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Monday, September 18, 2017

Vegan - It's going mainstream baby!

It seems that many people are at least willing to try a vegetarian or vegan diet, and wow that is a great thing, it is a good and ethical way to live.

I eat, for the most part, a very healthy diet, plenty of vegetables, some fruit, healthy grains and beans, and I feel fabulous. My younger son, Ben, decided to go vegan, he literally went vegan overnight after watching a short video, The Secret Reason We Eat Meat by Dr. Melanie Joy, on YouTube. Ben's reason for going vegan are almost entirely ethical, but he also benefits from eating a very healthy diet. Funnily he was my the pickiest eater of all four of my children, now he is eating oatmeal, brown rice, lots of stir fried vegetables, taking some supplements, running most days, and he is feeling good.

My daughter in law is wandering into vegetarian territory, my older son Matt, her husband, doesn't mind some meat free days through the week, but still likes meat sometimes, but as a family they eat a whole lot less meat then they used to.

My older daughter Amber, and her husband decided to go vegetarian for a month with their five boys, they made it about two weeks, but now have several meat free days each week.

My husband, when Dave was a younger man he was a strictly meat and potatoes guy, it wasn't a meal if there wasn't meat. My husband is going on 60, and we generally think that the older a person gets the more resistant they are to change, I applaud my husband, he still likes his meat and potato type meals, and I still cook them for him, but he has several meat free days each week, and most of those meat free days are vegan. He has tried quinoa, various vegan "meats", enjoying Boca Burgers and Italian Sausage (vegetarian). Vegan veggie pizza, no cheese, and you know what pizza is still very delicious without any cheese. Dave no longer eats processed lunch meats, he takes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on whole grain bread some days, tomato sandwiches, or salad sandwiches on other days, all better options than lunch meat and processed cheese.

People in general are much more receptive to eating less meat, or no meat, and many can see a life as a vegetarian, the main struggle people have with a vegan diet is giving up dairy.  And personally, dairy is probably the biggest culprit causing ill health in most people who consume a lot of it. Dairy aggravates the body, it can trigger rosacea, it is thought to be a trigger for eczema, it causes inflammation in the body, it is full of fat that is not good for you, it causes digestive issues, interferes with gut bacteria, it is best avoided. There are plenty of other ways to get adequate calcium in much healthier ways, eat green leafy vegetables, almonds, citrus, endame, tofu, broccoli, white beans, just to name a few. And in addition to getting your calcium eating these foods, you get excellent fiber, vitamins A and C, and many other nutritious benefits, and none of the negative side effects of dairy.

A whole foods plant based diet, WFPB, is gaining in popularity because it delivers all of the health benefits it promises, and thanks to a number of popular documentaries, vloggers, websites, and articles it is easy to get educated and see the benefits and know that you are doing something that is good for you and good for the earth.  Recommended videos, Forks Over Knives, an excellent documentary available on Netflix, What the Health, another documentary available on Netflix. On YouTube I love to watch the vegan vloggers Happy Healthy Vegans, they are great and have tons and tons of videos. Mic (pronounced Mike) the Vegan has lots of intense fact filled YouTube videos, and So I'm  Dating a Vegan follows a New York couple, he is vegan, and she is well on her way to becoming vegan, and they challenge their friend Theo to a one month vegan challenge.

I challenge you to have a vegan day or two each week, try some almond milk in place of dairy milk if you feel you can't live without milk. Make your meals based around fresh veggies, a little fruit and a base of rice, quinoa, lentils, mixed with some beans. Man, you will get a good boost of fiber, excellent nutrition, and you will feel full and satisfied. Steam your veggies until just soft, snack on raw veggies and fruit, have a few nuts (preferably raw). Avoid adding salt and fat, learn to enjoy the good flavors of the food in it's natural state. Once you stop adding oily dressings to foods, and using oil to cook with, you will lose your taste for oil, in fact you will find after a while that foods cooked with even a little bit of oil just taste overwhelmingly of oil and nothing else.

A thought on oil, we are the only creatures on earth who eat pure oil, no other creature squeezes all of the oil out of a nut, olive, or seed and then just consumes the oil, it is really a very unnatural food, and it is not healthy for you. How many olives would you have to eat to get the equivalent of one tablespoon of oil, around forty small ripe black olives, or twenty medium mission olives. Most people do not eat those quantities of olives at one sitting. Banish oil from you kitchen, your heart will thank you. You can saute veggies in a little bit of vegetable broth, or water, and when you have made your meal you will taste the wonderful range of veggie flavors, instead of oil.

So in closing, take some baby steps towards a healthy diet, you will feel better, find it is easier as meals take about fifteen minutes to prepare and are so enjoyable, and you will feel good!