I remember going camping with my family when I was a little girl and pretending I had a hot dog in my bun, but really it was just the bun. I would pick out the vegetables from my mom’s stew and skip the deer meat. I would take the smallest amount of turkey for thanksgiving dinner-the sides were my favorite. I’ve never really been a huge meat eater, so I am not surprised I am where I am on my food journey. This post isn’t to convince you one way or another on how you should eat—I know people don’t appreciate that. It’s not to argue or to debate. It’s simply to share where I am at, at the moment. Will I be in this same place next month or next year? I honestly don’t know.
Last year I started watching some documentaries about food on Netflix, “What the Health”, “Forks Over Knives”, “In defense of food” to name a few and my whole paradigm for food began shifting. Even before watching these I had went dairy free for almost a year when nursing my daughter and noticed a huge difference in her little body. She no longer arched her back acting so uncomfortable after nursing her. After several trips to the doctors and “allergies” being the culprit, I took my son off dairy and his daily sniffles went away within a couple of weeks. “There must be something to this,” I thought. I was intrigued to say the least.
I have had a background in exercise and fitness but the food thing is fairly new. What we put in our bodies absolutely makes a difference in how we look and feel. I stopped buying meat and started experimenting with plant based recipes. We have always love Thai & Indian foods which are super easy to do without meat and many of them have coconut milk versus dairy. But really you can do Italian, Mexican, and even burgers without meat. I started using almond milk instead of cow’s milk, flax eggs or bananas in baking in place of eggs, and adding avocados to about everything.
This experiment started to become a way of life. At first it was weird to not have chicken be the center of my meals, trust me! For years I used to eat 2 eggs with spinach every single morning. I thought I could never give them up but I started eating homemade granola with fruit, muffins, oatmeal, and lots of smoothies. I went back to eggs to try them and I didn’t like them at all. It was the strangest thing. My taste buds had changed.
I would read articles on veganism and plant based diets, listen to incredible testimonies of people reversing cancer and regaining their life back and felt so inspired. Sure, I believe it’s trending at the moment but I also believe Americans are waking up. Something has to change because obesity, heart disease, and other weight related illnesses are an all time high. We are literally killing ourselves by what we’re putting into our bodies.
I used to think what will I eat—is this even possible? It can seem a bit overwhelming at the start. However pinterest and the internet are wonderful resources. There are hundreds of easy, healthy, and amazing recipes out there.
Here are a few benefits from a plants based diet.
- You feel good! You really do. You have more energy and you know that you’re putting good things in to your body. (I also take a B12 vitamin daily)
- Natural weight loss. It really happens!
- This article has amazing citations to government studies that do a better job than I could do. It talks about the benefits of a vegan diet such as lower cancer rates & heart disease, lower blood sugar, & reduced arthritis pain. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vegan-diet-benefits
I love this video about a now 102 year old man who was a surgeon until he was 95. He shares great benefits about the vegan diet and has been one for over 50 years. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FX58PyQwrcI
I am not 100% vegan by any means and I don’t have everything figured out. I am not even close, but I still wanted to share from “the middle” and where I am at in my health journey. I eat a mostly plants-based diet. I don’t buy meat except the occasional fish or shrimp. I occasionally will buy something with dairy in it, like frozen pizza or Annie’s Mac and Cheese or chocolate. You know, the usual convenience food for the kiddos. I don’t make a huge deal about this in front of others.
If we’re at a friends house and it’s possible, I just skip the meat and eat the sides. If it’s in a chili or stew, I just eat a small amount. I feel empowered and plan to continue my pursuit of learning more and more about plant based eating as a way of life. I am so thankful for the resources that are out there. Maybe you’re intrigued too. I encourage you to become educated and to experiment. Try a new recipe, read a new book, watch a new documentary. Learn how your body reacts with certain foods. Pay attention to how you feel after eating certain foods. See what happens. You may even be surprised!