Vegan - It's what's for Dinner

I am not an advocate of any one particular diet. The reason for this is that every person is an individual. What works for me, may not work for you. What works for your mom or dad in turn won’t for you or one of your siblings, etc. I’ve been thinking about being vegan but I’ve never been able to pull the trigger. While I believe that everyone in this country eats WAY too much protein (which is one of the factors that have been found to be directly correlated to the chronic diseases we see today) and that as a society it is absolutely imperative for us to create a sustainable & humane food system, I also think that most people need some sort of animal protein, if not at all times during their lifetime, then at critical points in their body’s development.

I have, however, taken steps to educate and encourage myself, family, friends and my clients to do the following:

            1. Get to know their bodies & what their intuition tells them their body needs as nourishment

            2. Be knowledgeable about the current state of our food supply & opt to go organic & humanely raised whenever it is possible

What is vegan?

Vegan – a person who does not eat any foods that come from animals and who often also does not use animal products (such as leather).

That is the definition of ‘vegan’ according to Merriam-Webster. People have come to this lifestyle either for health reasons or due to the inhumane treatments of the animals that are raised in factory farms. While I completely sympathize with the sentiments of the hard-core vegans, I can also see the issues with their lifestyle. Specifically, the health issues that come up due to deficiencies in the vegan diet.

It is a common fact that vegan diets are deficient in certain vitamins & minerals, the most important being B-12. B-12 deficiency can prompt mood changes, mental fogginess, memory troubles, muscle weakness, and fatigue. It is commonly known as the ‘energy vitamin’; and your body requires for a number of vital functions. While B-12 is found in sea vegetables, fermented foods like tempeh and algae like spirulina, the B-12 in these plant sources are not as readily available for use by your body as the B-12 in animal products. This is something to consider when deciding whether going vegan is right for you.

So you still want to be vegan?         

Ease your way into this new lifestyle!! Your body is a sensitive instrument. Especially to drastic changes! If you’ve been eating animal products for the past 20+ years your body will feel the change. So, go in phases.

  • Start by limiting red meat. Notice what you’re eating and when. From there cut your red meat by ¼, then by ½, then by ¾ until you’re no longer eating red meat. My suggestion is to take 3 weeks to 1 month for each reduction. Then you can move on to eliminating pork, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy, one by one.
  • Pay attention to how your body feels during this process. Learn how to use your intuition.
  • Your body will be detoxing as you remove these foods. Support the process by eating plenty of dark leafy green vegetables and a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seeds and nuts.
  • Be aware!! Just because a food is labeled ‘vegan’ doesn’t make it healthy. Know what ingredients are in your food! Is it highly processed or refined? Does it contain fillers? Artificial flavors? Hydrogenated fats? Preservatives? If it does, chances are it is not good for you body.  

Word of Caution

This is particularly important for women! A vegan diet is not the best diet or lifestyle during infancy, a child’s formative years, pre-pubescence, adolescence, child-bearing years, pre-menopause & during menopause. As you can tell, for women that is practically your entire life. This is why it is important for us all to understand what we are eating and why we choose certain foods.

Our bodies instinctually know what they need! It is up to us to educate ourselves. Demystifying how our bodies function is of the utmost importance if we are to lead the happy, healthy & vibrant lives we were meant to live.   


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