I have been following a plant based diet for over 3 years now and I really enjoy it. I have discovered so many different fruits and vegetables, I tend to eat seasonally and it has really given my eating regime life. There are so many different recipes to try, and a whole host of ingredients. I have a lot of cook books that I refer to often, one of my favourites being Forks Over Knives.
I am always looking for new recipes and ideas also healthier ways of eating, which is how I stumbled across an article which promoted the benefits of eating one meal a day (OMAD diet). Many people have had success with this eating plan and found that it benefits their health and gives them a new-found level of vitality. An example of this is given with a couple who were recently interviewed by The Sun newspaper, please click here to view the article.
This lifestyle change appealed to me because it gives your body and digestive system a break and a chance to conserve energy. The body uses a lot of energy to break food down and put it to different uses, so I thought that by eating once per day this would give my body a chance to have a break. Some other known health benefits are:
- Increased energy
- Increased heart health
- Stabilised blood sugar by decreasing glucose levels.
- Increasing how well insulin works in the body.
- Sharper focus throughout the day
- Losing body fat
- Eating consciously
A lot of the research that I did emphasised the fact that this eating plan causes a lot of weight loss, which is not what I wanted, however I still decided to give it a go. There are some risks that I had to take into account also:
- Extreme feelings of hunger
- Brain fog
- Binge eating
Initially I found the OMAD plan quite simple, I would start the day with warm water and lime, I would then have a green smoothie a couple of hours after. Early afternoon 1-2pm I would have some fruit and then 4-5pm I would have my main meal. However the problem for me started at around 7-8pm when I would feel really peckish and find myself rummaging through the kitchen cupboards. Fruit or vegetables would not be something that I felt like eating at this point so I would often opt for crackers, nuts, dried fruit, spelt bread, nut butters…and the list goes on.
I continued this pattern for a couple of months, I did lose about 8lbs which was quite noticeable on my already slim frame. I also found that I was eating one meal a day but I was now snacking up a storm. I found that I was constantly hungry and I was always snacking. Also the amount that I was eating was not sufficient for my level of activity. I work out 3-4 times per week, strength training and I also do yoga regularly. The OMAD plan really did not support this level of activity. I started noticing differences in my skin, I had breakouts quite frequently and I also noticed some hair loss around my hairline,
Anyone reading this would think well why did you not just change your diet? Because I thought that OMAD was a healthy eating plan I did not initially link the changes that I experienced to the diet. I just thought my body was going through hormonal changes. It was not until I saw a biochemical nutritionist that I realised the problem. I was not getting a sufficient amount of nutrients from the one meal per day or the snacks that I was eating and this was wreaking havoc for me.
Whilst this diet may be good for some and help them with weight loss and raise their levels of concentration, it really did not work for me. The good things that I have taken away from the experience are that:
- I now eat more consciously.
- I do not eat 3 meals per day just because I think that I should, I eat when I am hungry.
- I eat more raw food than I do cooked. Every day I have a large salad with a variety of vegetables, I eat more fruit, and I also have a large salad before or with my dinner.
- I have green smoothies sometimes, but I have to be in the mood, I go through phases of my nutribullet being my best friend and then for a few weeks I just cannot stomach another smoothie.
- I listen to my body rather than following any plan
I am glad that I gave the OMAD diet a try because it has made me much more aware of what works for me. It has also taught me that it is fine to try different things but the most important thing is to have a solid foundation of what works for you, you can then build upon that.