As I mentioned before in the acid/alkaline page it is best to avoid animal products and processed foods to heal your eczema and to stay eczema free. Animal products are highly acidic, and take forever to digest in the body (anywhere from 24-72 hours!) which that energy could be used on healing the body. Optimal digestion is so key in healing your eczema, as our gut holds 80% of our immune system and is one of the main channels of elimination. Alkaline foods (plant based foods) give us all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals and energy our body needs to repair and restore from our organs, bones, tissues and skin!
This post is to provide some easy tips to make a transition to a plant based diet fool proof. It’s not as hard as you think, and once you get the hang of it, it will be like second nature!
- First off don’t think of it as a daunting undertaking to switch up your diet, it’s a lot easier than you are lead to believe. If it’s easier for you to taper off animal products instead of eliminating them in one go then do so. For myself it was a progression over years. I first eliminated dairy, pork, red meat then chicken then eggs and fish. If I would’ve known more of the environmental impact, animal suffering and how high animal protein diets contribute to poor health, I would’ve cut it all out in one go. My education on veganisim kind of gradually happened. Now after a year and a half being vegan I will never go back to the SAD diet (standard american diet). My eyes are wiiiiide open to how detrimental animal products are to my body. I’m feeling so much better on being fueled solely by plants and I’m setting myself up for ️awesome health in the future! It’s best to stay educated on how powerful plant foods are to the body and the impact on the environment that we can have every time we “vote” with our forks. Some great resources on this topic are: the documentaries: Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, Food Inc., Hungry for Change and this awesome talk by Gary Yourofsky The Best Speech Ever. One of my favourite books on how our high protein diets are causing our illness is The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. Staying educated on the power that food has on our health will keep you on the right path! Check out these books for more information…
- Don’t get trapped in the “fake meat” substitutes too much. I don’t mind having some of these alternative products once in a while, but I keep them to a waaaay minimum and I make sure they’re GMO free and organic (soy is highly GMO’d so make sure it’s clean). These products can be highly processed, too salty and have preservatives and such in them. The point is to stick to whole foods that are as minimally processed as possible. For example it’s best to have tempeh over tofu because tempeh is fermented and contains more of the whole soy bean, tofu is a bit more processed. Opt for brown rice over white because it contains more nutrients and fiber as white is stripped and polished. Again once in a while it is all good, but truly at the beginning stages of healing you will want to stick to clean, simple whole foods, the closer to nature as it came out of the ground the better. Fake cheeses should also be used once in awhile or not at all. Instead, blend some soaked cashews, a boiled potato and some nutritional yeast to get a tasty “cheese” sauce (note to self, post a detailed recipe on this later ☺️). As food author Michael Pollan likes to say, “if it’s a plant eat it, if it was made in a plant don’t”. Stick to foods in its most natural state as possible.
- Eating healthy is not expensive!! I don’t know why there’s this misconception that plant based foods are expensive. Rice, bananas, potatoes, fruits and veg are some of the cheapest foods on the planet! I can get a bunch of bananas (about 8 in one bunch) for $1.37!!! That’s 800 clean calories and carby goodness to fuel my body! The money that you save from not purchasing animal products can go to more yummy fruits and veg! Tips to keeping food costs low are shop in season, check out farmers markets & buy local, check out Asian markets as well, always look for sales, buy in bulk (I shop at BJ’s, like a Cost-co & I also buy bulk grains, beans, nuts & seeds from bulk dispensers like in Whole Foods-much cheaper because your not paying for packaging and labels etc) and don’t buy too much produce if you can’t eat it all before it spoils, I usually shop once a week for groceries and freeze greens and super ripe fruit for smoothies if it’s too much to eat before it goes off. Stick to the produce section and stay away from the packaged items. Box food as I mentioned before are usually highly processed, way too salty with lots of preservatives and cost more. You can probably make whatever it is in the box for less, with cleaner ingredients and zero additives and preservatives. Check out The Environmental Working Group for their dirty dozen list so you can be aware of which fruits and veggies have the highest pesticide count so you can make sure to purchase these organically. Ideally it’s best to eat everything organic but if you can’t then this guide will help you out. Do you best and always remember, it’s better to eat conventional produce than no produce at all!
- Don’t calorie restrict! Some people transition to a vegan diet and find they are too hungry and it’s because they aren’t eating enough. Animal products are calorically dense (and are also acidic, and full of saturated fat and cholesterol) so when you omit them you gotta get your calories from complex carb rich foods like fruits, starches and whole grains. These are nutrient dense, zero saturated fat & zero cholesterol, packed with fiber & fuel powered foods that will keep you satiated. Stay far away from carbs like processed white flour foods, white sugar, soda, pastries ect. Think of how you are eating before and what you would eat as a side dish, maybe brown rice & steamed veggies, eat DOUBLE of it. Carbs don’t make you fat, don’t believe that myth…drowning your food in oils and eating high fat foods like animal products will! Eat until you’re full, don’t go crazy with 12 bananas in one sitting if you can’t handle it, just “Carb Up” until you’re satisfied. I will put about 4-6 bananas, a cup of mangos and maybe a cup of papaya in a smoothie with water and that is a super filling breakfast for me that last me a few hours (I’ll add a little ginger for a kick and a tablespoon or so of hemp seeds for healthy fats and protein sometimes). Sometimes I’ll do half a watermelon for breakfast, then a smaller smoothie a bit later maybe some oranges after that until I’m ready for my “linner” (I eat my biggest meal earlier in the day for better digestion, before 6pm), then I’ll end the night with a green drink. Here’s one of my favourite ways to make baked potato wedges. You get the wonderful crunch with the addition of the cornmeal and the tasty carby goodness will keep you full! I’ll eat about 3 russet potatoes cut into wedges like this and have a large salad next to it and that’s a healthy, filling “linner” for me! If you’re trying to get the hang of how many calories you should be taking in, Cronometer is a great site to track your macronutrients, to ensure you’re hitting all of your levels on a plant based diet.
- Eating out while vegan is easier than you think! Many restaurants are very accommodating to the various diets and allergies that their customers have. When eating out, don’t be afraid to ask the waiter if a certain dish is made with any kind of animal product. They are their to provide you with a great experience and serve you the best food that shows off the establishment they work for. The chef will be more than willing to omit anything that you need and even add in extras of other veggies and such to your liking. You can always just order a bunch of sides and make a meal out of that! If they allow it, you can even get creative and make up your own dish… pull different ingredients from the menu and tell the waiter what you’d like. Remember, you are the paying customer, and they just want to serve and make you happy, don’t be afraid or think that you’re bothering them… they want you to tell your friends how accommodating they are and that they should try out that certain restaurant! Also, if you don’t use oils in your food you can also ask them to omit it, or use less when they are preparing your food. I find that the more “ethnic” type restaurants are the easiest to eat vegan or vegetarian in. I love Middle Eastern food and Thai food, and for Thai food I just watch out to make sure the dish doesn’t contain fish sauce, and sometimes they can omit it.
- Don’t be afraid of FRUIT! Check out this post HERE for more info!
- Look at this change as not a temporary diet. Although you are changing your diet, if you look at it more as a lifestyle change you will make the connection that this isn’t something to be done temporarily to heal my eczema or health issues, but a way of life to ensure amazing health for the future years to come! If you do this solely to restore your skin to great health, then start eating poorly again with acidic processed foods you will definitely feel the repercussions in your digestion, internal organs and your skin. Remember when breakouts show up on the skin, it’s because the body is using it to eliminate the toxins because the elimination channels (gut, liver and kidneys) aren’t eliminating properly. Don’t do all the hard work of cleansing the body to now go dump garbage back in. You don’t want all your efforts going to waste. Making the connection that veganisim isn’t only keeping you at optimal health, but also saving the lives of animals and our planet is even more of an incentive to continue on this wonderful compassionate lifestyle! When people see how you are glowing and you have boundless energy and such a passion for food as medicine, they will be curious and want in on your “magic”! Just tell them, “I’m powered by plants” and educate them on some vegan goodness! ✌️🌍💜