Almost always, when describing a low-fat Whole Foods Plant Based Starch-Smart lifestyle with most people, their response is something like, “Oh, I could never give up my [some sort of meat], and cheese, [etc.]”. The unfortunate truth is that they literally do not know what they are missing.
When it comes to diet, we tend to consider any healthy change a sacrifice. We consider eliminating a favorite food a terrible loss. In reality it is simply a trade. We make trades every day. We buy a car, home, clothing, etc. and we are happy to trade the money for the item. Even if we have to save money for an extended time, the benefit of the purchase is easy to realize. It is an instant gratification.
Many health inhibiting foods are also instant gratification. This type of gratification, however, is an illusion. The gratification is mental; satisfying a learned taste, addiction and / or familiarity. For example, smoking a cigarette is very pleasurable to someone who is addicted to nicotine. Satisfying the addiction provides the illusion of feel-good, but it is not real. A smoker deprived of a cigarette suffers powerfully unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. If they didn’t know better, they could easily believe cigarettes are good for them. After all, it makes them feel good!
No one wants to give up things that are strongly enjoyed, especially when any reward for doing so is unclear. When it is presented that eliminating meats, fish, fats, oils, dairy, etc. and eating a low-fat, Whole Foods Plant Based Starch-Smart diet makes us healthy, few are able to truly comprehend just what that means. Even fewer knows what health actually feels like or have ever truly experienced it. Everyone believes they are or have experienced health, but their perception is relative to how they feel, and how they have felt. It is very hard to understand what something feels like if you have never felt it before. Somewhat like trying to describe what a color looks like to someone who was born blind.
The feel-good I am talking about occurs when all animal products are traded in for Whole Food Plant Based foods in addition to the elimination of oils and fat containing foods (any ingredient containing greater than 10% fat). The instant gratification feel-good from damaging foods, drugs, nicotine, etc. is mental. Your body does not “really” feel good. The feel-good from a low-fat WFPB lifestyle, on the other hand, is physical. The feel-good is real because your body is free from fighting inflammation and toxins that are generated in the digestion process of animal based foods and the insulin resistance of fat. The problem is that the benefit is not instant. It takes many months to clear the toxins, inflammations and insulin resistance.
In my case, this level of feel-good was discovered completely by accident. My diet evolved to low-fat, WFPB in a trial-and-error effort to control Type-1 diabetes. I had no imagination or expectation about feel-good. My objective was focused on blood-sugar control. After about a year, I come to realize that I was living a level of feel-good that was beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Over the years the source of this feel-good has been confirmed time and time again, losing it with every accidental slip or contamination. That level of feel-good is so valuable; I am always desperate to get it back.
Upon feeling what insulin sensitive feels like as opposed to insulin resistance and the freedom from inflammations, aches, pains stiffness, tiredness and etc., the sacrifice of animal products and fats are no sacrifice at all. It is a trade-up to something profoundly better. It is an investment that continues to escalate, making myths of traditional understanding of aging. Loss of muscle mass and flexibility, joint pain, stiffness, arthritis, stamina, just to name a few, no longer appear to be symptoms of aging. Clearly, these losses are simply due to the cumulative damage inflicted over years of animal product consumption.
So, while the gratification may not be instant, the payoff is huge. It is like climbing a steep, tall, rugged mountain and discovering Shangri-La on the other side. Each slip, however - consuming anything made with or containing any kind of oil (there is no such thing as “a little bit”), any ingredient with over 10% calories from fat, any animal product - is at least a month slide back down that mountain slope. Another slip inside that month knocks you further down, mounting months on top of months of loss. This is why so few people make it to the top. It is why so few people have any idea what is on the other side of that mountain; why so few people have any idea what they are missing.
While I cannot imagine any sufficiently descriptive words, I can simply say that what you are trading for is an extreme feeling of life and physical freedom. Where the word “tired” takes on a whole new meaning where you never feel drained. Where physical effort is no effort and you never, never ever have any inclination to exclaim anything like, “I’m too old for this!” …Kind of like Janette and Alan Murray, deep in their 60’s running a full marathon every day for 366 days in a row – running the entire circumference of Australia - and still not tired!
And about that taste; it seems that you would be sacrificing great tasting foods for health. I certainly thought that, but I didn’t care since nothing I previously ate tasted even close to how good I feel. As it turns out, however, my taste has changed. All the fruits, veggies and starches that I used to think was totally bland, now tastes overwhelmingly better than the absolute best steak I had ever eaten. So much better that, now, just the sight or smell of a steak, fish, barbeque, etc. is just disgusting.
Sacrifice? …Not even a little bit!