Why I Stopped Eating Poultry: It’s Not What You Think

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Jason Silva

 

One insignificant decision, good or bad, can alter the course of one’s life forever. The changes occur like a domino effect. One domino tilts forward causing a forward motion and for as long at another lie ahead, the movement is continuous.

 The “domino effect” is a great metaphor for how we choose to live. I say “choose” because the action is voluntary. Throughout our life, we can opt to remain unchanged and hold on to our conceptual beliefs, moral convictions, and unwavering attitudes or we can decide to open our mind and open our heart to the unknown.  For me, the later is working its magic!

Four days remain for me to finish reading, The Happy Vegan by Russell Simmons.  A goal for 2016 was to seek more education, so I chose (there’s that word again) to work on a Master’s degree.  Monday ended my first class and the second course starts in four days.  Simmons book is a quick read.  I enjoy his style of writing. He is practical and deliberate and precise.

I am reading the book because I need clarity on what it means to be a vegetarian.

My domino effect goes like this.

In 2014, I competed in my first figure competition. The training took my already wholesome diet to a more sophisticated level of eating clean (insert link). Building muscle mass requires more than throwing up weights.  Depending on your fitness goal, increasing muscle mass requires eating significant amounts of protein.  Because I don’t eat red meat (since 1994), my go to was poultry and seafood.

Toward the later part of 2015, I was getting tired of eating chicken and turkey.  Thoughts about giving up both on a regular basis occasionally plagued my brain, but I wasn’t quite ready to give up the likes of homemade turkey burgers and turkey chili.

January 2016 rolls around, and without doing much research, I take the plunge.  I decide to give up the chicken and turkey and go with more seafood and more plant-based protein.

I was consistent until February 7th, SuperBowl 2016.  The weekend was busy and for the first time in a month, I failed to plan— I was stuck for meal prep.  In a haste and, in spite of my goal, I bought chicken breast.  For the next two weeks, I ate chicken.  Then something happened.

The unexpected.

The hot flashes returned!

HOTFLASH

HOT FLASH!

 

For most of 2015, I experienced hot flashes from hell!  From deep within, an insane and intense radiating heat ignited then spread to every part of my body extending to my scalp. I’d look like someone threw a pot of water in my face.  By 8:30 in the morning my clothes were sweat-stained. As sad as it was, I don’t believe in hormone replacement therapy or any types of medication.

I was just going to adjust my wardrobe and deal with shit.  Since the summer was only a few months away, I could dress half-naked when needed.

By the end of January, I noticed less frequency-almost no hot flashes, but I did not make an immediate connection.  The ah-ha moment was after Superbowl weekend when I started eating chicken breast again.  The hot flashes returned with venom.  They increased in frequency and in intensity.

How on earth could chicken breast affect my hot flashes??  I searched online for a connection between chicken and hot flashes.  Nada!  Zilch!  I could not find a connection.  Furthermore, I was buying Lancaster County Poultry from a nearby Farmers Market. “Lancaster County has the highest density of organic farms in Pennsylvania and one of the highest in the country.” Their chickens are said to be all natural, free of growth hormones, pesticides, and fed a vegetarian diet.

The effects may be a coincidence, my body is rejecting the meat, or perhaps something that is in the chicken.  I don’t know.  The fact is that currently and since I stopped eating poultry, the only time I sweat profusely is during a workout. When the intense summer heat arrives, I will see what happens.

Also, when I get more time, I plan to read, Eat Right 4 Your Type. The premise of the book is that not all foods are suitable for all blood types and based on one’s “genetic code” and “characteristics,” they are predisposed to certain illnesses. It is an interesting theory that I will certainly explore.

Okay I know, I got off track.

After two weeks (February 21, 2016), I returned to plant based, and seafood as my protein source and the intense and unbearable hot flashes have almost entirely disappeared.  I no longer walk around looking like someone threw a bucket of water in my face.

Is this a coincidence?  I don’t know.  Only time will tell, so for now, I chose to stay away from poultry.

More of the domino effect.

Two and half months have passed. Since I stopped eating chicken, turkey, and pork, which I never ate much of, I decided to continue eating hard-boiled eggs, omelets and scrambled eggs.

One problem!

At work one day, while eating my hard-boiled eggs, I started gagging and was so confused. I managed to eat three but tossed the fourth egg and have not eaten a hard-boiled egg since.

After the boiled egg incident, I tried an omelet but added about one and a half cups of Tuscan kale.  I was okay with that and wolfed it down.

So for now, no more hard boiled eggs.

All of the diet changes have led me to consider eliminating all animal-based foods from my diet but I need clarity.

Does that mean I will be a vegan, vegetarian, or something else?  Hmmm… Heck at this point, I don’t even know what to call myself. Not that I need a label, I am just curious.

Low and behold I found http://www.vegsoc.org.    The Vegetarian Society, who defines a vegetarian as:

“Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses (what’s that?), nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish* or by-products of slaughter.”

Pulses are beans and lentils. 🙂

This definition may be debatable for some; I was curious from hearing people declare themselves as “vegan” or “vegetarian.”  At this point, rather than get hung up on a label; I am proceeding slowly. As I sort through the particulars of plant-based protein sources and diets, I will continue my diet without the poultry and eat seafood as needed and continue to educate myself on meatless meals.  Plans include more figure competitions, so I still need a daily intake of a substantial amount of protein.

My fitness plans include more figure competitions, so I still need a daily intake of a substantial amount of protein. I need to continue researching and find out what will work for me.  I believe there is no cookie-cutter approach to diet (lifestyle) and nutrition.  What works for one does not work for all; therefore, I have lots of tweaking to do.

Are you vegan? Are you a vegetarian or another identify with another label?  Are you a bodybuilder or gym rat who lives on a plant-based diet?  If so, I need you.  Please comment and share your experience or advice.

Thanks for stopping by and make it a great day!

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After A Workout, Do this!

After a good workout, what should you do?

Eat!

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What should you eat you after a workout?

Healthy food such as:

  A complex carb + lean protein = Fuel & nourishment

One of my favorite summer post morning workout meals are steel cut oats with Jersey fresh blueberries.

I cook my steel oats two cups at a time in the crock pot. I prepare the oats according to package instructions, but I like to add my little twist to them.

What’s my spin? One medium to large peeled Fuji or Gala apple per cup of oats. One tablespoon of cinnamon, ground flax-seed, chia seeds, and a teaspoon of nutmeg. I also use part water and part almond milk (original).

With the oats already cooked, I don’t have to cook when I arrive home from the gym. I scoop out a half cup of cooked oats, toss in fresh blueberries and a little almond milk (to loosen ’em up) and warm up the cereal in the microwave. Yummy, filling and full of fiber!  Fiber keeps the bowels moving, helps with cholesterol, blood sugar levels and maintaining healthy weight.  Nuff said!!  Lol!

I used to add bananas, but my trainer and friend hipped me to the sugar content. While training for my first figure competition, I really had to watch my sugar content, so due to the sugar, I reduced my banana intake.

While bananas are high in potassium (422 mg), high in carbs (27g), which are great for runners, they also contain a decent amount of sugar (14g).

Depending on your fitness goals, you may need to watch your sugar intake.

During the school year, when my schedule is tight, I prep the oats the same way. I pack the oats and take them to work with me and they serve as a morning snack. A full crock pot lasts me about a week.

If you are confused about the carb thing, it’s not as complicated at you think.  After reading, Tosca Reno’s, The Eat Clean Diet Recharged (which I’ve mentioned before), I got a better understanding of the “Good (complex) Carb” vs. the “Bad (simple) Carb” sensation.

The better or good carbs are known as complex carbohydrates.  The other carbs… are know as simple carbohydrates.  For more information on carbs, check out the list at the end of this post.

Today’s lean protein choice is a simple one.

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Hard boiled eggs (my lean protein source).

I boil about 18 eggs in advance and store them in the fridge. Again, if I don’t feel like cooking an omelet, I grab four eggs (two egg whites). The eggs are an excellent source of protein (6g of protein per egg).

Concerned about cholesterol?

According to the Mayo Clinic, 100% of the 186 mg of cholesterol is found in an egg is in the yolk of the egg. You can eliminate the cholesterol by only eating the egg white.

Okay, so if you’re a vegan or don’t eat a lot of meat, I didn’t forget about you. No problem! There are plenty of healthy protein alternatives, check out Health.com Top 13 Vegan and Vegetarian and Protein Sources. Seriously, I see a vegan life in my future.

Why Eat After A Workout?

Easily put, your body needs fuel… BEFORE and AFTER your workout.   I’ve read some complex articles on the topic, but I’ll try to keep this simple.

Like a car, your body needs fuel to perform optimally.The body needs a good source of fuel before you workout so you have the energy throughout your workout. No two bodies are the same.

How much and what you eat BEFORE your workout depends on the activity, the intensity, the duration, and your fitness goals. Of course you don’t want to overeat, but also for the sake of “losing weight,” you should avoid working out on an empty stomach because it is ineffective and wastes the time spent in the gym.

Remember the goal is to maintain a healthy lifestyle not to adapt an extreme diet that is unhealthy, unrealistic and something that you cannot keep up with for any great length of time. Beware of all the fad diets; they don’t work.

So after your workout, you’re feeling all good and pumped up. But now you have to complete the last step and refuel the body.

AFTER your workout, the faster the protein and carbohydrates get into your body the better. 

In one way or another, you’ve broken down and burned out your muscles.  The final step is to eat well (within the hour if possible) to nourish the body and allow your muscles to rebuild and repair.  If you don’t eat, the “rebuilding” process will not occur and you will have wasted valuable time and energy.

As soon as I walk off the gym floor, I head to the locker room. I wash my hands, drink a protein shake and eat a couple of  plain unsalted rice cakes. I learned this from my friend and trainer during my figure competition training. I usually drive straight home.

When I get home, the real post-workout meal gets wolfed down.

On this particular day, my post workout meal was the steel oats and hardboiled eggs.

Okay so I said way more than I planned in this post.  However, I felt necessary to elaborate because if you’re trying to change your lifestyle and get fit, you must learn to eat better.

You can work out 24/7, but if you skip meals, eat crap (processed foods) before or after your workout, eat garbage on your rest days, you won’t see results.  I am asked about what and how I eat, so I’m taking the time to share what I’ve learned with you.

Think consistency. There are no easy fixes. Think lifestyle!

I hope this info helps.

Keep it movin’ 🙂

Additional Readings

The Carbohydrate Manifesto

CDC Nutrition For Everyone- Carbohydrates

Good Carbs, Bad Carbs October – Bread

Post Workout Nutrition