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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Diet Really Does Matter

Last summer I decided to get my eating habits back in check, I had lost a lot of weight, but slowly bad habits      crept back and one day I realized that I was a long way off from my goal of life long healthy eating.  In August I decided to go back to being vegetarian, throughout my adulthood I have been an on again off again vegetarian, so it wasn't anything completely new to me.
I watched several documentaries on NetFlix, one that particularly struck a chord with me was Forks Over Knives, it provides so much information and such a profound argument for going vegan that I felt overwhelmingly encouraged to give it try. By October I was completely vegan.
The health benefits of a vegan diet are amazing, most people experience some weight loss and this is a good health benefit to start with. The effects of a healthy vegan diet are so beneficial in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, reversing the effects of type 2 diabetes and reducing cancer risk.
Have I missed milk, milk products and eggs? I can quite honestly say no I have not.  Have I missed meat? Not at all.
Keep in mind you can be vegan and be very unhealthy, if you ate oreo cookies all day and sucked down bottles of soda you would be vegan, but you would also be destroying your body. Incorporate many fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts and grains into your daily diet. Avoid processed foods, eat what you can raw, try to have a salad with lunch and dinner. Baked potatoes are fabulous plain, not quite sure who decided they needed butter to taste good.  Hummus is a great substitute for cheese, and if you make your own you can control the amount of oil in it by eliminating or drastically reducing the tahini. A little bit of preparation makes meal time easy. I make a couple of soups on the weekend, they will last for several days and on Wednesday I generally make a couple more soups to last me until the weekend.  Vegan soups don't take long to make because there is no meat, simply cook for about 30 minutes so that the veggies are tender, most soups will include several bean types. Wasa crackers are lovely to have around, two of them with a bit of hummus spread on top and some sliced cucumber make the most wonderful snack. Fresh fruit is great to snack on.  Eat leafy greens, kale and spinach are both great in soups.  Lentils are good, and I recently discovered red lentils and they are very enjoyable. Quinoa, the Incan power grain, what a great thing to have around, it provides a complete protein, cooks quickly and is good with a variety of foods, I use it in place of rice. For quicker cooking keep canned beans available, rinse them well before using. Eat oatmeal, whole oats or steel cut. Almond milk is  good to have around, I like a splash on my oatmeal. Drink plenty of water, avoid fruit juices, and begin to enjoy the large bounty of the many green teas available to us, I particularly enjoy Jasmine tea and Ooolong tea.
My sister was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, she and her husband have done a ton of research on diet and the treatment of breast cancer, and guess what?  A vegan diet for the rest of life is strongly recommended for women who have breast cancer.  Women who have had breast cancer and follow a vegan diet have a much lower chance of recurrence of the disease.
Now onto dairy, where to begin? There is now so much research showing that dairy is NOT good for us, NOT good for us at all.  Milk is a fine and wonderful food if you are a baby calf. Human beings are the only mammal species who drink milk beyond infancy, and we are the only mammal who drink the milk of another species. The fats in milk are not healthy for us. Oh, what about osteoporosis you ask? Interestingly enough, osteoporosis is rampant in the western world, the portion of the worlds population who consume mass quantities of dairy.  Another worrying problem with dairy is that the casein proteins in milk have been shown to promote tumor growth.

Recommended viewing:
Forks Over Knives DVD - this is available for streaming on NetFlix

Recommended Reading:
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell Esselstyn, MD
Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease by Dr. Dean Ornish

A report on the effects of diet and cancer by the National Institute of Health

A report on the bad effects of dairy

Dr. Esselstyns website - there are some very good recipes available here as well:

There are many, many, many, more resources available, so much information it is simply mind blowing, but do your research, reach your own conclusions, and if you end up vegan, I say GOOD FOR YOU, and your body will thank you :)


Rebecca said...

I'm not a huge fan of milk (do like cheese, though) and COULD get along without meat. Why I don't take the intentional & complete plunge, I'm not sure.... Anyway, it sounds like you are comfortably reestablished in vegan-cy(?) and feeling the better for it. Congratulations.

Praying for your sisters.... (And thought of you last week - wondering if you got in on any of the funeral/mass, etc. for the Bishop.)

Bean said...

Hi Rebecca,

Thank you for your prayers. No we did not get to any of the funeral/mass events for Bishop Darcy. He was a good man, and confirmed our older two children. I had the honor of hearing him talk at a women's retreat, he really was a fun, faithful, all around good man, always a twinkle in his eye. He will surely be missed.

I think even incorporating some meat free, or meat/dairy/egg free days into your routine will give a sample of daily eating as a vegan and it is fun to learn new things to cook etc. And, it certainly isn't going to cause harm to your health :)

Blessing to you,


Anonymous said...

I feel the same as Rebecca. I can take or leave meat, but I suppose I eat it because I'm lazy and it's easy to make a meal using meat. The same goes for dairy. However, you have got me thinking afresh about vegetarianism and I'll be looking into your blog regularly for inspiration.
Kay in UK