Last month I did 30 days of eating vegan. This post is not at all to preach a vegan diet, I am just simply sharing a few thoughts out of this little brain of mine. If I can inspire a few people, then awesome.
At the same time of trying out veganism, I was participating in a 30 day cleanse with supplements and essential oils from DoTERRA and had zero alcohol for 30 days.
At first, I thought it would be difficult, but then I thought about it and the only animal products I ate on occasion were eggs and cheese. No milk, no yoghurt, no ice cream, and no butter. So really, it wasn’t a huge change.
But I wanted to write to whoever is interested in just eating more plant based.
-my hair grew like crazy (but I think that’s partly because of the supplements I was on)
-I felt lighter and healthier
-lost a bit of weight
-hungry more often
-I missed eggs and the nutrients they provide
-have to remember to take more supplements (B12 & B complex)
So what did I eat? I made various salads, quinoa and chickpeas, veggie coconut stirfrys, yummy wraps, and avocado on toast (my fave). Beans and nuts were also a staple. I love making homemade soups for meal prepping, which are always vegan so I learned a few new recipes too!
Here’s a list of some things that I had that weren’t vegan:
-omega 3s (supplement for the cleanse)
-clamato juice (virgin caesars, my guilty pleasure)
-tad of cheese (when I went out for dinner)
I didn’t at all feel like I failed myself. If there’s one thing I hate it’s the word ‘cheat’. Using the word cheat is labeling a food as ‘bad’. You are then creating a negative connotation towards certain foods and developing an unhealthy relationship with food. I explained this to my last client Benjamin and he replied with,
“so… say treat, not cheat.”
I loved that.
Will I continue to eat a vegan diet? I don’t think so.
I don’t feel like I have to put a label on the way that I eat.
Everyone is biochemically unique. One person's diet can change throughout their life depending on numerous factors such as: the location they live or are from, their specific health concerns and goals, and especially because of the nutrients that their body needs at certain times (eg. growth spurts, pregnancy)
As a nutritionist, I don’t believe that there is one diet that is suitable for everyone.
If I did believe that, I would not be able to help as many people as I do. I do believe in not supporting factory farming. It’s a terrible industry. It’s gross and it’s sad.
Animal agriculture also plays a huge role in harming the environment. The fishing industry isn’t any better either. Animal agriculture contributes to over half of greenhouse gas emissions and the fishing industry isn't doing much better. 75% of the world’s fish have been wiped out by mankind. The nets they use to catch fish also pick up bycatch such as seaturtles, dolphins, whales, birds, coral and many other innocent sea creatures that are then left to die.
In doing my research, I’ve decided to limit eating wild fish to once or twice a month; if I feel my body needs it, or if I catch it myself, from a lake. I usually buy a vegan omega supplement but I still recommend fish oil to some clients depending on their health needs.
Sometimes, I worry about the future of the world. That I can't be perfect. That I can’t always buy ethically sourced and sustainable food. I try to figure out what the best way to spend money is. How is it confusing? This example may paint a better picture;
Even though avocados and quinoa are healthy for you, it can be affecting someone else in another part of the world influencing them to be less healthy. In Peru and Bolivia, quinoa was a staple in the local’s diets. Since western demand went up driven by hipster trends, the prices raised for quinoa by four times the amount, causing the locals to resort to our shitty, western, processed food.
There are also people that will argue that the production of certain vegetables also produces a lot of emissions. It’s not a "one way is the right way", type of argument. It is not a simple problem. With populations rising, and all of the competition increasing for limited resources,
Sometimes health benefits and environmental benefits butt heads.
With advanced technology in today’s society, all we can do is hope and think positively towards there being a shift in change on how we can provide healthy, sustainable food for everyone.
If you can relate and are stuck somewhere where you don’t know where you stand; that maybe your values and beliefs aren’t justified with your actions, you are not alone. Try to work through it. Do your research, support companies that not only want to sell their product to you, but also genuinely care about the earth. Maybe they plant trees, or provide schooling to children in third world countries, maybe they use recycled material in their products.
I do ask, that you try not make the same mistake that I did. I once watched a shitload of videos on veganism, including heaps of Gary Yourofsky, and all of the documentaries on Netflix. At first, you are angry. You’re upset that we have been living in this messy world that brainwashes people into thinking cows are roaming free, happy and eating grass. That milk is a necessity to drink so you have strong bones.
The second stage is where your passion comes out. Combined with the first stage. It’s angry posts that put down others. It causes arguments and drama. You may even lose some friends over it.
I am thankful that I didn’t let it engulf me, causing it to affect my friendships I value dearly. And I owe that to my instructor in school who told her story and how it really messed with her. She said that we would learn some things in the program that would change the way we see the world, but you have to remember that you need to see all perspectives, especially as a nutritionist.
And I am forever grateful for that.
There ARE farms with happy cows, there just isn’t AS MANY of them. The irony is that many non-dairy farmers that try to explain that all dairy farms are not like the big corporate ones, are the ones drinking the Dairyland milk because they may be from smaller towns and choices are limited. Do you see where I am going with this?
If you believe in something, double check that this is a belief that you have looked into all perspectives on. Look up how the animals are being treated and raised. If all the people in the town decided they want to support only local farmers, then maybe that grocery store would work with them because they need their business. Putting your money where your mouth is, isn’t as easy as it seems sometimes, but you can certainly try.
Find a balance and try not to stress yourself out about being ‘the perfect harmless human’.
I think that if I am eating mostly plants, buying my eggs from my little-old-English neighbor with his chickens, buying cheese from local farmers, and eating a bit of moose or elk a few times a year that my brothers have hunted; I am doing a pretty good job. I know that being vegan or a ‘hegan’ (healthy vegan) for 30 days was good for my mind, body and spirit. I would love to be able to do this again a few times a year.
FUN FACT: Cultures with the most centenarians (meaning they have lived to 100 years or older) eat a mostly vegetarian diet. There rates of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other diseases such as cancer are very low or non-existent.
In Michael Pollan’s words,
My goal is to help people reach their health goals and one of the ways I do this is by adding in more vegetable protein into one’s diet. Plain and simple.
For all of you who may be interested in eating more vegetarian or vegan recipes, or just simply would like to incorporate more nutrient dense recipes into your lifestyle. I want to help you. I am here to support you if veganism is your choice; I am also here to help you if you just want to eat less meat or learn more plant-based recipes.
I know it can be hard justifying your hard-earned money on meal plans, which is why I created an affordable plan with quick and easy recipes that are healthy and delicious. Also included is a shopping list to help make things easier in your home. This will be available for 2 weeks only. You can click here to invest in one or even both of these.
Thank you for reading!