I’ve always been fascinated with the human body, in particular how nutrition can influence its performance and general wellbeing. I’ve been a meat eater my whole life and apart from breakfast, I rarely eat a meal without meat. I enjoy the taste of meat, so plant based diets were just not for me.
Just before Christmas I watched ‘The Game Changer’ documentary, which studies the benefits of a plant based diet for athletes. I was fascinated but also a little sceptical. The documentary really challenged my thoughts and sparked my curiosity to learn more. My wife has been plant based for nearly 4 years and swears by the differences it has made to her overall general health. To be honest I’ve always taken what she says about a plant based diet with a pinch of salt and she’s always been determined to prove me wrong!
To educate myself and to make sure I could form a balanced opinion, I decided to cut my meat intake down to twice a week for the whole month of January. Yes this isn’t completely in line with the documentary but I enjoy meat and this is a huge cut considering the amount I normally eat. My plan was never to go completely plant based, I just wanted to see if cutting down my meat intake made me feel any different or if it affected my training.
One of my main concerns was that I didn’t believe plant based food could be interesting or tasty. My wife proved me wrong pretty quickly with some amazing meals! During the whole month of January I only ate 8 meat based meals and that was either chicken or salmon. The only difference I noticed was that my digestive system was a lot more regular. I also started to like food I’ve disliked for years; tomatoes and courgettes in particular. I will caveat this by saying they must be heavily spiced for me to eat them! I didn’t feel that cutting down on my meat take had effected my training or body in a positive or negative way, or so I thought.
At the beginning of February I went back to my ‘normal’ diet of meat in every meal. After 4 days I noticed that my joints, in particular my knees, ankles and shoulders were really aching when I got out of bed. I’m approaching 50 and train hard, so aching joints was a common occurrence for me. However, I realised that I hadn’t actually noticed any significant joint pain at all during January. Could this just be a coincidence? Could it be that the weather was a little colder which was affecting my joints? I decided to continue with the experiment for the whole of February, just to see if the mainly plant based diet was making a difference. Guess what – it absolutely does! I’m not saying my aches and pains have disappeared but my body feels far better than it has in years.
I could never go 100% plant based as I enjoy meat, but the benefits of cutting my intake down to twice a week has had a huge impact on my physical body. I now actually enjoy a plant based diet but please don’t tell my wife she was right………
Stay at home. Stay safe.
Make the Change!