Updated: Feb 9, 2020
You have probably read over 50 different blogs and posts about the diet veganism and how they all share something important that is worth knowing. However, veganism is not just a diet, it is a lifestyle that changes the course of life as we know it. This one decision you make on the plate in front of you dictates the life of yourself, the world, and the animals. That is right, you can save lives by eating the right foods; a whole foods plant based diet that consists of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, herbs and spices. You have over 20,000 different types of plants to indulge in. How do you do all of this exactly?
Set intentions. Find your why.
The most important thing when making a change as big as your lifestyle is to find your fuel, find your why. Go deeper and understand the reason for your leap to this new level. What will be your constant reminder and reason for taking this leap? What will in times of doubt fire you up and empower you to continue the journey. As for this particular journey there are several reasons of why to emphasize plants and leave diary for calves, meat for animals and eggs for their mothers.
It has been recorded several decades that meat is a type-1 carcinogen. This equates to cigarettes or even hard drugs. Meat could be considered a drug due to the short term and long term damage it has on the body. The saturated fat, hormones, dense tissue and flesh, toxins, antibiotics, and more that your body is not able to handle for health promoting reasons. Any of these at a regular dose and consumption will leave your immune system weak, digestive system clogged, and lifespan lowered. Your body can tolerate about 5-10% of any damaging lifestyle choices such as dairy, egg, and meat consumption. However, if anyone is remotely interested in their health and longevity, the plant based diet is the most effective. Many will say all you eat are carbohydrates as a vegan. Well, you do eat carbohydrates. Only in their purest form. Not the processed carbohydrate foods. Potatoes, beans, pasta, whole grain breads are all extremely healthy for the body to retain as energy as after all carbohydrates is the root of energy and where that can be transformed into blood sugar for our bodies to use on a day to day basis. As plants are amazing and carry multifunctions to each kind of fruit or veg, any plant you eat will have loads of nutrients you are seeking to have. Calcium, magnesium, iron, protein, fats, and fiber etc are all found in plants. There are 20,000 different plants to indulge in and they ALL have these benefits. Eating a plant based diet will melt unhealthy fat off your body, clean out the gut, boost the immune system, decrease disease and cancer risks, increase energy, and promote a longer life.
Aside from the astonishing personal health goals we can achieve from a plant based diet, adopting this lifestyle saves the animals from being genetically modified and mass produced. It is often neglected the fact that we love cats, dogs, fish, rabbits, even snakes and materialize a cows, chickens, or pigs. For decades this tradition of having meat on your plate as being a “full” meal is completely disregarding the lives of other gentle, intelligent, sensitive beings. So many of us were raised on the idea of love farm animals then consume their bodies and milk. We are the only species that consumes another animals milk. Meat is completely unnecessary as our only reason for eating it is protein when the animal is only the middle man. Plants are the only source that converts nitrogen into amino acids to then be consumed as protein. The chain goes, animals eat plants, we eat the animals, then we get the protein. If you want direct forms of protein try kale, beans, grains, potatoes, and lentils. Finding it now in the midst of 2020 a new decade, the lives of another intelligent being is not worth the health risks to yourself or the murder of their bodies.
Over time, the consumption of animals has increased. As there is more of a demand for it, the more companies are supplying it in stores and restaurants. This is how it became so inexpensive when getting a $5 burger and fries versus a $15 salad. Simply because farming items in a burger such as the meat as been over produced and synthesized to our convenience. Only we are now seeing the detrimental effects of factory farming and mass production of meat (including fish), dairy, and eggs. In which all release enormous amounts of methane gasses that destroy the atmosphere and change the climate resulting in the extinction of species in the ocean. Fish are just as bad as land animals as mass fishing companies t bacteria that absorbs the oceans oxygen, killing the life. Eating seafood supports mass fishing which ends up scraping the ocean clean, catching species the fishers were not intending on catching such as dolphins, sharks, fish, crabs, snails and more. Land farming is too detrimental to ignore. It starts with what is on your plate. That is the impact you can make that lasts a lifetime and saves lives AND saves yourself.
Find your favorites recipes.
Plant based does not mean eating dry leaves. You can make any dish vegan. ANY DISH!
Quesadillas? Vegan cheese made from Diaya (cheesy, ooey and gooey)
Calamari? Fried coconut meat with a paired vegan aioli
Paella? Veggie load!
This is your opportunity to taste test and seek new alternatives to the habit or craving your body is used to. You do not have to give up milk in your cereal, simply switch to plant milk. All is readily available. If there are driverless cars, there are meatless meals!
In 2020, there are more alternative milks, cheeses, meats and products to wrap your head around. Luckily we are all exposed to these products just not the awareness of them actually existing.
On the grocery list and alternatives list you will find what you need to ADD in your lifestyle diet rather than strip right away. Overtime, you will naturally align your morals with the products and have one flake off one by one. It seems crazy now but in the long run there will come a time you are completely satisfied with plants and alternative products.
Google is your best friend when finding recipes to follow. Simply type in the recipe you would like to make and in front of the word, type “Vegan”. It is that simple. From there you will eventually find your favorite chefs, blogs, and cookbooks.
This step is highly highly encouraged as that is all the human kind runs off of! Support is everything to us. It is what influences our decisions and keeps us going in the direction we are in.
Finding a friend, family member or even someone new you know is plant based will help you immensely in this journey. We all need someone we can turn to and talk to about things.
Not only having physical support but social media support as well! I encourage lots and lots of support from all angles. Here is a list of people I suggest following if you are on instagram and want daily facts, motivation, and inspiration.
SO many more… These are the accounts I personally use as support in my life that keep me informed and constantly raising my plant based plane up onto the highest level of thriving i can be. These accounts are athletes, activists, doctors, influencers, cooks, and inspirational stories. If no friend or family member wants to contribute to this change with you or does not seem to agree, do not worry. There is an entire world out there standing with you. That world includes other people, animals, ocean life, and the planet. You should be so proud of yourself!
Like stated before, support influences decisions. Some will not be so supportive and instead will question this decision as their own. It is so important to know the facts!
You can easily retain this information by watching documentaries, listening to podcasts, or reading books.
-What the Health
-Farm to Fridge
-Eating Animals, Jonathan Foer
-The China Study, T Colin Campbell
-Foods that Fight Pain
-A Change of Heart
-Plant Proof Podcast
-No Meat Athlete
Alright! You have everything you need to make this change. Put it to life!
Integrate more plants and substitute dairy, meat, and eggs for plant options. Watch your health and body transform. Even your tastebuds will change and become more sensitive as what you are eating is pure forms of plants.
Going out to eat? Consider checking out HappyCow to find 100% vegan or vegan option places. I also suggest calling the restaurant ahead of time to see what is available. (tip! Side menu is the best to order from… practically make your own dish!)
Try new things. Keep it fresh. Don’t stick to one recipe as eventually you will get sick of it. Try raw foods, cooked foods, roasted, sautéed etc. Try a new veggie and fruit every time you grocery shop! Keep your palate rotating.
Incorporate nuts and seeds to dishes like salads, stir fry, or pastas. This helps that extra boost of nutrients and crunch.
Be wary of the alternative meat, dairy, and egg you buy as THAT is what will hike up the grocery bill. Sticking to all or mostly produce, you will automatically have your bags be double the size and the bill the same if not lower!
Organic organic organic! Support those local farms with pure, clean, pesticide-free soil. After all, organic is getting cheaper! All about supply and demand.
Organic is better for your health and the earth. Keep those harmful chemicals out of your body and out of the ground.
Eat the stalks and ends of the produce you normally would throw out. EX: Skins of the potato, stalks of the kale, rind of the orange. There are SO many nutrients in those parts of the plant that gets tossed. If you are making a smoothie or soup, might as well blend that up!
Take it slow, You are human and no one is perfect. Making the effort is what matters.
Rice and Bean bowls are cheap and highly nutritious. Add some avocado, sautéed onions and peppers, cilantro, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, corn, tomato and lemon juice. VOILA! There is the perfect meal. Protein, Iron, Calcium, Fiber, Carbohydrates, Antioxidants, Amino Acids, Omega 3 and more!
Ask for help! The world is here to help you. People are here to help you. I was taught this at a very young age, “you never know the answer until you ask” At the grocery store “hi, where might I find vegan cheese?” At the restaurant “Hi, I am vegan, May you suggest some things off the menu that I can have?” (I always reiterate no egg, dairy, or meat)
At home dinners I suggest making one dish that is easy and yummy that qualifies as a meal if the host is not making anything plant based. I suggest a vegan Chilli !
Do it right. Just because you are vegan does not mean you are the healthiest. There are fortunately and unfortunately vegan versions of all the junk food and indulgent items you can think of. Incorporate plants as much as you can when you think you have to use an item. EX: if you want a cheesy sauce do not use an alternative cheese from the store, Put soaked cashews with onion powder, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, and salt in a blender and make the yummiest cheese sauce ever.