Thursday, January 15, 2015

Delicious Food is to Healthy Living as Garbage Food is to….?

It may be a revelation for some that Jess and I no longer claim to be “VEGAN”.  We lived on a plant based diet for about five months and learned a great deal from this experience.  We learned how to use things like nutritional yeast and the proper way to use and prepare tofu, without it tasting like a watery, stagnant mess.  Additionally, we learned that we will never learn to love things like Daiya (vegan cheese product) or Tofurky (the bratwurst seemed to come straight from the food laboratories in hell).  We began feeling very deprived in our plant based lifestyle and therefore began consuming more of the wrong kinds of calories.  We also began moving away from our core belief of reducing or eliminating processed foods.  Many of the protein substitutes used in vegan meals are highly processed and pretty icky.
As a result we began eating in the manner we had to lose the weight and get fit to begin with.  And on one cheat night we found ourselves perched like birds of prey over our favorite all natural burger place, Larkburger.  These burgers are great, all the fixins’ are prepared in house including sauces and the burgers are grass fed black angus…They are the bomb!  Being that we were on a budget, as a result of both of us playing the broke college part perfectly, we decided that our cheat meal night would be Larkburger for the grown-ups and Burger King for the kiddos (get off my case…these are not your children).  We stopped at Burger King first and afterward as we pulled up to Larkburger, we decided to leave the bag full of shamefully alluring cheap fast food in the car.  The smell inside the restaurant is intoxicating and nearly moves me to tears as we are placing our order.  When we had our food, we walked back to the car to take this mass of greasy, fatty, carb-loaded burgers home to enjoy.  However, when we climbed back into the car after having just marinated in the smell of freshly made buns, burgers, and truffle fries; the smell of Burger King was nearly unbearable.  The whole car smelled like plastic and the synthetic smell of the food we were going to be feeding our children made me feel a little less like the world’s greatest dad that night.

Now, I am not going to tell anyone that the key to a fit lifestyle or smaller waste-line is to eat Larkburger every day.  That would basically be the worst advice I could provide.  What I will claim, however, is that even though the Larkburger may have had more calories than what we were giving to our children, they are in fact better for our bodies.  Our bodies are ill adapted to consuming the additives in many of the foods that define the American palate.  So much so, in fact, that our world is now defined by chronic illness and obesity.  When our bodies cannot process the foods that we provide it, the implications include altering the bacterial environment in our gut, which researchers are finding is enough to spark weight gain.  Other implications include illness contracted as a result of salmonella (some believe that if our food animals were fed a grass and vegetarian based diet that it would nearly eliminate salmonella). 

The bottom line here is that when we are sick, we are sedentary.  And as we move through life, seemingly leaping from one illness to the next, there is virtually no time between bouts of the ick, work, kids, school or whatever we have chosen to fill our days with to make our health the focus it should be.

Our favorite burgers, even the all natural ones, are still something that should be consumed as a treat, nothing with this much saturated fat is good to eat regularly, however, choosing to put natural, whole foods in our bodies is a great place to start a journey to health.  You may find you have more energy, better cognitive ability and a better overall mood.  Perhaps, these changes will be motivation enough for a timid newcomer to the Happy Running Movement to take their first uncertain steps in a new pair of overpriced Saucony’s and trot, run, scoot or shuffle down the road towards their first mile!!

Happy Running!!

Rob and Jess