I used to eat one meal a day, because I was convinced that I gained weight by eating too much. I'd starve myself for weeks to lose weight and it worked. I was able to lose a couple of kilos each week. But every time I restricted my calories like this, I'd eventually give in to my cravings and binge on chocolate cake or peanut butter on toast. After a binge I'd curse myself and my lack of willpower and resolve to be even more disciplined in my restriction. All of my teenage years were spent like this, obsessing over a number on a scale, repeating the same binge eating cycle. It wasn't until the cigarettes I was chain- smoking to curb my appetite started to make me feel physically ill that I decided something had to be done.
I knew that there had to be a more sustainable way to look the way I wanted. There were healthy people in the world who didn't rely on caffeinated energy drinks to keep them awake or calorie restriction to keep them lean. I decided I was going to become one of them. I threw away my cigarettes and started binge reading articles on clean eating.
I started eating "clean," or what most people think of as clean. I included more fruits and vegetables in my diet, but I was still consuming the wrong kinds of foods. And, I was still stuck in my calorie restriction mindset. So, it was during this "clean eating" phase that I restricted my calories most.
At some point during this phase I decided to become vegetarian. I wanted to be vegetarian for health reasons. Meat was high in saturated fat and eating foods high in fat was making me fat. But, my cravings for calorie dense foods like meat, brought on by my chronic calorie restriction, meant that my vegetarian phase would not last long.
One day I came across a video on YouTube called "The Greatest Speech You Will Ever Here." In the video, Gary Yourofsky (an animal liberation activist) explained in detail why animal exploitation was immoral on every level. I was convinced. Well, actually I had to re- watch the part explaining why honey was immoral, but after that, I became vegan on the spot.
It was a lot take in at once. Everything I had been told was a lie. Consuming animal products was wrong, that was clear, but I was worried about my bingeing. Animal products made up the bulk of my diet before going vegan, and my calorie restriction had led me to fall off the vegetarian wagon.
Luckily I came across another video by a YouTuber called Freelee The Banana Girl. Freelee used to be caught in the same binge eating cycle as me, but she, and her then partner and coach durianrider, had found a solution in the high carb low fat vegan diet. Freelee and durianrider urged vegans to "carb the fuck up." It was a lack of carbohydrates, they explained, that most people felt so lethargic, or "under-carbed," as they put it. Calories were also deemed important. They told their subscribers to eat abundantly, as much as they wanted. Restriction did more harm than good. Through their videos I learnt that my calorie restriction was holding back my weight loss. I'd been teaching my body to store fat by depriving it of food. I and many others like me will be forever indebted to them both for spreading carbohydrate awareness, and the vegan message, to so many people. I don't like to imagine what would have happened to my principles had I not found them.
So, it is to them both that I dedicate my comprehensive guide to HCLF vegan food. In it, I explain what constitutes HCLF vegan foods and how to prepare them in delcious ways. The guide is divided into three sections: The Staples, The Condiments, and The Recipes.
I hope you will enjoy reading this guide as much as I enjoyed writing it.
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