If you've been reading AMM for any length of time, you know we eat primarily Paleo around here. We were 100% Paleo, but when my Ulcerative Colitis went into remission, I decided to reintroduce some of my favorite foods. Like, for example, cheese and bread. Well, long story short, I haven't been feeling so hot lately. Not only is my body trying to tell me things aren't right, but my mental health hasn't been in tip-top shape either. Whole foods for a whole body, folks. My body chemistry is so out of whack it's affecting my mind. It is apparent I need to return to eliminating dairy and wheat from my diet, but what about meat?
During my preparation for Nutritional Therapy coursework, I have been reading quite a bit. I re-familiarized myself with The China Study by Thomas Campbell, M.D., and rewatched some of my favorite food documentaries (Forks Over Knives, Food Matters, and Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead). New material includes Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, and I've just begun reading Clean by Alejandro Junger, M.D. If reading isn't your thing (or you don't have time, or you want the quick-and-easy version of The China Study), definitely watch Forks Over Knives. It's on Netflix, and it's a must-see!
While the meat we do eat is lean, and we don't consume a lot of red meat, it seems that doesn't much matter when it comes to how meat affects the body and our general health. Add in factory farming, and just how qualitative is the meat we're eating in the first place? If you are really interested in questioning the condition of the meat from your local supermarket, watch Cowspiracy and Vegucated (also on Netflix). There are tons of other documentaries available that further delve into factory farming, and some of them I can't even finish (it's too sad), but those two are a great start to expanding your knowledge of your food sources.
Please, don't get me wrong, I don't hate meat. I love bacon, and seafood, and all that jazz. What I hate is the rampant cancer diagnoses that American's face on a daily basis, and my family's history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, and more. I don't want that for myself, and I sure as hell don't want that for my kids. "Be the change you wish to see in the world" — Gandhi. It has to start somewhere, right?
Also, I never judge. If you eat meat, that's fine. If you want to eat McDonald's for lunch, or order pizza from Papa John's, or drink that refreshing Coca-Cola on a hot day, go for it! These are my choices, and my choices alone. If you feel the same, hey, let's do this together! If you don't, I respect that, and I respect you. I just wanted to throw that out there in case anyone is feeling insulted. Food is a very personal thing, and people often find themselves feeling threatened or scrutinized when someone comes around and has a different view. We're all friends here!
But, I digress.
Once I started seriously considering veganism for my family, I thought to myself, "What in the world would I cook?" All I knew about vegans was they not only don't consume meat and dairy, but they don't consume anything that comes from an animal. So, no eggs, no honey, etc. What?! No eggs? Also, vegans have no issue with grains, which my body (apparently) does. So, what's a girl to do?
Plant-Powered Families: Over 100 Kid-Tested, Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes. Not only is it bursting with breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and dessert recipes, but she also offers substitutions for those with certain allergies (peanut, soy, gluten, etc.). Gluten-free? That might be for me!
With recipes like Ta-Quinos (chili and quinoa tacos), Ultimate Teriyaki Stir Fry, Cream of Cauliflower Soup, Crazy Brownies, and Pumpkin Pie Smoothies, it's quite apparent that I'm going to need to purchase this cookbook and give veganism an honest try! (Although, I might keep things like responsibly farmed tilapia and shrimp on the menu, because I just don't think I can give those up...)
Dreena also includes tips for packing vegan school lunches, dealing with picky eaters, and FAQ's with nutrient charts for your nutrition-specific questions and concerns. This cookbook has really given me the push I needed to sample veganism and see if it's for us. I'm thinking a week to start, and if my family doesn't completely hate me by then, maybe we'll try a 30-day run.
Are you vegan? What's one recipe you'd recommend a considering-vegan try?
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