Sunday, November 6, 2011

Vegan Lifestyle

Well, this post should have been put up about 8 months ago: on March 28th we both decided to go vegan! I guess you could say that it was just the right time in our lives to make that change. Neither one of us have been huge meat eaters, but we were definitely eating a lot of chicken, ground turkey, fish, eggs and cheese in order to make sure we were getting enough protein in our diets. Not only are we animal lovers and interested in the well being of our planet, but we had been having many conversations wondering why soooo many people get cancer. Cancer seems to have no rhyme or reason, with many seemingly healthy people being attacked by the disease. At about this time a few great books coincidentally entered our lives:

   In The Kind Diet, actress, activist, and committed conservationist Alicia Silverstone shares the insights that encouraged her to swear off meat and dairy forever, and outlines the spectacular benefits of adopting a plant-based diet, from effortless weight loss to clear skin, off-the-chart energy, and smooth digestion. She explains how meat, fish, milk, and cheese—the very foods we’ve been taught to regard as the cornerstone of good nutrition—are actually the culprits behind escalating rates of disease and the cause of dire, potentially permanent damage to our ecology.
   Yet going meat- and dairy-free doesn’t mean suffering deprivation; to the contrary, The Kind Diet introduces irresistibly delicious food that satisfies on every level—it even includes amazing desserts to keep the most stubborn sweet tooth happy. Alicia also addresses the nutritional concerns faced by many who are new to a plant-based diet, and shows how to cover every nutritional base, from protein to calcium and beyond. Alicia knows that changing life-long dietary habits is a process, and that each person progresses at a different pace. For that reason, The Kind Diet encompasses 3 separate levels, from Flirting to Superhero. Flirts learn to dip a toe into the vegan pool, reducing their meat-eating and swapping out a few key foods for plant-based substitutes to see quickly how even small changes can reap big results. Vegans get to experience the life-altering effects of forgoing animal-products entirely, while still enjoying many convenience foods and meat substitutes in addition to the wonderful grains, vegetables and fruits that form the core of that diet. True enlightenment comes with the Superhero program, based on the principles of macrobiotics and built on a foundation of whole grains, vegetables, and other yummy foods that Alicia describes in detail.

 In The China Study, T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., details the
connection between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes,
and cancer. The report also examines the source of
nutritional confusion produced by powerful lobbies,
government entities, and opportunistic scientists. The New
York Times has recognized the study (China-Oxford-Cornell
Diet and Health Project) as the “Grand Prix of
epidemiology” and the “most comprehensive large study
ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the
risk of developing disease.”

“After a long career in research and policy-making, I have decided to step ‘out of the system.’ I
have decided to disclose why Americans are so confused,” said Dr. Campbell. “As a taxpayer who foots the bill for research and health policy in America, you deserve to know that many of
the common notions you have been told about food, health and disease are wrong.”
“I propose to do nothing less than redefine what we think of as good nutrition. You need to
know the truth about food, and why eating the right way can save your life.”

   What's better than eating? (If you say "sex," you're either a liar or a pervert.) The answer is: Nothing! There's nothing better than eating! We're total pigs and eating is, without a doubt, our favorite thing to do. We love eating so much, it makes us mad. We have, like, a violent passion for food. When we go out to eat, if something we order is really good, we talk about killing the chef. Or our pets. Or ourselves. Good food makes us want to die.. .you know, like that expression, ".. .to die for." But ironically, we also care about our health.
  It was these two things—our obsessive passion for food and our concern for health—that led us to write Skinny Bitch. If you haven't read Skinny Bitch yet, get your head out of your ass and go buy a copy. It will change your life. Seriously. Don't be fooled by the title; it's not some dumb, fluffy, weight-loss book. It's a comprehensive guide on how to eat well and enjoy food. But it's also a well-researched exposé documenting the shady business surrounding what we eat.
   Much of what we learned while researching Skinny Bitch blew our minds. So we've made it our personal mission to share this information.

The wellness expert and best-selling author—her new book, Veganist, is out now—shares the secrets to compassionate, mindful eating.

1. To make a change, you have to lean into it. When I decided to become a vegan, I did it gradually: one thing at a time over the course of a few years. If I had pushed myself to stop eating all animal products at once, I might have given up.

2. There's fun in the hunt. Veganism is like a sport for me. I roam supermarket aisles searching for new foods—recently, I found a coconut-based ice cream that's unbelievable. And I love the challenge of "veganizing" recipes: mashed potatoes with soy milk, or pizza topped with tapioca-based cheese and veggie sausage.

3. Compassion is a muscle that gets stronger with use. Eating consciously is an exercise in kindness, and the more I work at it, the more empowered I feel. When I eat food that's grown in the ground or in trees, my mind is clear, my body thrives, and I'm more deeply connected with the world.

4. Seitan is a vegan's secret weapon. At a dinner party a few years ago, I served "veal piccata"—but with seitan, a meat substitute made from wheat gluten. One of my guests, a Midwestern guy who loves his meat, said to me, "That's the best veal I've ever tasted." I felt so proud for pulling off the switch.

5. I'll be forever grateful that alcohol is vegan. An occasional martini is good for the soul.

Read more:

  We feel like a whole new world of food has opened up to us. So many great new recipes, new vegetables and new ideas. We really haven't missed animal products AT ALL! Even sushi, which we love so much has still been very satisfying when you order delicious veggie rolls. The key is having one of these good books because they really teach you which products are good, how to use them and where to find them. Once you learn the basics it is pretty easy. Believe it or not, our husbands quickly got on board, then the kids and then our parents. We are not extremely strict with them. The kids eat this way at home, but when they are out they still eat what is available to them. The boys will eat the occasional hamburger and they all still enjoy cheese pizza. We believe that they are learning to make healthier choices in their lives and that by making the change at home, a huge percentage of their diet has changed for the better. Most visitors and guests to our home are served a vegan meal and they always LOVE it!!(Usually they don't even know.)
  No more counting calories or carbs. We are enjoying whole foods and any extra weight is slowly falling away. We will give you an update at our one year mark - that will be our check point to see if our bodies have sort of found their natural state of healthy well being.