some effort into adding beans and grains, pasta, avocado, peanut butter. Never think of limiting your caloric intake on the Plant Based plan.
This is great news!!! We can eat all we want!!!! True, but a very fit friend of mine recently told me that he seriously could not bring himself to eat one more apple, he was fatigued with eating! I had another friend resistant to switching because she was not interested in having to eat all day. (Truth moment: I do not relate to these probs, but they are legit.) To solve this dilemma, we want to look for calorie density. Go for that peanut butter, put your greens in smoothies. Smoothies are a great way to get calories without the eating overload.
Beans and rice are dense, pasta is dense. We love pasta! (Make it whole grain.) Avocados and bananas are dense. Fruit has lots of calories, as far as plants are concerned. Root vegetables, potatoes, sweet potatoes. If you only eat greens (which you should eat plenty of) you’ll be eating them all day. So grab ye an air fryer and an instant pot and a blender, and get some homefries, beans and rice, and smoothies going!
FYI: I do not recommend getting these calories from oil, but let’s save that post for another day.
Stop Being Young and Dumb
When I realized the error of my young dumb and broke ways, I started to feel better and heal myself. I got rid of those blackouts! I became stronger and livelier, and much much happier. When I eat enough calories, I can workout and run as much and as far as I want. When I eat enough calories, I don’t get lightheaded. I have really low blood pressure, and am super active, so I have to be sure to eat enough! (Not too tough for me, tbh, I love me some chowing down.) Anyone else act against their body’s best wishes when you were a young’n? Are you that young’n now? Listen up!
Case Study Of a Sad Man (Happy Ending)
About a year later, I had a young man come to me in the store looking for a supplement. I could tell he was depressed. I asked him what was really going on, and he told me he just couldn’t eat, he was feeling beside himself. He had recently come out to his family as a young black gay man in the south, and it did not go well. He was in true despair. I walked him over to the wall of vegan shakes, and said pick your favorite flavor. Drink it every day with frozen bananas and gobs of peanut butter. Drink your calories, it’s easier when you don’t feel like eating.
This gentleman came back about 6 months later looking for me. He was glowing, vibrant and happy, and he hugged me and thanked me. He had added back on a healthy weight and found a supportive friend base and had gone completely vegan. He really had a zest for life now. He told me that because I cared about him that day, he turned his life around. He told me that my words saved his life that day. He started drinking shakes, and he wouldn’t have eaten anything if he hadn’t done that. He started feeling better, and then he made a snowball of small changes leading him to where he as today. We legit stood there and cried together in the vitamin aisle. TRUE STORY!
GUYS! THAT is why I do what I do. Learn from my mistakes, learn from his mistakes, and learn from our wins! We did the thing! We claimed our health!
I have trial-and-errored every single thing out there. I can say with full integrity that I am the heathiest, the strongest I’ve ever been. I am the leader I need to be to share the light and help others change their life and change the world. Do you have any idea how humbling it felt to see this young man as a happy and thriving human who loved himself? I want to live every day like that day.
But I want to LOSE Weight…
I know many of you are thinking “what’s this have to do with me?” -you want to lose weight. Well, great, that’s super easy to do plant based. No matter how much you want to lose, promise me and yourself that you will eat enough, the weight comes off pretty easily, and you need to retrain your brain that its okay and encouraged to eat more. Calorie counting is for people eating meat, dairy and processed foods. Say Buh bye to that noise.
Win or Lose, when it comes to weight, calorie counting and restriction is garbage when you’re living the plant based life. It is 100% what you are eating that matters. Eat fiber, from food, limit or eliminate all animal products, live healthy and happy forever. (Well, much closer to forever.) I got you! Let me know if I can help.
Here’s. whole post on weight loss: So You Want to Lose Weight?
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