I wanted to give an update to my plant-based dietary efforts this week and also thought there were a couple other things on my mind worth acknowledging/admitting to. Thank goodness people tend to become wiser as they get older…
- Plant-based diets do not make you stronger, that’s for sure. BUT, they do keep you healthy and help you maintain a healthy body-weight. I’ve been eating a plant-based diet for about 18 or 19 months now. I won’t call myself a vegan or a vegetarian as that’s not completely accurate, but I will tell you that I consume animal products (dairy, meat, poultry, pork, etc.) only about 2% of the time. Here is what I’ve learned:
- Plant-based diets always get big criticism for their cost, well, let me tell you we spend about 35% less at the grocery store each week than we used to. When you’re not buying family packs of chicken breasts each week, plus all the other animal protein products, your grocery bill takes a nose-dive. We used to spend around $100/week on groceries and now we average between $50-70/week.
- I eat copious amounts of carbohydrates and maintain a lower body weight than I have in about 10 years. Read into the details there however you want, but I have zero cravings as compared to the way I used to eat (high protein, moderate fat, low/moderate carbohydrate).
- I’m reducing my risk of a variety of diseases – cancer being the most notable. Cancer risk has been (via credible research) linked to the consumption of animal products, especially dairy. The cancer reason is 100% why I started this endeavor in the first place as cancer has left its mark on my family.
- You can also reduce your risk of a variety of diseases by eating lots of plants and lean meats.
- Here’s the biggie: MY STRENGTH LEVELS ARE NOTABLY LOWER than they were before I embraced this dietary lifestyle. Initially, I thought this was a pregnancy by-product issue, but Arabella is now 16-months old, so clearly, that’s no longer the problem. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t morphed into a weakling, I am usually the strongest female in any room (unless Kelsey is around…), just not by such a large margin anymore! Honestly, I’m not surprised I haven’t been able to gain strength, but I am shocked I haven't been able to come close to achieving pre-pregnancy strength levels.
- Speed squats and/or speed deadlifts triumph over Olympic lifts each and every day of the week in terms of the MOST efficient way to improve explosiveness and strength (I feel like I preach this at least once a week). But, if you consider yourself a strength coach, you better have an excellent knowledge base about how to implement all aspects of strength-speed training – and this includes the Olympic lifts.
- In the past (thankfully, this is years in the past) I may have been overheard saying something to the effect of “I don’t get it why parents always use their kids as an excuse for not getting to workout. Just commit the time.” And I guarantee whatever variation of this statement I actually used would have been laced with some pretty heavy cynicism. But, I will now admit – as a parent myself – that fitting training into the details of every day is quite a challenge. But, I often remind myself that while I'm training for a lot of personal goals, I'm also training to set an example for my daughter. I want her to see that training is an essential and healthy part of being a responsible adult and something I want her to learn to embrace over time. So, if you’re a parent who fits training into their daily or weekly routine, give yourself a pat on the back!