About a month ago I checked out the e-book VB6 by Mark Bittman from the library. I can't recall where I heard about the book but I like at least one other Mark Bittman book and the premise was interesting. Basically, it's about Mark's personal diet where he eats vegan until 6 pm and then eats whatever for dinner. In addition to the veganness he also avoids all processed food and refined flour and sugar before 6 pm.
The idea of the book resonated with me as I had already mostly converted to being a vegetarian at lunchtime. Not so much for personal health reasons but more for environmental/animal welfare reasons. It's not practical for our family to eat vegetarian so my eating a vegetarian lunch (which I rarely eat with the family) was working fine.
Back to the book. It was actually sort of annoying. He spent a lot of time saying it wasn't a diet diet book and then went on to talk about weight loss and dieting. And he seemed like he was trying too hard to convince the reader he was right (but if I didn't agree with him at least a little I wouldn't be reading, would I?) But I skimmed all of the book anyway. From what I can tell the last portion of the book is recipes and menu plans which were probably great but in e-book format on my phone that was a pain to read so I skipped it.
And since I read the book I've more or less been following the VB6 strategy. Gotta say, sugar and processed food are a lot harder to avoid than animal products. And for me it's really VBD (Vegan Before Dinner) which is sometimes at 5:30. One thing I did like about the book and Mark's style was his realism about "cheating" and being flexible. It's really about the overall habit and not any one incident of cheese on your taco salad (me, today).
So here's what I've been doing.
Breakfast. I used to mostly skip breakfast and typically just had a cup of coffee with cream. Now I cut out the cream (not vegan) and didn't replace with creamer (gross and definitely processed). Black coffee is actually fine and I've "cheated" a few times on lattes because we just got an espresso maker and if Mr. H is making me a morning latte I'm going to drink it!
And much more shocking than dropping cream in coffee is oatmeal. I've HATED oatmeal my entire life. In a pinch I could add a boatload of brown sugar, some nuts and a bunch of milk and cream and I could choke it down. But I've had a bizarre oatmeal conversion! I started liking it with milk and some sugar and nuts about 2 months ago and then to be vegan without refined sugar I cut the milk and sugar. So now I have oatmeal (cooked with water and pinch of salt) with chopped fruit and almonds. And I like it! Weird! My sister suggested stirring in a spoonful of peanut butter and that's good too. I'm not calling it "processed" food even if it is Skippy peanut butter :)
When I don't have time for oatmeal I've taken up eating whole wheat toast. No butter but it is SO good spread with half an avocado and a pinch of salt. Or I do some homemade, low sugar jam (some sugar, whatever) or peanut butter (processed, whatever). I'm not aiming for VB6 perfection awards here :)
Granted, we're only a month in and there has been cheating but I work well with "rules" even self imposed rules. We have a lot of candy and treats at work and now I can avoid them more easily. Maybe it's not so much about being able to avoid temptation but it's preventing decision fatigue. I don't have to decide--if it's processed, has sugar or has animal products it's out until dinner. Done.
One result is I'm probably drinking too much black coffee (the only work treat I have left) but whatever. Apparently coffee reduces risk of suicide so that's good. And some days, if I'm home I actually don't et enough food and then overdo it at dinner but overall I'm probably eating less crap.
Now that I think about it writing this, I'm not sure exactly why I'm doing this. But it is getting me in the routine of more whole grains, fruits and veggies and way fewer Tootsie Rolls from the jar at work so that's good. And I love the idea of being "free" after dinner to eat whatever I want. In fact I am currently drinking a glass of wine and thinking about eating one of the cupcakes in the fridge. Our neighbors got married and we got the extra (delicious!) cupcakes!
Has anyone else read VB6? I actually think my dad would like it (hi, dad) but I don't know anyone else doing this. We'll see how long it lasts. The approach is definitely a life long lifestyle change and honestly I think that's doable. As long as you aren't too rigid. And I'm not. Like last weekend when I attended a family event where hamburgers, chips and watermelon were the foods on offer. I wasn't going to fast or bring my own meal so I avoided the chips, enjoyed the hamburger and called it a day. After all I'm not really a vegan.