Sunday, January 4, 2009

Why Vegan?

So this whole vegan thing. I'm trying to wrap my mind around it. Why do I want to go vegan? I have yet to read the China Study, but reading about it is interesting. It talks about how animal protein leads to disease. I've also read about the benefits of eating plant life. So here is a list of reasons why I am going vegan (slowly, I'm not just jumping into this):

1. Genetics are not on my side (family history of heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol)

2. My immune system used to SUCK. I got sick a lot, got sinus infections.

3. My digestion was awful(i.e. chronic constipation) when I consumed dairy. TMI warning: I was having bleeding and mucus in my stool. It was bad. (This also impacts immune system since much of it works in the digestive tract.) (This also goes into family history of colon polyps.)

4. I was feeling very lethargic last school year through early summer. I had mild hypothyroidism which can cause constipation and lethargy and sensitivity to the cold. Apparently diet can help mild hypothyroidism (and most conditions/diseases).

5. My youngest is allergic to dairy and egg. While she tests negative and can consume it rarely without too much trouble, if she has too much of it in a food item (like egg and milk in pancake) then she gets very upset digestion. So, we avoid it completely for her.

6. My oldest also gets constipation from dairy. The change has been difficult for her, though.

7. I believe that eating vegan gives the most health benefits and makes me feel more energetic, happy, and good about my body as well.

Where am I really? I still eat poultry and fish. I don't see myself giving up fish. It may happen in the future, but I can't see that happening. I still consume dairy in small amounts, such as in ghirardelli chocolate and other chocolate candies. What do I usually eat in a day? English muffins/bagel, salad, fruit, veggie burritos, veggie wraps, green juice, fruit and green smoothies, rice milk or hemp seed milk, nut butters, cereal, granola, raw nuts, Larabars, goat cheese pizza, tuna over spinach. Some days I eat completely veg. Today I had a couple bites of G's leftover chicken nugget, but that was the only meat. I still use mayo or ranch sometimes.

What am I doing for my kids? I give them Tyson chicken nuggets and other chicken I cook. They also get tuna sometimes. I allow my oldest to have organic ranch because she loves it on salad. She can also have eggs. On days where they don't get meat, they get beans at dinner. They also eat Sunflower seed butter or other nut butter. I bake breads and muffins for them with whole wheat or spelt flour and lots of ground flax seed. I pretty much offer them fruit when they're hungry between meals and a veggie at every meal. They both eat salad readily and other veggies cut up with hummus. They are very healthy eaters.

The best advice I've read on feeding kids is from Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalia Rose. She said let the kids participate in food fun, or they'll feel too restricted. At parties, let them have a slice of regular birthday cake or even a hot dog. It's not something they get at home, and they understand it's just for the party. And chances are, if they are used to eating natural, whole foods, junk food will just make them feel too full and bloated. They won't want it anytime soon. So, that was the attitude I had over Christmas break staying with family. They had sausage and eggs at breakfast and we all indulged in my mom's delicious stuffed shells. Mmmmm. Not to mention the cookies! My mom made vegan cookies for my youngest, which was so nice. I brought banana oatmeal cookies and they just got thrown away because no one wanted them with all the other sweets.

I was on a raw kick for a while and I still think about food combinations as per Natalia Rose, but I'm not focusing on raw right now. I eat raw most lunches, but dinner I like to cook for my family and eat warm meals in the winter. In the summer, I'm more likely to eat raw.

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