In Week 3 of my journey I decided to drop Bright Line Eating (BLE) and transition into a way of eating that I’d done before and really enjoyed. It wasn’t that BLE wasn’t working for me, I had lost 13.6 pounds in two weeks. It is a great fast way to lose weight and never feel hungry! But it’s a lot of structure. And I don’t think I need that much structure because I’m not that addicted to food.
WFPB SOS-Free stands for Whole Food Plant-Based Sugar, Oil, and Salt Free. It’s a mouthful, I know! But it’s such an easy and natural way of eating for me. I love the way I feel when I’m fuelled on healthy whole foods. Many people think this way of eating is very restrictive, but for me it feels exactly the opposite, like a whole world of food has opened up to me, with no restrictions, no deprivation.
There are slightly different variations on this way of eating, and I’m not really following any of them to the letter. My basic philosophy is:
“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”— Michael Pollan
What does this mean? It means eating real food, including whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nothing overly processed, nothing that contains any ingredients you can’t pronounce or don’t know what they are, no chemicals or preservatives. It means eating when you are hungry and only until you are satisfied, never overeating. It means eating mostly vegetables, fruit, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and all the healthy natural whole foods.
I got into the WFPB way of eating by reading books and watching talks mostly from Rip Esselstyn (https://plantstrong.com/), his father Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. (http://www.dresselstyn.com/site/), Dr. John McDougall (https://www.drmcdougall.com/), and Dr. Michael Greger (https://nutritionfacts.org/).
I eat what I want, when I want, as much as I want. If I don’t feel hungry at breakfast, I don’t eat breakfast. If I’m hungry at breakfast I fill a big bowl with steel cut oats, banana, berries, flax, and maybe some walnuts and I don’t measure a thing. I eat until I’m satisfied. If all I want to eat all day is potatoes, then I eat potatoes that day. If I feel like having grapes, I have grapes. If I’ve had a big bowl of spaghetti squash smothered in crushed tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms and lentils, and I’m still hungry, I eat another bowl! My food tastes so good! And it’s so satisfying! And once you have the rule that certain things are just not food (i.e. sugar, oil, salt, chemicals, animals and their by-products) then you realize all the wonderful food that is available to you in the world. It’s colourful and nutritious and, once your taste buds are reawakened and detoxed from all the chemicals and oil you’ve been consuming, it’s the most delicious way to eat.
To be able to eat as much as I want whenever I want AND steadily lose weight – WOW! It doesn’t even seem real! But it is my reality. This is what works for me. It might not work for everyone, some people might need more rules, more structure, and I would definitely recommend Bright Line Eating if you need a more structured plan. But this is how I want to eat for the rest of my life, until I reach my goal weight and beyond, because it just makes me feel so good.
So what exactly am I eating?
I’ve mentioned breakfast already, oats are my go-to though I might have a tofu stir-fry with potatoes, or toast (sprouted whole grain bread, Ezekial, or rye bread usually, I read ingredients checking for sugar, fat, chemicals, and choosing the whole grains) with a little natural nut butter and an apple or banana.
I might have a big salad for lunch with lots of different vegetables, fruit, beans, chickpeas, nuts, or tofu. I add spices like black cumin seeds, cayenne pepper, or a salt free mix, and nutritional yeast. I don’t usually make my own dressings, though there are lots of great recipes, but instead I’ll just dress simply with a little balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar, or the juice of a lemon or lime, or a bit of salsa or some tahini and sriracha. Now that the weather is getting cooler I like to add hot things on top of my cold greens and vegetables, so I might bake a sweet potato and chop it up, warm up some black or pinto beans and heat up some tomatoes or salsa. The warm food seems to make the greens more palatable to me in colder weather.
Often times for lunch though I will just reheat leftovers from last night’s dinner. I always make too much food so I have lots of leftovers in the refrigerator ready to heat up. I like easy! I like effortless! So I’ll bake a whole tray of potatoes in the oven, a mix of russet and sweet potatoes, then I’ll keep the leftovers for air frying throughout the week. Depending on how you slice them they make delicious crispy chips or fries to add to a dish or enjoy on their own. I’ll make an enormous stir-fry of vegetables, a big pot of brown rice, a huge pot of chili, a big vegetable stew … and then I always have easy options on hand. It’s important to have good food easily available, especially when you’re hungry. Because if getting a pizza is the easiest thing to do or going through the drive-thru window is the path of least resistance when you are hungry then it becomes really hard to resist. You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you need to rely on your willpower to get you through.
There are tons of recipes, but I don’t really follow any. I just throw things together, add different spices and condiments and enjoy. The same stirfry or stew can taste a variety of different ways depending on which spices and condiments you add when you serve it up. I usually pick up my groceries on Saturday and then batch prep on Sunday. Honestly, it’s not even that much prep. It’s mostly washing fruits and vegetables and putting them into storage containers organized in my fridge for easy assembly. I might make a big stir-fry or cook a pot of rice or bake a tray of potatoes or I might not, depending on what food I’ve purchased and the basic idea I have in my head about what I’m going to eat that week.
I like to have kind of an idea, but no for sure schedule and plan. I like flexibility. I totally understand that other people might prefer or need a lot more structure, but I prefer less structure, more flexibility. I write everything into my food journal as it’s coming to the plate or after I’ve eaten it. I photograph every plate of food so I have a visual reminder and can go back and record my food in the journal later if I miss it at meal time.
My weight loss may not be as rapid eating this way, but it is steady, and this is the way of eating that I know I can easily sustain for the rest of my life, which is important if you don’t want to gain everything back later. It’s a lifestyle, not a diet.