It's a little frightening to consider, but the U.S. Agriculture Department estimates that the average American consumes 76.7 pounds of sugar each year, while some health experts suggest that the statistic is closer to 100 pounds. And that’s not including the estimated 40 pounds of high fructose syrup that the average American eats annually. Plus, according to NPR and Newsweek, the typical American eats 270.7 pounds of meat annually. But imagine what might happen to your body if you ate, say, 200 pounds of fruit or vegetables each year instead. What would our bodies do? How would they react if we reversed all of these statistics? What would our health costs be in America?
One way to reverse the statistics is to reverse our diets. What if we ate meat and sugar related products as sparingly as we currently eat veggies and fruit? I had these thoughts a while ago when I started to desire a healthier diet. I did some research and found a lifestyle that reverses the numbers. It’s called the Vegan Before 6 lifestyle. I prefer to keep it raw; others might prefer to cook veggies. If your whole focus is on veggies and fruits until 6 p.m., you’ll have well over 200 pounds of veggies and less than 50 pounds of meat a year.
Here’s the breakdown of my lifestyle/diet:
- Monday–Friday I eat only veggies and fruits until 6 p.m. (depending on travel)
- After 6 p.m. I allow myself to eat (in moderation) anything low in refined sugar
- I don’t have any sweets or sugary products at all until Sunday night
- Saturdays are lean Saturdays: I allow myself eggs or foods high in protein along with the veggies all day (I lift lots of weights, so I needed more protein)
- Sundays I declare a half day, I have veggies and fruits until 2pm
- After 2 p.m. on Sundays, I could have anything, sugar, candy, sweets, as long as it was in moderation
After a month of doing this, I noticed some amazing things happen to my body. Here’s a breakdown of what I experienced:
- My asthma just went away. I believe this is because the inflammation in my body left.
- My energy became consistent and strong the whole day, no desire for naps.
- I did lose 5 pounds, but weight wasn’t my issue; I’ve always been in good shape.
- I started sleeping better, longer and deeper. I believe my body became naturally more hydrated, and this is one of the benefits.
- My antioxidant levels jumped up like crazy I measure with my Nu Skin scanner)
*I’m not claiming that the diet heals any diseases; I’m just voicing my opinion on what I noticed.
Pretty awesome, right? I believe we need to reverse the statistics, and this is the best way to do it.
More about the Diet
In May 2014, food columnist Mark Bittman released a book that describes this plan. He devised it in 2008 after a doctor told him that he needed to become a vegan or start taking medication, or he was surely going to become diabetic. At that point, he was 57, and he exceeded his ideal weight by approximately 40 pounds.
Vegans refuse to eat anything that comes from animals. Thus, they avoid dairy products and eggs as well as meat. Bittman, however, adores all kinds of food, and he feared that veganism would interfere with his culinary writing. At the same time, he dreaded the thought of taking pills. Facing this dilemma, Bittman conceived a compromise. He decided to become a vegan, but only during the daytime. At night, he'd eat just about whatever he wanted.
Since the launch of Bittman's book, many people have followed suit. During the day, they favor fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains, and they stay away from processed foods and animal products. After 6 p.m., they eat as they choose. However, for this diet to be healthy, you can't gorge, and you can't consume too many sugary or fatty foods at night.
When you're on the VB6 plan, you needn't weigh yourself, count points, or calculate calorie intakes. Moreover, you don't have to worry that it will be difficult to find foods that fit your vegan lifestyle. Bittman's book provides recipes, cooking tips, ingredient lists, ideas for eating out, and even a four-week meal chart. In addition, you won't have to spend any more money on your groceries when you follow this diet. Equally enticing, the book's recipes are easy to follow and require almost no cooking experience.
You might be wondering now, what kinds of results did Bittman experience? He says he lost 35 pounds relatively quickly (within a few months) and that he kept them off. His blood pressure went down, and his blood sugar readings retreated to healthy levels.
Further, be aware that despite the name of the diet, you choose the time of day you break your vegan habits. That is, you might decide to be a non-vegan at breakfast so that you can have eggs and bacon. If you eat animal products in the morning, you can then be a vegan for the rest of the day and night.
Several months ago, having read about the VB6 diet, I chose to give it a try (as I mentioned). Of course, I had my doubts before I started. For one thing, I'd certainly never eaten so many fruits and vegetables before. Would I get sick of them? Also, I worried that I'd miss white toast in the morning and pasta at lunchtime.
Setting those concerns aside, I decided to be brave and put all of my efforts into my VB6 quest. After the first week, I was proud of myself for following through and for not cheating. What's more, I was pleasantly surprised by how it went. For one thing, I didn't feel hungry at all during the day; I'd feared that my stomach would constantly be growling at work. Because Bittman's plan allows you to snack whenever you need to, I was able to satisfy the cravings I had with apple slices, celery stalks, and the like.
Then, after several weeks or so, I really started to notice impressive results from my veganism. I found that I never felt hungry between meals and snacks. Also, I never even thought about animal products or processed foods during the day. As a bonus, I saved time because most of my meals were faster to prepare.
Nowadays, I sleep better. My asthma doesn’t exist. While it might sound strange, I've also been feeling more spiritual and more connected to nature since I started this diet. Best of all, I feel healthier and more energetic overall, which might be a result of the antioxidants in my fruits and vegetables strengthening my immune system. In short, I heartily recommend the Vegan Before 6 plan to everyone I know and to you as well.