Thursday, July 18, 2013

Vegan Or Low Carb? Which Is The Best?

It's funny what kind of change 10 days can bring into your life.  10 days ago I was re-capping about the week before and boo hoo-ing about my arm burn and deep scratch, which now looks a lot better, albeit not completely gone.  I had just been to a restaurant that served up more meat than a person should have in a quarter of a year.  I loved it, yet I felt awful afterward.  Although I had really not seriously considered it, I quote myself saying in that post, "I swear I'm going off meat next Tuesday...maybe"  That was my attitude.  Kind of a "whatever happens, happens" feel to it.

You know how they say that your caloric needs lessen slightly every 5 years as you age?  Don't believe it!  My caloric needs have lessened in less than a year to the point that I gain weight if I eat one good meal a day.  And I don't mean loading up and having seconds.  I mean eating a medium serving of an entree with a salad.  The next day, the scale is up at least 2 pounds.  And it seemed to happen all at once.  One month I was enjoying food and using it up with the activity I did and the next month, bam!  5 pounds up, and the next month 10 pounds up.  The whole thing is compounded with the fact that I can't exercise as much as I once did.  Just a couple years back, 20 year olds had nothing on me.  I could go to the gym to the pump classes and cycle classes and burn it up.  I'd think smugly to myself, "my gosh, girlfriend, can you not do any more than that?  Look at me.  I'm at LEAST 15 years older than you.  Get with the program!!!"  Not any more.... no, no I'm not even in the running with the younger ones and I don't even try.  I'm like, "Oh, I'm just here for myself.  Competition is so silly.  She must need attention, showing off like that.  I'm doing what I can do...."  That's if I go at all.  I need to save my energy to get up and down the stairs!  Lol!  It's so sad because I love to get out and want to do things like mountain bike, hike, and dance.  
 I've changed my diet quite a bit.  For one thing, I got a high powered blender so I can make green smoothies and I drink one every day.  But I still eat meat, cheese, milk, high carbs, sugar, breads and pastas.  I've done some reading about low carb diets and vegan diets.  The thing is I know I just can't do it on any kind of permanent or  regular basis.  I'm a realist.  I have a husband who wolfs down carbs and loves for me to join him in his decadence.  He says it's part of why he loves me, because I love to chow down with him once in awhile.  I work at a school that is full of snacks and events with foods that are less than optimum for a sensible diet.  I belong to a church where green jello salad is a staple of life and you are practically an outcast if you don't know how to make what is known as Funeral Potatoes.  Thus, I never seriously considered either of these two diets an option for me.

Until now.  I have read about two very compelling lifestyle changes that I believe are very doable.  One is going low carb for just two days a week and the rest of the week eating sensibly, but with regular food.  The other is going vegan every day until 6 pm,  whereupon you can eat a sensible dinner.  Both claim to have outstanding results.  

In the VB6 Diet (Vegan Before 6:00 pm), simply eat healthy vegan foods, which means no meat, dairy or dairy by-products until 6 pm.  The book, VB6 by Mark Bittman has been on the New York Times best-selling list for awhile now.  The book contends that you don't have to feel deprived or bored with the foods you are allowed to eat before 6 pm.  For instance, on a Vegan diet you can still have ice cream if you make it with recipes like this one using coconut milk!  Bittman claims to have lost a hefty 35 lbs. soon after starting the lifestyle change.

In the 2 day per week Low Carb Diet, it's pretty self explanatory.  You need to limit your carb intake to 50 carbs per day and make lean proteins (eggs, fish, poultry) the central part of your diet.  The other 5 days you just need to eat sensibly and opt to get your carbs from healthier sources such as grains, fruits and non-starchy vegetables.  On the diet, 18 women and men were tested and they lost an average of 9.1 pounds and 7.5 pounds of body fat.  They also cut their LDL Cholesterol and lowered their blood sugar.  You can find the book called, The 2-day Diet:  Part-Time Diet--Full Time Results by Sari Harrar and Prevention Magazine.

I'm torn,  Both of these lifestyle changes seem like I could manage them, with planning.  On the one hand, the VB6 Diet seems easier because as long as you are eating Vegan, there doesn't seem to be a measured amount of food to worry about, like the Low Carb, where you need to keep track of carbs consumed. But the only result is the one Bittman claims to have gotten, where he says he lost 35 lbs.  The Low Carb Diet seems to have more case studies done and documented results from at least 18 people.  I'd be thrilled to lose 9.1 pounds in 6 weeks.  It's been pretty stagnant for awhile now, the scale moving mostly up.  So down more than one pound per week would be suh--weet!  Plus I could still have my fish and chicken!  I've already started a low carb board on Pinterest and have yet to look into many good recipes for the Vegan diet.  At any rate, one thing is clear.  I need some help if I am to combat my metabolism.  

So which one sounds the best to you?  And what are your suggestions? 


amy m said...

I love to eat, too, and for the first time in my life I'm yo-yoing between diets out of desperation. I'm increasingly convinced that we become more sensitized to carbs as we age, so I'm trying to avoid them, but it's SO hard!!

A GAL NEEDS... said...

Wow, thanks for the insight. It must be something like that because, like you, carbs never fazed me before! Good luck!